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AT&T, CenturyLink service restored

Phone service has been restored to AT&T and CenturyLink customers in Belfield and Dickinson after a contractor digging in the area Thursday severed one of CenturyLink's underground fiber cables.

Carrie Amann, CenturyLink communications spokesperson, said phone service went down around 8 p.m. Thursday and was restored around 2 a.m. Friday.

CenturyLink is still investigating the incident, but Amann said it appears a contractor did not locate the underground utility line before they started to dig and accidently severed a fiber line.

She was not sure exactly how many customers were impacted.

The Dickinson Police Department had requested that any AT&T or CenturyLink customers requiring 911 assistance during the six-hour outage call from a Verizon cellphone or a non-CenturyLink landline telephone.

There is no way for the police department to determine how many emergency calls may have been missed because service was interrupted.

Alex Carey, AT&T corporate communications spokesman for Minnesota and the Northern Plains states, could not say how many AT&T customers were impacted by the outage, but he confirmed that service has been restored.

"Two of our cell sites were down in Dickinson from 8:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.," he said. "The cause is a Telco outage."

Amann said the incident is a lesson for anyone who plans to start digging.

"It's important to note that before people do any kind of digging they should call 811 and get the location of the utility lines," she said. "If they do not ... know where the underground wires are, it can cause problems like this.

"This is a problem that has happened a lot lately throughout country because people do not think they are digging very deep so they don't call 811 first, but digging without calling that number has the potential to disrupt communication services."