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Cable and internet outages exacerbated by arctic chill

Mediacom says network traffic patterns are beginning to return to normal.
Medicacom Outage map

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- In addition to water pipes, fire hydrants and slick roads, the current cold snap is also playing some havoc with many cable subscriber's data, voice and video internet connections.

"What some customers are experiencing is signal loss or signal degrading – intermittently or during a brief time," said Phyllis Peters, communications director for Mediacom's Field Operations Group. "These are very localized situations.  In many cases the signal levels change back to the positive, normal levels.  It is definitely a combination of things – and we do have technicians working to diagnose and resolve issues."

Over the past week or so, Mediacom has noted pockets of outages in the Quad Cities, Preston, Maquoketa and Comanche areas, Peters added.

Similar to the way bridges, roads and other objects contract in frigid temperatures, so do underground fiber optic and coaxial cabes that carry digital signals. When they contract, lines can pull away from connections, disrupting service.

"These are typically smaller outages, affecting residential customers," Peters said. "Our service technicians have been addressing these issues situation-by-situation, working around the clock throughout the past several days – including New Year’s Eve and January 1."

Exacerbating the situation is that for safety reasons due to the dangerously cold weather, Mediacom employees are required to work in pairs during such stretches of weather, effectively cutting its technician workforce in half.

Peters said the number of outages continues to shrink, and crews are hopeful to get back to normal conditions as the thermometer eventually rises.