41°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Customers, businesses endure internet service interruption

A power outage on Mount Potosi late Wednesday evening halted internet service to thousands of customers and several businesses who rely on Rise Broadband and LV.Net for their internet service in parts of Nye County and surrounding areas.

The 11:30 p.m. interruption, according to Valley Electric Association’s Tom Husted, was due to harsh overnight weather conditions on the 8,517-foot peak in the Spring Mountain Range southeast of Pahrump.

Partial, spotty service was re-established early Thursday afternoon. However, it went back down around 6 p.m. and remained unavailable at press time.

Husted noted a generator which powers communication facilities on the mountain failed to kick on after Wednesday night’s heavy freeze affected power lines.

“Obviously with the weather we had on the mountain, there was snow, ice and rain, so it’s very easy that you can have an ice buildup on those lines on the mountaintop which can cause problems,” he said. “For a large portion of those consumers and customers up there, their backup generator did not kick in. They have backup generators up there, but when it doesn’t work in these kinds of situations, it really compounds things.”

An additional challenge Husted mentioned, was the remote location where crews had to traverse to reach the site and make repairs.

Snow and ice prevented crews from driving to the site, thus they were forced to walk with their equipment.

“If the roads are impassable, the crews have to walk for miles,” he said. “We do have all-terrain vehicles to assist us with not only this mountain top, but others, and they utilize those to the extent they can. If there’s a situation which involves a lot of equipment, then it might take multiple trips up the mountain.”

Valley Electric Association was one of just a handful of businesses and entities that were not affected by the interruption.

Husted explained why.

“Our internet service has not been affected because we’re on Valley Communications High-Speed Broadband,” he said. “We have several gigabits of capacity here on redundancy fiber-optic lines that serve us, and will soon serve the entire community.”

Pahrump’s sole RadioShack location was affected by the outage.

Manager John Dolin said his customers could not complete their transactions by swiping credit or debit cards.

“We could only do cash sales, but the customers seemed to take it in stride,” he said.

The outage did not appear to affect operations at the Pahrump Nugget Hotel/Casino, as customers were busy playing machines as usual on Thursday.

Pahrump’s Pathways is described as a non-traditional school where students do their coursework and take tests online.

Principal Karen Hills said students who had internet service at home were not affected by the outage.

“If they’re in the same situation we are, then they cannot access the Internet,” she said. “We are looking to try to get our own in-house server for the curriculum because we could not have students do anything here on campus. Our students really only have to come when they take their tests. The next time they come and take their test they will take two of them. It does create problems in the sense that it depends on what internet service they have at home.”

Husted, meanwhile, said outages of such magnitude as Thursday’s are not very common in the area.

“Jan. 7, 2007, was the last significant weather-related outage that we’ve had on Mt. Potosi,” he said. “Of course, being a high mountain location, it’s also a communications site for various private companies and federal and state agencies, including Valley Electric Association. It’s just very tough terrain and sometimes when there are weather-related outages, it can be difficult to quickly fix, just due to the geography.”

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Multiple schools in Pahrump affected by COVID-19

Multiple schools have had staff members test positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks. Pahrump Valley High School also announced that someone at the school has tested positive in a letter to families on its website.

State reports 1,146 new COVID-19 cases, 5 deaths

For the first time since Aug. 14, more than 1,000 new cases were reported in Nevada on Saturday, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

USDA works to expand rural broadband

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now accepting applications for funding to provide broadband service in undeserved rural areas. Broadband service is the speed of your internet. This new grant will be available in the year 2021 under the Community Connect Grant program.

Tuatara comes to the finish line on highway 160

The motor of the now record-breaking SSC Tuatara wound down to its final stop along Highway 160, near Tecopa Road, on Oct. 10.

Helicopter crashes into Lake Spring Mountain

No serious injuries were reported following the crash of a helicopter in a lake at the Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club just after 10 a.m., on Friday morning, Oct. 16.

Nye County waives brothel licensing fees, rejects same request for pot industry

In the face of COVID-19, many businesses in Nye County have seen negative impacts and have been struggling to keep afloat as the pandemic continues to hold sway over government mandated restriction. In a lot of cases, those businesses have been able to turn to federal, state and local programs for assistance but not so for the brothel and marijuana industries, which are barred from utilizing a majority, if not all, of the available programs.

Impact statement for Lee Canyon plans now available

The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest on Oct. 9 published the Notice of Availability of the final Lee Canyon Master Development Plan Phase I Environmental Impact Statement for a 30-day review period.

Nursing home group warns of another COVID-19 spike

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately 5 million people each year, released a report today showing nursing homes in the U.S. could see a third spike of increasing new COVID-19 cases because of the community spread among the general population.

WGU enhances B.S. degree program in cloud computing

Western Governors University on Tuesday announced the launch of key updates to its Bachelor of Science cloud computing degree program built in collaboration with Amazon Web Services, Inc. The degree program is designed to prepare students with the skills they need to succeed in today’s economy and meet the demands of employers seeking cloud professionals.

Health guidelines revised for vocal performances

Nevada Health Response has issued a revised version of the “Nevada Guidance for Safe Gatherings” to clarify when vocal performers can remove face coverings.