New backup CenturyLink fiber network in Dubuque prevents outages - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New backup CenturyLink fiber network in Dubuque to prevent outages

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

A big announcement Wednesday at John Deere Dubuque Works assures people in the Dubuque area they won't be plunged into telecommunications darkness as they were a year ago.

On June 12, 2012, an excavator working on a residential construction site two miles south of Dubuque struck a CenturyLink fiber cable, leaving thousands of people without phone or Internet service for about four hours. The outage impacted businesses and individuals, even Dubuque's 911 call center.

"To be vulnerable to the act of one individual to cutting one line and shutting a community down, it's unacceptable," Greater Dubuque Development Corporation president and CEO Rick Dickinson said.

The outage halted operations at John Deere Dubuque Works, which is why the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation chose that location Wednesday to announce CenturyLink has successfully installed more than 68 miles of a backup fiber optic network, also referred to as a redundancy fiber optic network, guarding against the outage the area saw just last year.

"We take access to communications for granted, you know," Dickinson said at Wednesday morning's announcement ceremony at John Deere Dubuque Works. "It's always there, it's always going to work, so when all of a sudden it's gone, it tells you how dependent we are."

He said a reliable telecommunications network is key to keeping the economy running and attracting new businesses.

"It's about our communication with friends and family, it's about our business communications, it's access to the world via the Web," Dickinson said.

He added the secondary network also makes the community safer.

"It's not just the possibility of an accident. In this day and age, where terrorism is a concern for everyone, redundancy or having that backup access is critical," Dickinson said, "so thanks to this investment, we're much more secure than we were."

With this new fiber optic network in place, Dubuque-area businesses and residents alike relying on CenturyLink Internet and phone service can now operate knowing there's a backup in case of emergency.

CenturyLink's general manager of the Iowa market Tim White said the company invested $2.3 million to build the redundancy fiber optic network.

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