Repairs to a severed fiber optic cable apparently have restored most AT&T telephone and Internet service in north Alabama after outages earlier in the day.
A contractor doing excavation work this morning hit one of AT&T's buried fiber optic cables near Madison, impacting the company's metro ethernet cable serving mostly business customers, said Sue Sperry, an AT&T spokeswoman.
About 1,500 feet of fiber optic cable was damaged and needed replacing, Sperry said.
An alarm went off when the cable was cut, and AT&T began efforts to splice the cable.
The cut cable caused outages in the Shoals.
Ray Jacoby, network support manager with the Alabama Super Computer Authority in Montgomery, said 25 schools systems and colleges in north Alabama that use their network were affected.
University of North Alabama student Josh Skaggs said Internet connections were down across the campus in Florence.
Sperry estimated the repair could be finished by 3 p.m., and the first reports of service restoration began about then.
Sperry said AT&T will investigate whether the contractor contacted the Alabama 811 service before digging and whether the location was marked precisely.
Local school systems on the Alabama Super Computer Authority network are Florence, Lauderdale County, Lawrence County, Russellville and in Colbert County.