As they wake up, readers from around the county are starting to write in to tell us that one or more of their standard methods of electronic communication are currently screwed.
AT&T customers around the Humboldt Bay area tell us that their phones, cell phones and/or internet service is down. Frontier customers in Ferndale are offline too.
When this happens, it is always because the AT&T fiber-optic line between Humboldt County and the Bay Area has been severed — this time, we assume, by one or more of the big, fast-growing wildfires in Mendocino and Sonoma counties. If you’re offline now, you should hunker down for a while — these are large, active fires, and it’s probably going to be a while before you’re back.
It’s probably worth repeating, in case you haven’t gotten the memo, that Suddenlink customers in Humboldt County are having zero problems. This is because Suddenlink data has two routes out of the county. The company also rents space on the east-west fiber-optic line roughly parallels the Highway 36 corridor, so that when the north-south fiber gets cut — as it does, very often — their bits are shifted over to the east-west line.
AT&T and Frontier refuse to do this for whatever reason, and their refusal makes their network in Humboldt County massively less reliable, especially in times of emergency. So there you go.
Want an easy way to check whether service is restored? Hit the College of the Redwoods website. They host that sucker here in Humboldt County, behind the north-south fiber. If it’s back up, you’re back up.