An unknown number of businesses and individuals lost internet service for most of Thursday, July 29, after a Tennessee Department of Transportation contractor working at DENSO off Robert C. Jackson Drive cut two major fiber strands.

“A non-Spectrum construction crew in Maryville damaged two large fiber-optic cable bundles this morning, severing more than 500 fiber strands and impacting all services to Sevierville, Gatlinburg, parts of Maryville and some surrounding areas,” Jonathan Dunagin, Spectrum’s manager of regional communications, South, told The Daily Times Thursday night.

“Because of the nature of fiber-optic cable repair — each strand has to be repaired individually — services will be restored gradually over the course of the evening,” he emailed. “We expect complete restoration sometime during the overnight hours.”

At one point Thursday, gas stations across Blount County could not accept credit cards because of the outage.

The city of Alcoa posted on social media it was a “multi-county internet system outage” that affected new utility services, utility service payments and the city’s calling system.

Stefan Wilson, owner of Allevia Technology in downtown Maryville, said a backhoe reportedly cut the two major fiber strands.

A spokesman for TDOT reached after 7 p.m. Thursday by the newspaper said it was the first he had heard of the internet outage.

More than 30 of Allevia’s customers lost internet, Wilson said.

The outage was widespread and seemingly random, he added.

“That’s been the weird part,” he said, adding that affected customers were Spectrum users in East Maryville (East Broadway Avenue, South Everett High Road and Brown School Road); Alcoa (Gilbert Street and Cusick Road off Alcoa Highway); and downtown Maryville.

“This appears to be a multi-carrier outage and really appears to be localized to Blount County,” Wilson emailed. “I cannot find a rhyme/reason as to why some are affected and others aren’t.”

Spectrum, AT&T and Verizon internet users were affected.

Jane Groff, spokeswoman for the city of Maryville, said City Hall was not affected.

A Sevierville resident emailed The Daily Times late Thursday: “I wanted to let you know that it has also been out in Seymour, Sevierville and Gatlinburg. I can tell you that ours went out at just a few minutes after 9 this morning and we live close to Smoky Mountain Knife Works off Boyd’s Creek Highway.”

Staff writer Amy Beth Miller contributed to this report.

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