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A worker handles a fiber-optic installation in Norton, Vt.

Internet providers in the Charleston area dealt with outages likely affecting thousands Tuesday due to a damaged fiber optic cable. 

WOW!, Comcast and Verizon internet were down all day due to a cut fiber line. Fiber cables often service multiple carriers, explaining why a few internet providers are having trouble. 

The outages began mid-day Tuesday and were not fixed by the evening, lasting at least 12 hours. The problem was resolved close to midnight Tuesday.

Debra Havins, spokeswoman for WOW!, said Tuesday afternoon engineers with the provider are on-site working to repair the damage, but it was unclear how soon work would be done.

Meanwhile, at least one municipality said they were without internet and phone lines. The Town of Kiawah said in a notice to its residents that it had initiated its backup internet system through AT&T, allowing staff to send and receive emails. But phone lines remain down. 

"Providers are currently engaged in trying to restore service as quickly as possible," the town said in an email.

A spokesman for CenturyLink, a major national telecommunications company with a fiber optic broadband network, confirmed there is a "potential fiber cut affecting the Sheldon, SC and Morrisville, NC areas." The spokesman said it is not clear where the actual cut is. Sheldon is in Beaufort County.

"Our technical team is investigating. We will provide updates as more information becomes available," the spokesman said.

It is not uncommon for internet providers' service to to go down when fiber lines are severed. The effects can be far-reaching. 

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In a separate incident, a nationwide service outage Tuesday morning was keeping AT&T customers from calling 911. Charleston County reported the problem on its Twitter account at about 9 a.m. Tuesday morning. 

"If you need 9-1-1, call from a landline, a cell phone with a different service provider or call our administrative dispatch line 843-743-7200," the county said.

The county reported the issue was resolved about half an hour later.

The same outage was affecting people's ability to contact emergency services across the country.

Reach Mary Katherine Wildeman at 843-937-5594. Follow her on Twitter @mkwildeman.