A shortage of fiber optic cable is slowing some new installations throughout the Conway Corp. network, the corporation’s board was told Tuesday.

The earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan in March considerably damaged the manufacturers of optical fiber, slowing or stopping shipments.

Tommy Shackelford, chief operating officer, said a shipment is expected soon in Conway, and work will resume in areas where fiber cable is being extended.

In other news affecting the local operation, Jason Hansen, chief technology officer, said when Apple introduced the iOS 5 phone software, Conway Corp’s bandwidth demand spiked as owners of the new iPhone added new features. The event last Wednesday caused an 80 percent increase in bandwidth use.

• Hansen told the board that this fall the e-mail system will be powered by Google Apps, giving e-mail customers a huge increase in storage — to 7.65 gigabytes — easier mobile access, a more reliable system and a greater chance of getting a screen name they wish.

• The AT&T outage Sept. 29 that shut down phone service to several Arkansas counties, including Faulkner, did not affect Conway Corp. phone users, Hansen said.

• George Heintzen, power supply director, said essential communication among the Conway Corp. departments was unaffected on that day as well.

• Shackelford said water levels at Brewer Lake are back to normal, in spite of massive water usage during the hot weather this summer.

• Contracts were awarded for two wastewater improvement projects at bids lower than had been predicted by staff, CEO Richie Arnold said.

• The board voted to make a no-interest loan of $200,000 to the City of Conway to cover work at the new airport that will be repaid by a grant from the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics.

Arnold said the city is using "an abundance of caution" in requesting the loan should a payment to a contractor be required from the city in a month with three payrolls, causing stress on the city’s budget.

The Federal Aviation Administration is providing 95 percent of the cost of the relocated airport with the other 5 percent paid by the ADA.

(Staff writer Becky Harris can be reached at becky.harris@thecabin.net and 505-1234.)