Saturday, November 22, 2014

Phone service disrupted by AT&T network snafu

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 4/25/2014

An equipment problem at AT&T’s network operation center caused widespread confusion for some Ottawa residents who were trying to place calls on the local 242 exchange Wednesday and Thursday.

“The problems started about mid-afternoon Wednesday and continued into Thursday afternoon,” Chuck Bigham, the City of Ottawa’s information technology director, said.

The snafu also struck Ottawa University’s phone system over that 24-hour period, Kent Corser, OU’s director of IT technical and client operations, said in an email.

“The phone would ring a couple of times, and then nothing. Nobody was there,” Scott Bird, city finance director, said of the challenge.

Some callers could not be heard on the other end of the line, business owners and city officials reported.

George Voegeli, AT&T’s central office manager, reported the phone service provider was experiencing translation problems at its network operation center, Bigham said. The problem was traced to a faulty T1 line in a signaling trunk, Voegeli reported to customers. A T1 line is a system maintained by a telephone company to connect multiple buildings together with a fast network connection, according to an industry definition.

“I know it affected the city and county [offices], OU, Ransom [Memorial Hospital] and others,” Bigham said. “The report I saw said it was isolated to the 242 exchange, so it could have affected a lot of people on the 242 exchange. But we had a problem with our 229 exchange too.”

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office also experienced problems with its phone system, Jeff Richards, Franklin County sheriff, said.

In an email at 9:22 p.m. Wednesday, Richards said the Franklin County 911 dispatch center was experiencing problems with its telephone lines but that it was able to receive calls from mobile phones. AT&T was working to resolve the problem, he added.

“The 911 lines are working properly,” Richards said Wednesday night. 

The reports Richards received indicated the service problem seemed to be pretty widespread in the community, he said Friday, though the 911 lines functioned properly throughout the 24-hour period until repairs were made Thursday.

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