Internet outage exasperates clients, provider
Disruption of a local high-speed internet service led Race Communications last week to send one of its vice presidents to the area.
Race — a service provider for internet, phone and TV — dispatched Jim Miller, vice president of sales and marketing, to Grass Valley to assure broadband customers Race was in the process of resolving the issue in a timely manner.
“We feel the pain and sympathize with customers,” said Miller. “All previous outages were because of contractors digging underground and cutting into fiber optic cables.”
Contractors evidently did not obtain permission prior to breaking ground and tore into fiber optic cables, which interrupted online service, Miller said. Before anyone digs underground they are advised to dial the 811 number that connects with a Public Utilities Commission division, which has mapped the location of all gas, utility and telecom lines.
Service halted at 2:11 p.m. Thursday, when Race received alarms about the issue. It was just after 6 p.m. when Race identified the fiber break and commenced to make the repairs. Services were restored just after 2 a.m., Miller said.
The fiber cut actually affected all three of Race’s services, which impacted about 1,000 Grass Valley customers. One of them is Michael Anderson, president of Client Works, an IT managed service provider.
Beginning this year there were five outages — the first on April 30, and two more subsequent to that earlier in June. But an outage on June 16 lasted 26 hours, and then again on Thursday, a 13-hour interruption.
“A lot of my clients data is stored on the cloud, so if broadband goes down they can’t do business, said Anderson.
Two of Anderson’s customers spend a lot of time online. One of them, Alpine Aviation, relies on the internet to conduct charter flights, and make repairs with instruction assistance online. Alpine, run by Gordon and Sandy Mills, said it had no phone or internet when the Race outages occurred.
Miller said Race is in the process of building a redundant fiber optic circuit away from population centers. It’s expected to be completed in October, which should help avoid the type of hazards that caused the recent outages.
“We sympathize with our customers,” he said. “That’s why we built this diversified path that will operate in tandem with the current one.”
Anderson called that good news.
“Three multi-hour outages in two weeks is pretty extraordinary,” he said. “Yet it’s good to hear they’re building the back haul circuit.”
William Roller is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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