NC - Internet Failure Delays Some Election Returns : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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Title: Internet Failure Delays Some Election Returns



An Internet equipment failure blacked out the Internet from Greensboro to Atlanta Tuesday night, leaving many state election vote-counters -- and hundreds of thousands of computer users -- in the digital dark.

Telephone lines and computer modems as far north as Rockingham and Guilford counties were knocked off-line by the outage, rendering all Internet services -- from e-mail to the Internet -- unusable for several hours.

The blackout began about 7:30 p.m. By 10:30 p.m., the problem had been traced to an equipment failure somewhere in the southeast regional BellSouth network, said Bill Gibson, an operations technician with Splitrock Services Inc. in Houston.

Splitrock is a nationwide Internet service provider which uses MCI/Worldcom lines to transmit data and services. Locally, MCI/Worldcom uses BellSouth lines.

"Right now, it's been isolated to a BellSouth problem," Gibson said, "But we're still not sure what the problem with BellSouth is."

BellSouth technicians could not be reached for comment. BellSouth spokesman John McKinney said he had not heard of any complaints Tuesday night.

The failure could have been caused by excessive volume of data traffic, equipment failure or severe weather, Gibson said.

National Weather Service forecasters in Raleigh reported a line of slow-moving, lightning-intensive thunderstorms in the Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C., region that may have contributed to the failure.

"They've had some hail down there that was dime-sized or nickel-sized, and even some as big as an inch-wide," said meteorologist Phil Badgett. "There's been a lot of lightning in some areas, too, which is probably causing some of the havoc."

In Rockingham County, polling results were delayed by more than an hour due to a problem with the county's ability to receive tallies from each of 31 precincts via modem. The modem was not equipped to handle all of the incoming calls from vote-counting machines at the precincts.

Due to the problem, some precincts had to deliver their totals in person while others had to wait their turn to send in their results.

Staff Writer Jamie Kritzer contributed to this report.


-- (, May 03, 2000

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