UPDATE - Southwestern Bell Experiences 2nd Day of Web Site, E-Mail Problems

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Southwestern Bell Experiences Second Day of Web Site, E-Mail Problems

Source: Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

Publication date: 2000-06-22

Jun. 22--In the second day of trouble, some customers of Southwestern Bell faced more problems, with one suffering nearly 13 1/2 hours of Web site downtime on Wednesday.

Tulsa World's Web site went down at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday and didn't go back up until nearly 3 p.m. Wednesday. The company's e-mail system also went down for several hours Wednesday.

"We couldn't publish any stories (online)," said Mike Kimbrell, online editor. "We've had lots of calls today from as far away as Chicago, asking us why they couldn't access us. People from all over the world access our Web site."

Kimbrell said Wednesday marked the third time in June for Internet trouble because Bell's high-speed T-1 service failed. Tulsa World publishes daily articles from the paper and also sends out news flashes of breaking news. Internet service travels over the telephone lines.

Southwestern Bell spokesman Marty Richter couldn't say how many companies were affected or exactly what caused Internet service disruption on Wednesday.

"You guys were one of several with Internet problems that (telecommunications technicians) were looking at today," he said. "This was an Internet problem that our Internet folks were working with today. But I don't know definitively if it was related to yesterday's problems or not."

Helmerich & Payne's desktop operations manager, Ron VanCamp, said the company's links were down to some of its remote offices until 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. There were no problems reported Wednesday, but company staffers were puzzled.

"We were certainly surprised they were having these problems getting things back up and running," said VanCamp. "Our technical people are saying this just doesn't add up."

Kimbrell said he initially thought Tulsa World's difficulties Wednesday were a continuation of Tuesday's power disruption, which left Southwestern Bell customers in the 918 area code without 911 service for several hours. About 180,000 of 600,000 customers in that area code were affected.

Southwestern Bell restored the voice capabilities of the 911 system within two hours after problems began at 3:15 a.m. Tuesday, said Richter. The company later restored the ability for the emergency system to check addresses. He said an internal power outage from the central office caused the problem.

What will prevent that problem from reoccurring is more than $4 million worth of improvements at the central office, said Richter. New generators are in place, and the company is installing automation equipment.

"By the end of July it will be in place so that if we lose power, generators will automatically kick in," said Richter.

QuikTrip reported Wednesday that there may have been some problems with credit card use at gas pumps at some stores, but the entire system was not affected.

Spokeswoman Debi Graham said some of QuikTrip's ATMs weren't working because of Tuesday's phone line system disruptions.

"We think they're working on it at a lower priority because of the work on the emergency systems," said Graham.

Kimbrell said dependable service is important in today's society.

"We've gotten so we're dependent on the Internet, and to have it go down for a few hours is bad for commerce," he said. "For it to go down for nearly 14 hours probably cost us tens of thousands of page exposures. That's commerce."


-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), June 22, 2000

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