Following 2 1/2-hour outage, Slic planning new backup if Internet feed fails again in St. Lawrence County
Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 11:53 am

NICHOLVILLE -- Following a 2-1/2 hour internet outage that affected hundreds of customers Wednesday, Slic Network Solutions says it is working to avoid a repeat occurrence.

A backup rerouting function did not activate as it should have after a switch in the Gouverneur area failed at 3:44 p.m., said Customer Service Manager Darlene Cole in a letter to customers.

“Today we are working with our partner to identify the problem with the backup routing,” she said. “Once we understand why that secondary system did not engage, changes will be made to ensure this failure cannot happen again.”

She said most phone service was unaffected by the outage, although about 10 percent of customers had a “brief disruption of their long distance service.”

Because of the outage, NorthCountryNow.com, which is hosted by Slic.com, was unavailable until about 6:15 p.m. when service was restored.

Among organizations losing internet access were Clarkson University, the Potsdam Village Police Department and St. Lawrence County offices.

Internet customers of Time Warner Cable and other providers continued to have service, but they still could not access sites such as NorthCountryNow.com and Clarkson.edu because Slic provides their Internet service.

Although Slic does not host Clarkson’s website, Clarkson spokesperson Michael Griffin said the site was down because Slic provides internet service to the university. An earlier story incorrectly said Slic hosts the Clarkson and SeaComm websites. NorthCountryNow.com regrets the error.

The complete letter to Slic customers follows:

To Our Valued Customers:

Last night we had an outage of our data network connection to Syracuse

that caused all of our customers to lose Internet access. For this

disruption to your service, we apologize. As your local service

provider for over 100 years, we are proud to offer some of the best

available telecommunications technology. But sometimes these services

fail, and when they do, our local history does not reduce the impact.

Allow me to explain what happened last night, and the steps we are

taking to prevent such outages in the future.

At 3:44 pm, a switch provided by one of our partners in Gouverneur

failed, cutting our connection to Syracuse. Normally, the network

automatically redirects traffic to a backup route. However, last

evening this automatic rerouting did not function properly. We

immediately contacted our partner, isolated the problem, and our

partner dispatch a technician to replace the defective device. The

service was restored at 6:15 pm.

Today we are working with our partner to identify the problem with the

backup routing. Once we understand why that secondary system did not

engage, changes will be made to ensure this failure cannot happen

again.

Phone service was essentially unaffected. While local and emergency

phone services experienced zero downtime (including for our new

fiber-optic customers), 10% had a brief disruption of their long

distance service. However, back in January, we completed construction

of new secondary routes, and within minutes our backup routing of

those lines functioned properly.

Beyond the technical repairs, over the next few weeks we will be

creating a Service Alert hot-line for all customers to receive updates

about our service. While our local Customer Support staff in

Nicholville remained in the office answering all customer inquiries

personally until our data service was restored last night, we expect

that having a dedicated Service Alert hot-line will help us better

communicate with all of our customers.

Again, on behalf of all of the employees at Nicholville Telephone and

Slic Network Solutions, I apologize for the disruption that our

service outage may have caused you last night. I am personally

available to answer any further questions you may have on this, or any

other issue, at my direct line (315) 328-9006.

I thank you for letting us -- your local telephone company -- serve you.

Darlene Cole

Customer Service Manager