FCC Issues Scathing Report on 37-Hour CenturyLink Outage [telecom]

The Federal Communications Commission released a damning report about the cause and impact of a nationwide network outage that CenturyLink experienced late last year. The outage impacted as many as 22 million customers across 39 states, and at least 886 calls to 911 were not delivered, according to the FCC.

The outage on CenturyLink's fiber network, which lasted for nearly 37 hours, was caused by an equipment failure that was "catastrophically exacerbated by a network configuration error," the agency concluded. As many as 17 million customers spread across 29 states lacked reliable access to 911 throughout the outage. Further studies determined that there was no harm to life or property resulting from the outage.

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Bill Horne
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In another era, the telephone companies were more interested in keeping their systems going.

Back in 1969, General Telephone ran a two page ad in LIFE urging the public to report vandalized pay phones. GTE noted vandalized phones were a big problem.

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***** Moderator's Note *****

When I transferred to the Engineering department of Verizon, in 1995, the "Pubcom" groups were riding high: a desirable assignment for young college graduates on their way up. I got my first cell phone in 1996, and within three or four years, Coin telephones had been sold off to COCOT vendors, CLECs, and private owners.

It was the end of an era, and like so many other things, the large investments that had been made in coin phone infrastructure affected large portions of telephone network engineering. I was told that the positive and negative 130 volt sources used to power the manhole repeaters in T-Carrier spans had been chosen so as to be compatible with existing "coin collect" and "coin return" supplies, in the same manner that "D1" T-Carrier banks were designed with 24 channels, since the plug-in units were built to fit into "N" carrier bays, which also had 24 channels.

It all seems like a Tellurion or an Orrery now: common wisdom that was how the world explained ideas of the way that things should be, swept aside as if by another scientific revolution.

Bill Horne Moderator

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