North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Today's Outage

  • From: Sean Donelan
  • Date: Wed Aug 12 08:24:18 1998

>> Well, today's outage is a small one.  Southwestern Bell lost power
>> to their central office in Ladue, Missouri (just outside of St. Louis).
>> This affects all local telephone service in Ladue and several
>> surrounding communities.  No big deal, except our Network Operations
>> Center happens to receive its local dial tone from the Ladue central
>No big deal for yourselves maybe, but we had several hundred ISDN
>customers hammer or NOC at that time, since all BRI's in SE MO are served
>out of that CO.

The preliminary report says 66,000 phone customers lost phone service
for about two hours.  The CO outage also affected 9-1-1, hospital and
other emergency services for 5 cities and surrounding areas.  I'm assuming
this is only counting POTS service because we saw some ISDN and data
circuits out-of-service for 10-12 hours.  Unfortunately due to Southwestern
Bell corporate policies, I can't conduct the usual 'due diligence' I
do with our CLEC providers.

Finally around 5am, Southwestern Bell started accepting trouble tickets
again.  They wouldn't accept them earlier until their techs gave the
'all clear.'

>I did talk to someone about the problem, but unfortunatly, SWBT has moved
>their NOC to KC and they were clueless to the problem, and their battery
>ran dry, and the generator failed to start.

Cluelessness is not an attribute restricted to ISPs.  Southwestern Bell's
official spokesperson was quoted:

"Cordless phones won't work during power outages because they need
electricity to operate. As a safety precaution, he recommended keeping
a spare corded phone."

Oops, I think he picked up the wrong script.  He needed the Central office
failure script, not the Cordless phone failure script.

When I was growing up, my next door neighbor was the president of
Southwestern Bell Telephone and we got phone service out of this same
Central Office.  I guess things have declined a bit since the current
president moved the corporate offices to San Antonio, Texas.
Sean Donelan, Data Research Associates, Inc, St. Louis, MO
  Affiliation given for identification not representation