North American Network Operators Group

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Cingular disruption in Washington DC

  • From: Sean Donelan
  • Date: Thu Aug 09 18:44:19 2001

I don't think wireless carriers are required to report outages to
the FCC yet, at least I haven't seen the report on the FCC web site.

Cingular wireless service was disrupted for almost all wireline to
wireless, wireless to wireline and voice mail service in the 301
and 202 area codes in Washington DC and surrounding areas.

On Wednesday night, a tranformer connection failed, which may have
been related to the heat wave in the area.  Potomic Electric Power
Company responded to the call from Cingular on Wednesday at 6pm, but
found the building deserted and the gates locked. No other Potomic
Power customers in the area had any problems.  The PEPCO crew checked
the utility transformer in the area, and found it working.  Because
there was no one at the site to let them in, the PEPCO crew left.

The Cingular switch lost power at approximately 4am, approximately
10 hours later.  I'm guessing when the batteries completely discharged.
A cingular spokesperson said the system is designed to operate without
outside power for up to a month, but the switch failed as the automated
system tried to transfer from battery to generator power.

A Department of Energy study found it experiences approximately 250
failures a year in emergency power systems at various DOE sites.  NRIC
reports have been showing an increasing trend in power problems in
telephone facilities for several quarters.  Would it be useful if ISPs
contributed information about problems in their networks, so the industry
could address any root-causes which may be affecting systems across