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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Weekend phone outages allowed for free phone calls

Published: January 14, 2005
Section: News

The Brandeis campus lost off-campus telephone service from early morning on Saturday, December 18 until noon the next day. The outage was a result of a failed system upgrade by Paetec Communications, Brandeis off-campus telephone services provider.

Inbound and outbound calls were both affected, causing calls to either be dropped at some point during the call or to fail to connect altogether. During the outage, on-campus telephone services and emergency blue light phones were not affected.

Service interruptions were also felt by approximately 1,500 other local Paetec customers, including police precincts, hospitals, a prison and several area colleges.

During a regularly scheduled system upgrade at 2:00am, Paetec experienced unpredicted problems according to a statement released by the company. Paetec called in technicians from Lucent Technology to assist a 30 person Lucent team already on-site for the upgrade according to Brandeis Chief Information Officer Perry Hanson.

Some students reported that during the outage, they were able to make long-distance calls without entering their Personal Billing Number. Because the calls could not be tracked, students will not be charged for them. Paetec will cover any additional costs that were incurred as a result of these free calls, said Hanson.

While the outage was a result of circumstances outside of Brandeis control, actions have been taken to minimize the effect on students and the Brandeis community, according to Hanson. Whenever we experience such a service interruption, [we] review the circumstances to see how or if we can prevent future occurrences, Hanson said.

The cause of the outage, according to Paetec, was software and database corruption as well as facility timing issues due to improperly terminated cabling in newly installed modules.