The recent service outage that prevented both inbound and outbound calling within WMU’s phone system was part of four-state wide network failure from an outside vendor, according to officials with the university’s Office of Information Technology.
The outage, which ran from approximately 8:40 a.m. to 1:08 p.m. yesterday morning, was caused by multiple failures within the Windstream telecom system, the school’s primary voice service provider. These accidents took down a number of phone networks within not only Michigan, but also in Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa.
The first accident occurred yesterday morning, after an equipment failure in one the company’s Indiana offices. Following that discovery, Windstream found two cuts to its fiber-optic wire network, one in Indiana and another in Wisconsin.
Millions of customers were potentially affected by the outage, said George Kohrman, the senior director of WMU’s voice, video and data networks.
Despite the near three hour outage, communication between the university’s administration, faculty and staff were not significantly set back by the lack of landline phone service, Kohrman said.
“I’m not aware of any critical things to the institution that was disrupted because of this,” Kohrman added. “A lot of us have cell phones, so it’s not as if we were completely cut-off from the outside world for critical communication.”
In addition, Kohrman’s office was able to restore outbound phone calls around noontime by utilizing the school’s alternative telephone service provider, TelNet Worldwide. However, inbound calling wasn’t restored until Windstream completed repairs to its network.
“I apologize for any inconveniences who uses our services or needed to use our services,” Kohrman said. “Our hands were kind of limited in what we could do, based upon the options that were given to us.”
Windstream is a nationally based telecommunications service company, headquartered in Little Rock, Ark. In addition to voice, the company also delivers broadband internet and digital TV services to businesses and consumers.
Yesterday’s phone outage in the second such communication system failure WMU has experienced in recent weeks. Late last month, the university’s email went down for nearly an entire day, due to malfunctions within the webmail servers.