Just after 5:00 PM on Monday, AT&T suffered a “fiber issue” that cut off service to cell phone, Internet and U-verse customers in Humbodlt County, California. That included the Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay, which experienced an outage of its communication system. The system, known as Rescue 21 , provides communications with mariners off the Northern California coast from Oregon to the Gualala River. The Coast Guard put contingency radio communication plans in place, and said “C-130 aircraft crews from Air Station Sacramento will be airborne over the area to provide long-range radio relay capabilities until the outage is repaired.”
Why are emergency response centers still vulnerable to Internet outages? Haven’t we heard about enough of these by now? 911 call centers are being hit by Internet outages like everyone else. Cut fiber cables don’t discriminate between on-demand TV viewers and essential civil services. Outages have become so commonplace, disruptive and expensive, we’ve defined the #Ouchage phenomenon.
Understandably, few private citizens will invest in a second cable hookup and a WAN link controller to handle automatic failover when one carrier has an “issue.” We complain about the high cost of cable TV and Internet as it is. But businesses and government entities? Come on, they’ll make up the cost of that investment in minutes when there’s an outage. How much does it cost to fuel up a C-130? What is the severity of a single delayed emergency response? What is the loss in the community’s confidence and security? Provisioning a second line from a different carrier is peanuts compared to all that.
For businesses, costs of outages are easy to calculate. Most businesses rely on their Internet connections for everything from e-commerce (where every minute of downtime equates to lost revenue) to Voice over IP phone systems, to cloud-based applications that their employees rely on to do their daily work. According to reports, the cost of an unplanned data center outage is slightly over $7,900 a minute.
For businesses and government agencies of all sizes, it’s worth reviewing your Communications Continuity plans to ensure that when (forget “if”, it will happen) AT&T, Comcast, Suddenlink, CenturyLink, Windstream or whichever carrier you rely on has an outage, you have a second link to carry your essential data and voice communications. Picture this: the way you’ll find out there’s a network outage in your area is because you’ll get an email alerting you that traffic switched to your secondary link. It’s really that simple and way more affordable than workaround options during an outage. Let’s say it together, “No more #ouchages!”