#Ouchage: The Agony and Expense Caused by a Network Outage

ouchage internet outage distress

Example: “This #Ouchage has caused over a million dollars in lost revenues.”

Network outages hurt customers, employees and the community. With businesses losing between $84,000 and $108,000 (US) every hour of IT system downtime, it’s time to put an end to outages and say hello to Never Down™ technology.

There are so many outages around the globe, it’s hard to keep track! We found these causes in real news articles. Honest. We couldn’t make this stuff up if we tried.

  • Rodents
  • Beavers
  • Construction crews with backhoes
  • Landscaping crews with mowers
  • Trains
  • Semi-trucks
  • Cars hitting utility poles
  • SUV crashes
  • Fracking
  • Typhoons
  • Earthquakes
  • Floods
  • Wind
  • Ice
  • Tree limb
  • Governments
  • Attacks on fiber optic cables
  • Vandalism
  • Gunfire
  • Copper thieves
  • Garage fires
  • House fires
  • Motor home fires
  • Underground explosions
  • Hardware problems
  • Software problems
  • DNS Errors
  • Water main breaks
  • Wet cables
  • Pasture burns
  • Dove hunters

Fiber optic links are essential to modern communications; they’re also vulnerable to damage! And that means your business Internet is one slice, crash or bite from going down.

Outages happen every day, despite Internet Service Provider guarantees of reliability and uptime. The circumstances leading to most outages are beyond their control.

Our advice for businesses? Have more than one connection from different service providers on different cable runs and a device to manage your traffic and perform automatic failover – and fail back. Let technology do the heavy lifting for you so that you can get a good night’s sleep and not have to close up shop just because a construction crew a county over misread utility markings.

Want to keep an eye on your business Internet? Sign up for Ecessa’s free ISP monitoring and outage alert app here. Knowledge is power. Take control of your network.

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We started tracking outages in 2014 as a service to our readers. After four months, we couldn’t keep up! Below are the most entertaining outages we tracked from November 2014 through February 2015. With a few exceptions, you could put this on a repeating loop.

February 2015 #Ouchage List

Copper Thieves on the Loose – Theft Causes #Ouchage for Company, Thousands of Customers

copper thieves cause internet outageFoothills Broadband experienced a wide service outage after fiber optic lines were damaged, apparently by copper thieves. Engineering Construction Coordinator John Blair said that in the past year, they have been hit by copper thieves 30 to 40 times.


“Every time we get close to them, they go from not only being a thief, but they start vandalizing which affects more of our customers beyond that site,” Blair said.


Despite all of the issues, officials with Foothills Broadband are confident the copper thieves will be caught. “We will catch you,” Blair said. “You can mark it down. We will catch you, and you will be prosecuted.”


Dallas Facility #Ouchage

A Dallas facility was left without internet services after a construction crew accidentally cut through a fiber line. The line was the only path connecting the facility to their network.


“Presently there is only 1 path headed into the data center with the secondary, redundant path at 95% completion is set to be ready within a few weeks. Unfortunately this outage happened a few weeks too early to put the secondary, redundant path to test.”


#Ouchage without a Heart – Phone Outage Temporarily Takes Out Flower Shop Business

“I thought I was going to have a heart attack.” said florist Steve Papoulakos of Vogue Flowers & Gifts in Richmond, VA. On their biggest day of the year, phone services went out for an hour and a half. “We expect about 1,000 orders,” said Steve on the busy nature of the days leading up to Valentine’s Day.


Comcast released a statement Thursday afternoon. “We’ve reached out to Mr. Papoulakos to apologize personally,” the statement read, “and to let him know that we’re actively investigating the issue and will take actions to prevent this from happening again.”


Over 20,000 Left without Service in Kona

A fiber cable was severed by a transporter, leaving 20,000 people without phone services, 5,500 without internet customers, 911 services disabled, and created additional problems for wireless carriers.


Upper West Side New York Goes Off the Grid

An aging copper infrastructure has led to a massive Upper West Side outage that has lasted three weeks. Verizon is encouraging customers experiencing the effects of the outage to switch to a wireless replacement.


Some Verizon customers on the Upper West Side are in the third week of a phone and internet outage that has businesses and residents wondering how a chunk of Manhattan can simply be knocked off the grid.


“I heard the entire east side of Columbus Avenue between 87th Street and 89th Street has had a Verizon cable problem,” said Andrew Albert, executive director of the West Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. “Council member Helen Rosenthal’s offices, as well as Goddard-Riverside [Community Center], have been without phone service for several days.”


More on the #Ouchage from Ars Technica:


The outage in the Upper West Side began on February 3, resident George Malko told Ars. “Countless calls produce conflicting and flimsy explanations,” he wrote in an e-mail Saturday. “A scheduled service call to us in particular was canceled by Verizon. Return to service was first promised for February 17. Then February 23. Now it’s February 28.”


Vandalism Blamed for Cut Fiber Optic Line in Northern Arizona 

Internet, cell phone services, credit card services, ATMs, and law enforcement databases all went down due late February due to a cut cable in a riverbed that is hard to access by vehicle. Services are expected to be restored shortly.cut fiber optic cable causes internet outage


“We are working as fast as we can,” Centurylink spokesman Alex Juarez said. “Customers are the priority at this point.” Police are investigating but did not immediately have any suspect or possible motive, Holmes said.


Additional Source: Internet Outages Affect Northern Arizona


Additional #Ouchages of February:


January 2015 #Ouchage List

The year got off to a rough start in terms of #Ouchages. The month’s internet outages included culprits ranging from fires to rodents. Follow #Ouchage and @Ecessa on Twitter.


Eupora Business Owners Losing Patience and Money Due to Outages[VIDEO] 

Many Eupora businesses using AT&T services were without internet for an extended period this month after a lengthy outage. Many stores closed early and were unable to complete even simple sales and pricing requests. “Our computers are out, and we have no way of looking up prices,” said hardware store manager Jody Johnson. Johnson also told the station that “every minute the internet is down, the store is losing money.”


Car Crash Brings in the New Year Without Service

Many Miami Beach Atlantic Broadband customers woke up on New Years Day without service after a car crash damaged service lines.


Update: Atlantic Broadband responded to the outage by allowing customers to seek a credit on their bill if impacted by the extended outage.


Frontier Not Claiming #Ouchage Responsibility in Show Low, AZ

Frontier high-speed internet customers lost services for six hours in Show Low, Arizona due to an apparent AT&T issue.


A Frontier representative at the office on Hall Street in downtown Show Low said, “It was not us. You need to contact AT&T.”


Karen Miller, Frontier media relations representative based in Sun Prairie, Wis., said Frontier high speed Internet uses AT&T lines to deliver service to their customers. That line went down between 5:18 a.m. and 10:55 a.m., causing Frontier customers, including local businesses, to lose Internet service until the AT&T line was repaired.


Residential Fire Disables Internet, VoIP and Cable Services in Chicago

What kind of impact can a residential garage fire have on the city of Chicago? Well, nearly 4,000 Comcast customers were without VoIP, Internet, and cable services due to the fire damaging a node in their network.


#Ouchage County USA? Mendocino Hit Again

Late 2014, an accident in Mendocino County took out telephone, internet, and 911 services. The result was at least $215K in damages, but projected to be in the millions. Unfortunately, Mendocino is experiencing outages once again as customers experienced landline outages and the loss of access to 911 services.


Part of the problem originated from December’s winter storm, said Jim Persky, CEO of Pacific Internet, who said AT&T then declared itself to be in a “state of emergency,” meaning, he said, AT&T simply found a loophole in repair regulations to delay work.


“When the rains come along with the wind, that’s when the lines go down,” Persky said. “The part that’s really bad is people who aren’t getting 911 service.”


According to Moorehead, the issue with the copper lines isn’t just exclusive to the coast, and he has heard complaints from inland customers from Ukiah to Little River as well. The broadband chairman said he has heard feedback that indicates that some of the copper in downtown Ukiah possibly dates back to the 1940s.


Time Warner Cable Outages

Time Warner customers have had a rough start to the month with the reports of outages increasing since the start of the new year. Customers have taken to Twitter to report their outrage. No explanation has been given for the outages.


Copper Outage in Madera and Mariposa

A construction crew cut through a copper phone cable, resulting in an outage that affected phone services, internet services, and even the Madera County Sheriff’s Office.


Kelly Woodard said, “It has been difficult especially yesterday when they went out because we are a 24 hour function, but we sent staff around to make sure they had their cell phones. Particularly our 24 hour function our child welfare and adult services we basically let our partners know they could reach us on our cell phones.”


Woodard is the director of the Madera County Department of Social Services. She told us because the lines were dead a lot of clients were unable to contact the office.


“You see a lot of cars in our parking lot that might be an aftermath of that,” said Woodard.


AT&T could not tell us how many customers in the three county area were affected. But the company says all services have been restored.


Mesa County Outage

District 51 in Mesa County, Colorado experienced a day of lost internet services due to a Charter Communications outage.


In today’s high tech age nearly every aspect of a child’s day at school revolves around some type of technology. So when systems go down the entire school system is affected. This is why there are several backup systems in place and a team of IT professionals on hand to get the schools back up and running as quickly as possible.


Caroline Powell is becoming more frustrated with the issues the community is having with charter communications especially since it is now affecting her kids in the classroom.“It’s very frustrating as a community as a whole that you have a service that you are paying, and I understand that things happen,” said Powell.


Odus Harwood is the Executive Director of Technical Services at District 51 and said that when their systems go down the entire school district is affected.“It connects all of our facilities and schools together and provide them data and communication services and the means to provide those same services to the outside world,” said Harwood.


This means that classrooms were without the technology they use every day. “The teaching and learning process technologies are used as tool to enhance that process support it and make it more effective,” said Harwood.


Gardner without the Webb

A network outage has left many RST Communications customers without internet and email services for over 24 hours, including Gardner-Webb University. Associate Vice President of Communications and Marketing at Gardner Webb, Noel Manning, stated on Wednesday that the school has been completely without internet on campus.


“We have been without internet on campus,” Manning said. “It’s also affected online classes and really anything related to the internet, like email and our website.”


According to Manning, the school was told that the outage was caused by a cut in the line. He said the school is relying on RST to put their expertise to work in order to fix the repair.


“We don’t have any ETA on when it will be back up. We are at the mercy of those working on it outside of campus,” Manning said.


Update: Faculty, student and staff respond to the Internet disconnection


Rodents Chew Out 911

Hundreds of CenturyLink customers in Grant County, Washington lost internet and 911 services after what the local sheriff’s office determined to be a fiber optic cable chewed through by rodents.


Construction Crew Takes Comcast Services for an Outage

Although they were without internet service, Comcast customers in Palo Alto took to Twitter to report their outage and displeasure after a construction crew cut through a fiber optic cable.


The outage was caused by a non-Comcast construction crew that was cutting into the asphalt with saws near the intersection of Sheridan and Park Boulevard in Palo Alto. The crew damaged a “clearly marked” fiber-optic line in several places, said Bryan Byrd, director of communications for Comcast California.


“It took extra time to repair because we had to dig into the ground and access the problem and re-splice in more than one place,” Byrd said.


Additional #Ouchages of January:


December 2014 #Ouchage List

Big Rig Takes Out Comcast Services in Nashville

Due to the damage caused by a semi-truck driving through Comcast fiber lines in early December, customers temporarily lost use of their services.


It’s unclear exactly how many customers were affected, but Walker (Sara Jo Walker, director of Government and Public Relations for Comcast) said many customers lost service. “We apologize for any inconvenience that this caused,” she said.


Cut Cables in Wisconsin Lead to 911 Outage, Look Into if Cables Were Marked

After a Frontier Communications fiber optic cable was cut, 911 circuits were disabled in Columbia County. Authorities are now questioning if the cables were properly marked, causing the work crew to not see the cable.


The outage had triggered Wisconsin Emergency Management to issue a Civil Emergency Alert over radio, TV and wireless networks in the affected area to inform people of the problems at the 911 centers.


Cut Fiber Optic Line Leaves CenturyLink Customers Without Phone, Internet, 911 Services

An accidentally cut fiber optic line resulted in down internet, phone and 911 services for CenturyLink customers in Cape Fair, Aurora and Greenfield. After services went down early-afternoon, service wasn’t restored until 6:30pm that evening.


Equipment Failure Blamed for Mediacom Outage

Mediacom customers in the Quad Cities, Illinois were without internet service after a malfunctioning microchip.


A card with microchip processing pieces, which serves Mediacom Internet customers in the Rock Island and Milan, Illinois area, was not functioning properly, Peters said, “and that has created an issue with web browsing and obstacles to opening web pages.”


New England Residents Furious Over Weeklong Outage

More than 100 FairPoint Communications customers are estimated to have been without both phone and internet services for over a week after a tree fell over a four-way intersection in Epsom. The tree damaged utility wires, which disabled phone and internet services for local residences and businesses.


For Robert Gelinas, who’s owned nearby Gelinas Garage on River Road for 50 years, the response time has been unacceptable. When service went down last Wednesday evening, he was told it would be restored by Tuesday at the latest, he said. Yesterday, he was still without service – and out of touch with his would-be customers.


Fairpoint outage updates:




Nothing to See Here: Cable One Customers Lose Service

An outage in Ardmore, Oklahoma caused Cable One customers to experience phone, internet, and cable issues. Many customers lost use of their cable services for several hours after the 3pm outage.


Outages Cost Big; Force Schools and Customers to Look Elsewhere

An Internet service provider in Ohio is facing complaints and the risk of losing a significant amount of their business after an outage resulted in major expenses for school districts.


In Olmsted Falls, the outage fell on a day when a major technical training was scheduled for teachers — the second mass in-service there this year to be ruined by lack of Internet service. Superintendent Jim Lloyd was so upset that he wrote a letter accusing the North Coast Council of breach of contract. He said the two outages on in-service days cost Olmsted Falls a whopping $120,000.


Pennsylvania State Police Outages Hurting Firearm Dealers & Others

A Pennsylvania State Police outage is affecting their internet-based systems, telephone and email systems. One of the industries affected was the retail sector, specifically owners of gun dealerships. Due to the outage, Pennsylvania’s Instant Check System, which allows dealers to conduct background checks before completing a purchase, was down. The article highlights just one of the owners’ frustrations with the system, “thousands of dollars gone because of a glitch.”


Squirrel a Suspect After Fiber Optic Line Break

After an outage wiped out most of Rim Country’s phone, TV and Internet service, residents were quick to accuse a squirrel for the fiber optic line break. CenturyLink crews replaced 1,000 feet of hanging cable after the outage. Although there are several wild squirrel accusations, at least one customer isn’t buying it.


“Don’t buy the squirrel excuse,” a woman wrote. “Why would my CenturyLink DSL be down as well as my Verizon cell phone and Suddenlink? They’re all on one little cable? If that’s the case, they are seriously underinsured for backup.”


Up to Five Days Without Internet in Lincoln

A group of Windstream customers in Lincoln, Nebraska lost internet services from Friday to the following Tuesday night after a network device failure. In an email, Windstream spokesman David Avery stated, “Our Data Network Operations Center has been troubleshooting the issue with the equipment manufacturer to determine the cause and restore service. We apologize for the inconvenience to customers.”


November 2014 #Ouchage List

Mendocino Coast Loses Money, 911 Services Due to Accident

Costs from an August accident that wiped out telephone, Internet, cell and even 911 services in Mendocino County are estimated to be at least $215,622, but projected to be in the millions after 400 feet of aerial AT&T fiber optic cable were destroyed in the accident.


Big Rig in Rosenberg

An accident involving a big rig striking a pole in Rosenberg resulted in residents losing phone, TV, and internet services for 3-5 hours.


Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems

Internal systems at the Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems (EMHS) were affected by a power surge that was allowed after a piece of equipment failed to protect the system. The outage affected all eight EMHS hospitals, seven physician groups and other members from Portland to Presque Isle. Due to the outage, EMHS clinicians couldn’t update electronic medical records and some medical procedures were delayed.


“Technology is changing all the time, so we’re always making sure that we’re able to work in both arenas, with the electronic system up and running and with it down,” Kathy Knight, director of EMHS’ Center for Emergency Preparedness.


Network Outage Breaks Up Poker Game

A mid-November network outage stopped poker games around the world as popular poker site PokerStars experienced downtime that forced refunds and lost revenues.


– CardsChat:

While PokerStars is by far the largest poker site in the world, it’s far from the only Internet poker company to suffer connectivity issues over the past month. In late October, PartyPoker was forced to cancel two events in the Pokerfest series after the company saw disconnections plague players throughout a Sunday afternoon. Once it became clear that the problems weren’t going away, two tournaments with a total guaranteed prize pool of $225,000 were canceled.


Is your site Never Down? Keep track of your uptime by subscribing for Ecessa’s free ISP Health Check! Looking for #ouchage proof services? To find out more, visit Ecessa to learn about Never Down™ Internet, Cloud and wide area network performance.