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CenturyLink, Verizon services disrupted

Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

Widespread outages in both CenturyLink and Verizon systems hit the Albuquerque area and other cities across the nation on Thursday, leaving some banks, businesses, courts and for a short time, 911 callers, without service.

Late Thursday night, CenturyLink said engineers identified the problem and expected to restore service within hours. The company said the problem involved a “network element” that was affecting services but didn’t provide details.

Early Thursday, the system failures affected calls to Albuquerque’s 911 call center and its 242-COPS line, but service was restored by 8 a.m., Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said. State District Court in Albuquerque, meanwhile, closed at noon because of the outage.

Local businesses throughout the day reported disruptions, with lack of phone and internet service. For example, the Bank of America branch at Journal Center closed for most of the afternoon because of computer problems, and reopened with limited staff in the late afternoon.

New Mexico was not alone; widespread outages were reported in large pockets around the country. Customers in Denver, Seattle, Boise, Dallas, Los Angeles, Chicago and Phoenix were also having problems with internet, television and cellphone service, according to KIVI, an Idaho TV station.

A Verizon spokeswoman said Thursday evening that her company was still having intermittent service problems, which she said were related to the Century Link problems. Regional spokeswoman Jeannine Brew said Verizon relies on Century Link, the company’s vendor.

“Because we work with them in New Mexico, it’s impacting the area and that network there has been literally up and down all day long,” she said.

CenturyLink, in a tweet Thursday morning, said, “Our network is experiencing a disruption affecting customer services. We understand some customers are currently unable to generate tickets through the … help portal. We know how important services are to our customers and are working to restore services as quickly as possible.”

CenturyLink officials could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.

Jessica Rosenworcel, a member of the Federal Communications Commission, tweeted that it was a nationwide outage and her agency needed to investigate.

Barry Conley, an independent dealer with DirecTV in Albuquerque, said he called CenturyLink on Thursday morning to find out what was going on, only to be placed on hold for an hour. The company depends on internet connections for its satellite operations.

“They never picked up,” Conley said. “As dealers of DirecTV, we have no control over this service, and they have not reached out to us and let us know what is going on, unfortunately.”

Because many of the phones were down in his service area, Conley said, his company’s calls were funneled to him throughout the day.

“I am kind of the last resort for the … phone systems, so everything is coming to my cellphone at the moment,” he said.

Mike LeMoine, owner and founder of Maverick Web Marketing, said most of his employees were working remotely during the holiday season but on Thursday had to go to the main office, where computers were working.

“We are in a down period right now, this being the week between Christmas and New Year’s, but if we were at full speed this would be detrimental for business,” he said.

In Rio Rancho, city email and internet access was out “intermittently” throughout the day, but city phones remained in service, spokeswoman Annemarie Garcia said.

“Our emergency services were not affected,” Garcia said, including 911 operations. Around 4:45 p.m., Garcia said city internet had been up and running for around an hour.

She said she had not heard complaints from Rio Rancho residents.

Santa Fe Regional Emergency Communications Center director Ken Martinez told the Journal there were no known issues of people having trouble reaching the center during Thursday’s outages. The only service that was down, he said, was the center’s access to the National Crime Information Center Database. Martinez said the county’s access to the FBI system that provides access to individuals’ criminal histories was down for most of the day. In an emergency, Martinez said, the center could have requested that information from another dispatch center, but he said that wasn’t necessary on Thursday.

Gallegos of APD said the department’s 911 and 242-COPS lines were working most of Thursday.

“The work-arounds are certainly the APD app, if the citizen is unable to call in because of the Verizon issue, or utilize a landline,” Gallegos said.

Journal staff writers Maddy Hayden, Kevin Robinson-Avila, Megan Bennett and Katy Barnitz contributed to this report.

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