I would like to thank the Albuquerque Journal editorial staff for their piece on “Telecom Giants need to answer this wake-up call” on Jan. 7. Unfortunately, all you hear is crickets from CenturyLink, the N.M. Public Regulation Commission and our elected officials. I have read no official statement about the number of customers involved, nor the reason why it took so long. Despite this major outage starting Dec. 27 and lasting almost 48 hours, there have been no statements that I am aware of from Larry North, vice president of operations in New Mexico, or Jeff Storey, president and CEO of CenturyLink.
The public is owed an apology and explanation for this outage. Immediate communication with all customers was not done. This outage not only disrupted essential 911 services in multiple states, but also affected normal service and trunk lines to other carriers, such as Verizon. While the brief “official” explanation stated a “network element” was the cause, that is not acceptable or believable.
Another reason stated that a “network management card in a Denver Central office” was the failure. While electronics can fail, neither of these situations should have disrupted service. It is interesting that the Federal Communications Commission stated it will investigate, but why hasn’t there been any word from the company? For a company in the communication business, they sure failed on this.
For full disclosure, I retired from Qwest, CenturyLink’s predecessor, after a long career that included upper management positions in engineering and construction of the network. My education, training and background included not only fiber optic design and construction, digital electronics – routers, switches, digital carrier, etc. – but also self-healing network rings, packet switching and wholesale interconnection with other service providers – i.e. Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile.