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[ NNSquad ] Re: A Ridiculous Failure of Critical Infrastructure

A comparison point.  Probably approaching 20 years ago when I was living
in Topanga Canyon, General Telephone (now Verizon) replaced the stand-alone
DMS-10 switch (a real dog) with a remote terminal fed from a GTD-5 EAX in
Santa Monica.

One day the interconnect failed, completely cutting all normal phone
service in the canyon (this was long before cell service was available
in such an area -- Old Topanga is still a cellular dead zone to this

General brought in mobile banks of pay phones that residents could use
for free (as I recall even for domestic long distance) and basically
made an effort to keep everyone informed about what was going on.

Fast forward to a few years ago here in the Woodland Hills suburban
section of L.A. City.  When a swerving driver totalled a local b-box,
cutting off phone and Internet service, AT&T made no effort at all to
offer help, information, or workarounds.  I was the first person to
report (exactly!) what had happened (and I just *dare* you to try
explain to 611 that a b-box has been wiped out -- the repair guy will
keep insisting that he wants you to unplug and plug back in your
phones and power cycle the DSL modem!)

In fact, AT&T *never* had any useful public information on the
voice/data outage that I could obtain from their repair service or
anywhere else officially.  I learned everything about the status from
chatting with the team rebuilding the b-box on the corner, and passed
that info along to neighbors myself.  It took them about two days to
rebuild the box from scratch.  Hint: Always keep cans of chilled Diet
Coke around for such situations as "icebreakers" to offer when
initially approaching the crew.

So much for "critical infrastructure" in the Internet Age.

NNSquad Moderator

 - - -

On 12/01 14:23, Lauren Weinstein wrote:
> ----- Forwarded message from Dave Farber <dave@farber.net> -----
> Date: Tue, 1 Dec 2009 15:10:04 -0500
> From: Dave Farber <dave@farber.net>
> Subject: [IP] A Ridiculous Failure of Critical Infrastructure
> Reply-To: dave@farber.net
> To: ip <ip@v2.listbox.com>
> Begin forwarded message:
> > From: "Atkinson, Robert" <rca53@COLUMBIA.EDU>
> > Date: December 1, 2009 2:54:52 PM EST
> > Subject: Re: A Ridiculous Failure of Critical Infrastructure
> > Reply-To: Telecom Regulation & the Internet 
> >
> > This is the sort of event that can start the dominoes falling toward  
> > "more regulation." Network outages that effectively strand individuals 
> > (read "voters") for any length of time is the one thing that politicians 
> > and regulators can understand and react to, much more readily than vague 
> > network neutrality, competition, technology or pricing issues.  Network 
> > outages affect constituents immediately and obviously so politicians and 
> > regulators will feel compelled to "do something."  This instance won't 
> > be a triggering event but if similar outages on a "critical 
> > infrastructure" occur on a regular basis and make the news, pressure 
> > will grow and grandstanding politicians will latch onto "saving the 
> > internet" as a great issue.  Service providers screw up like this at 
> > their own peril.
> >
> > Bob
> >
> >
> > On 12/1/09 2:54 AM, "Matt Larsen - Lists" <lists@MANAGEISP.COM> wrote:
> >
> > Some kind of combination of failure between Charter and Qwest has left
> > tens of thousands of people in Nebraska without Internet and has
> > disrupted the Internet and phone services for thousands more.    Right
> > now, the outage is going on 12 hours and there is no ETA for repair in
> > sight.
> >
> > The word coming down is that the outage is on a Qwest fiber, but it
> > looks to me like both parties should be on the hot seat for not having
> > the ability to route around the problem.    There was a four hour  
> > outage
> > on Charter a week ago that was caused by a fiber cut in Gothenburg,
> > Nebraska.
> > That one killed everything west of the cut, but it was small potatoes
> > compared to this one.   Is this truly the level of performance that we
> > can expect from our major Internet backbone providers?   It took me
> > about 10 seconds to re-route my traffic to a backup provider - you  
> > would
> > think that a couple of multimillion dollar companies would be able to
> > sort out a problem of this nature in a reasonable amount of time.   The
> > small CLEC that I use for my backup connection had enough capacity to
> > route around the problem and was even able to lend me a little bit  
> > after
> > 5pm when the traffic on their network (mostly businesses) dropped off.
> > It isn't rocket science to figure out how to route around an outage.
> >
> > Almost as frustrating is that there was NO news about the outages
> > anywhere except on the social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter).
> > One TV station in Hastings, NE put up a short story on their website,
> > but I got more news from the tweets and FB posts that people where
> > posting from their cell phones than I did from anywhere else.   None of
> > the network outage sites have any news about this.
> >
> > Could this be a harbinger of things to come?   I am feeling pretty
> > thankful right now that I have a choice in backbone providers and that I
> > kept a second one.   Diversity is a good thing, and this is a great
> > example of why we need competition and multiple options for Internet.
> >
> > Matt Larsen
> > vistabeam.com
> -------------------------------------------
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> ----- End forwarded message -----