FairPoint Internet Outage This Morning Follows Failures of 911, Police and Fire Systems

 

FairPoint Internet Outage This Morning Follows Failures of 911, Police and Fire Systems

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, December 11, 2014
CONTACT: Jim McNeill, 202-213-1614, Jim@FairnessAtFairpoint.com

Company’s union workers say that such outages could be common in the future if FairPoint pushes through outsourcing plans

Service outages at FairPoint have spiked since company hired out-of-state contractors to replace skilled and experienced workforce

Latest breakdown at FairPoint follows failure of Vermont’s 911 network, and outages in emergency responder systems in Portsmouth, Exeter, etc.

SUMMARY OF FAIRPOINT-RELATED PUBLIC SAFETY OUTAGES BELOW

FairPoint Internet service went down in large parts of New Hampshire and Vermont this morning. This follows the failure of Vermont’s E-911 network and other emergency responder systems due to problems with FairPoint service.

Striking union workers say such outages could be common in the future if the company pushes through outsourcing plans. FairPoint, which is headquartered in North Carolina, has replaced strikers with out-of-state contractors who have struggled to maintain the region’s telecom network.

“The executives back in North Carolina don’t have to live with the chaos they’ve caused by attacking their skilled workers here in New England,” said Glenn Brackett, business manager of IBEW Local 2320 in New Hampshire. “Our 911 systems, our phones and our Internet are failing because their out-of-state contractors can’t do the work.”

This morning’s Internet outages in New Hampshire and Vermont have been reported widely in the region’s media. According to WMUR in New Hampshire, the Nashua city website was down due to the FairPoint failure and the Manchester website had also been affected. WCAX in Burlington said it was unable to update its list of school closings as a result of the FairPoint outage.

“We’re striking so these outages don’t become the new future at FairPoint,” said Don Trementozzi, president of Communications Workers of America Local 1400. “The company has been pushing for years to outsource work to low-wage contractors who don’t have the skills to do the job. We’ve got to strike to put a stop to this.”

Before today’s widespread Internet outage, there had already been a number of troubling failures in the region’s public safety systems related to problems at FairPoint. A summary of those FairPoint-related outages is below:

PUBLIC SAFETY SYSTEM FAILURES RELATED TO FAIRPOINT OUTAGES

- VERMONT 911 SYSTEM FAILURE. A break in a FairPoint line caused a five-and-a-half-hour outage of Vermont’s E-911 system on Friday, Nov. 28. FairPoint initially told the state that 45 calls were missed due to the failure, but state officials later learned that as many as 100 or more calls may have been missed, according to the Bennington Banner.

- PORTSMOUTH 911 & POLICE LINE OUTAGE. 911 service in Portsmouth failed on Wednesday, Dec. 3 and service had to be re-routed through Concord. According to the Portsmouth Herald, “A network problem with FairPoint, which started a little before 5 p.m. Wednesday evening, caused several police lines to go out of service.” A police source told the paper that the line for general police inquiries wasn’t restored until a little before 9 p.m. that night.

- MULTIPLE POLICE & SHERIFF LINES FAIL IN ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.H. Police and sheriff departments in Exeter and Rockingham County, N.H., also had trouble with their emergency dispatch lines on Wednesday, Dec. 3. Those two departments have service with BayRing Communications, but the problems were attributed to failures with the FairPoint network. According to the Manchester Union Leader, it was the second time in three months that a phone outage had hit Exeter police, the dispatch center at the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department, and other local police.

- N.H. NORTH COUNTRY FIREHOUSE OUTAGE. The Fire Department in Stark, N.H., had no phone service at its firehouse for more than eight weeks. According to Chief Dana Hinkley, the department placed eight separate service calls to FairPoint. Service at the firehouse was finally restored this past Sunday, Dec. 7.

“We saw our state’s 911 system go down two weeks ago, so we know firsthand how serious this crisis has become,” said Mike Spillane, business manager of IBEW Local 2326 in Vermont. “FairPoint has to get back to the table with its skilled and experienced workers and settle a contract that’s fair to New England.”

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) System Council T-9 includes local unions in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont and represents nearly 1,700 employees at FairPoint Communications. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1400 represents nearly 300 FairPoint employees in the three states. For more information, visit www.FairnessAtFairpoint.com