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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Internet outage affects Tecumseh, local towns

  • Pam O'Rorke of Tecumseh didn't realize how much she relies on the Internet for her work until she — and about 2,200 other customers — didn't have full service for several days.
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  • Pam O'Rorke of Tecumseh didn't realize how much she relies on the Internet for her work until she — and about 2,200 other customers — didn't have full service for several days.
    Scott Morris, a spokesperson for Windstream Communications, said they had a complex issue that took time to resolve, with an initial hardware failure in Broken Arrow affecting local customers in Tecumseh, Meeker, Prague and Paden.
    Tecumseh area business owners and operators were among those affected, so some of their customers couldn't use debit cards to make purchases, while offices in Tecumseh city hall and the county 911 center also had no Internet service.
    O'Rorke, a real estate broker, said she didn't realize how much of their work was done over the Internet.
    "I figured we could still go out and show homes," she said, but then realized she couldn't pull up listings or type up contracts without the Internet.
    "Thank goodness for smart phones," O'Rorke said, which helped for e-mail, although she was glad when full service was restored.
    "We persevered — we got through it," she said. "We're back to the real world of civilization and not in the dark ages."
    City of Tecumseh Information Technology Director Walt Rose said the outage also affected city hall operations.
    Rose said city hall offices, along with the police and fire departments, couldn't use web-based services. For police, that meant they had no connections for completing incident reports, while city utility workers couldn't read electric meters, he said.
    "We've taken it all for granted and it becomes second nature — like turning on the water," Rose said about everyday use of the Internet
    Rose said it was last Wednesday when Internet issues first began for the city, which continued until late Friday. Normal operations were back by Saturday, Rose said.
    Rose said there were sporadic times of service during the ordeal.
    "It was inconvenient but local officials worked as diligently as they could to correct the situation," Rose said.
    Tommy Arnold, director of the Pottawatomie County Enhanced 911 Center, said the outage affected operations there. While radio communications are the primary mode of dispatch communications, Arnold said back up text messages or e-mails sometimes are used, but were unavailable. And with two of three computer systems also being web-based for dispatchers to check driver licenses or conduct tag checks, Arnold said only one was working during the outage.
    While it was inconvenient, "it was nothing we couldn't work around," Arnold said.
    During the peak outage time, some customers wanting to purchase items at several businesses, including Family Dollar in Tecumseh, couldn't do so unless they had cash.
    With no Internet, the Family Dollar store manager reported they couldn't accept food stamps, credit or debit cards, or checks.
    Page 2 of 2 - And while the outage was causing headaches for some, many found solace in a familiar place — the Tecumseh Public Library — which still had its satellite service.
    Branch Manager Beth Lyle said they saw more people than usual coming in, many of them bringing their laptops for wireless access to check e-email.
    "We were thrilled to have people come in," Lyle said.
    Windstream issues were thought to be repaired by late Friday night and everything was operating smooth on Monday.
    "We do appreciate our customers' patience," Morris said.

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