Internet customers disconnected for 48 hours


Words by Nichole Zangara / Utilities

Town of Mountain Village Internet customers were without service for 48 hours June 17 and 18.

What Happened?
The problem began June 10 after a bullet from a firearm pierced a portion of fiber owned by TriState Electric and leased by CenturyLink. Mountain Village contracts with CenturyLink to provide a 10 gigabit circuit from this fiber line. Moreover, it is this fiber line that Mountain Village uses to serve its 1,800 Internet customers.

According to CenturyLink, damage to the fiber line was causing imminent failure issues and TriState would need to repair it as soon as possible. To have the least impact on customers, TriState asked CenturyLink to move all of its customers off the damaged fiber line and reroute them to a CenturyLink fiber line temporarily. On June 17 shortly after midnight, CenturyLink began moving its customers, including Mountain Village and without notice, off the TriState fiber line and onto one of their own. During this transition, CenturyLink received a data communication warning that the reroute wasn’t going as planned, but the warning was ignored according to CenturyLink, and by 6:30 a.m. June 17 Mountain Village noticed Internet service was down. In turn, the Cable Department contacted CenturyLink to notify them of the problem. Immediately CenturyLink realized the warning they received early that morning was a much larger issue, and quickly deployed teams to Vail, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Mountain Village and Telluride to determine the location and cause of the problem. Over the course of the next 36 hours, CenturyLink had to re-engineer their circuit with a team of engineers and replace failing equipment, equipment that they were unaware was failing prior to rerouting customers. Three minutes before midnight on June 18, Mountain Village Internet Service was restored.

In a separate, but related incident, TriState moved forward with fixing the fiber line damaged by a bullet June 10. Around 3 p.m. TriState purposely cut the Verizon cell tower fiber in order to fix the original damaged fiber. This caused an interruption in cell service, which was completely restored by 10 p.m. Friday.

During the outage, Mountain Village utilized a number of tools to keep the public informed, depending on which tools residents and visitors could access at any particular time. Those tools included CodeRED text messages, Twitter and Facebook updates to the town’s pages and community pages, the town’s website, flyers, printed bulletins, and verbal face-to-face status updates.

Next Steps
Mountain Village has invited representative from CenturyLink to the July 21 Town Council meeting for a debriefing on this matter. The town will also receive a written report on the incident and will explore the possibility of a redundancy service plan. As for those affected by the outage, all residential and business Internet customers will receive a 20 percent credit on their bill from Mountain Village Cable. This global credit translates to $12,790.

In addition, CenturyLink moved Mountain Village back to the TriState fiber line in the early morning hours June 27 and without complications.

If you have any questions about the recent Internet outage, please contact Customer Service at (970) 369-0555.