DOBSON — Up to 7,000 Surry Telephone Membership Corporation customers were without service for several hours Thursday afternoon and evening after the company experienced a network outage, according to Melanie Senter, marketing manager.
The Surry County 911 service was not down, as was reported by some media sources.
Senter said the outage was the result of a “network failure.”
“Surry Telephone experienced a network outage just before 5 p.m., on Nov. 14,” she confirmed. “The network outage affected customers throughout its service area.”
Those areas included customers in Ararat, Westfield, Elkin, Lowgap and Pilot Mountain, according to county Emergency Services Director John Shelton.
During the outage, customers using the company’s land line phone service, Internet television and Internet service were affected.
Shelton said cell phone customers receiving service through Carolina West and Verizon were also affected.
Service was restored by around 1 a.m., Friday.
Senter said the company worked tirelessly to restore service during the outage.
“We had several employees in various positions of the company working during the outage,” she said. “We kept the network operations center staffed with local employees to answer repair calls… while several technicians were troubleshooting the cause of the outage.”
According to Shelton, customers using Surry Telephone service were unable to contact 911, but there were few problems reported as a result.
“People on Surry Telephone’s network didn’t have telephone access to call us, so we were giving people an alternate method to get to us by telling them that if they needed us they should go to their local fire department and have them get in touch with us, but the 911 service was never down.”
Shelton said emergency services officials were in close contact with the company during the outage.
“We worked with them all through the night,” he said.
Senter said everything will be done to ensure there isn’t a repeat of the outage.
“We apologize for the inconvenience that our customers experienced,” she said. “Surry Telephone will use the information gained during this outage to prevent and protect against future outages,” she said.
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.