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Charter reports statewide outage of Internet service
Decatur interruptions isolated Friday

By Chris Paschenko 340-2442

A high-speed Internet-service provider, which recently announced rate increases, reported statewide outages Thursday and was working Friday to end interruptions throughout Decatur.

Charter Communications spokeswoman Lynn Coker in Birmingham said Friday that technicians corrected a third-party hardware glitch Thursday, that disrupted service statewide.

"Apparently what happened yesterday is a statewide provisioning system affected the state out of our corporate office in St. Louis," Coker said.

"It went down and caused all the modems to go down. It was a technical glitch in a system maintained by a third-party vendor."

After solving the statewide glitch, which left Charter customers, including Decatur municipal government, without service for 18 hours, technicians began working to restore service to 210 to 215 customers in the city.

The city's service was restored late Thursday, and three of the four Charter Internet customers contacted by The Daily on Friday morning also had their high-speed service restored.

"The only other time we've been down were hardware failures on our end," said Todd Russell, director of Information Systems for the city. "But from Charter's standpoint, it's been pretty reliable."

Decatur City Councilman Gary Hammon, who has Charter high-speed Internet at his home and business, said he experienced outages Thursday but had service Friday.

"My secretary went up to City Hall to purchase a temporary electrical service permit," Hammon said. "And she was telling me it was taking forever, because instead of doing it over the Internet, they had to do it by hand."

In January, Charter mailed letters to residential customers in Decatur, informing them of an Internet rate increase scheduled for March 1.

Coker said the increase, which only affects high-speed Internet accounts with 384 kilobytes per second and three megabytes per second download speeds, would offset escalating business costs.

Customers would see increases of $1 to $5 depending on packages, according to a rate card mailed with the letter.

"It's nominal in terms of value," Coker said. "And there is no change in some of the higher speeds. People see changes in how the industry does pricing, and it's all about bundling services ... What we're offering for prices is very competitive when you look at another provider and what they may offer."

Charter residential Internet customer Ran Pickell offered a witty response to the pending rate increase.

"I haven't noticed a quality increase to match it or additional services as far as that goes," Pickell said. "Typically when you charge more you think of a good reason to blame this on."

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