SD - Glitch Temporarily Cuts Canton Long-Distance Service : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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Glitch temporarily cuts off Canton long-distance

By RANDY HASCALL ARGUS LEADER published: 5/26/00

If you had trouble making a long-distance telephone call Wednesday to someone in Canton, chances are you have MCI long-distance service and the people you were calling have McLeod USA service.

An equipment problem was blocking service, Bill Heaston of McLeod said Thursday. It's now fixed. For at least four hours, MCI customers could not connect with McLeod customers in Canton.

Instead, callers would get a recorded message: "Due to technical difficulties, we are unable to complete your call at this time."

Many McLeod customers weren't aware of the problem because it affected only incoming phone service.

The equipment glitch should have disrupted service in other communities served by McLeod, but officials aren't aware of problems elsewhere, Heaston said.

The long-distance networking problem is being called part of the growing pains involved with an expanding telecommunications company.

"We're still taking baby steps," Heaston said.

An MCI WorldCom spokeswoman, Linda Laughlin, said that company sometimes leases cable and fiber lines from another carrier. In those cases, such as this one, it's the other company's responsibility to repair equipment and the network. "Getting back on service is the No. 1 goal," Laughlin said. "We work well together."

Canton residents and businesses have their choice of phone service from US West or McLeod, which formerly was DTG and is a new communications provider in town.

A number of customers, including most county offices, have switched to McLeod.

County Auditor Helen Nelson said one advantage with McLeod is that when its network is complete, phone calls to McLeod customers in other communities won't be charged as long-distance calls. That could result in a substantial savings for county government, she said.

Heaston said McLeod also is dealing with MCI in Luverne and Pipestone, Minn., on the issue of local number portability. That would allow people who want to keep their same phone number to do so when they move or change service providers. Now, that is allowed only if people stay in the same calling area with the same provider.

Reach reporter Randy Hascall at 331-2320 or


-- (, May 26, 2000

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