Telephone glitch is a hang-up in Florida : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Telephone glitch is a hang-up By Rich McKay of The Sentinel Staff

Published in The Orlando Sentinel on August 18, 2000

DEBARY -- Beeep. Beeep. Beeep.

Eighty-thousand times, people dialed, redialed and dialed yet again -- and even again -- on Thursday, only to be greeted with a busy signal.

That`s 80,000 calls in Orange City, DeLand and DeBary, whose combined population tops out at just 37,000 people.

Then there was a spinoff problem: Cell phone systems became logjammed, too.

"All circuits are busy" was the recorded message played uncounted times in west Volusia.

It`s all because some road workers on U.S. Highway 17-92 piled too much dirt atop an underground switching station near BellSouth in DeBary about 11:30 a.m., said Larry Strickler, a BellSouth spokesman.

"It was a freak accident sort of thing," he said, after first denying his company had had a problem.

The glitch prevented most calls from going between callers in Orange City, DeLand and DeBary. But people could call any other city. And they could call within their own city.

Government and businesses were left hanging on the line for most of the day, but the glitch was expected to be 100 percent repaired before nightfall, Stickler said.

The most seriously affected was Florida Hospital-Fish Memorial in Orange City. But doctors and workers coped, said Becky Neiman, a spokeswoman.

Doctors and staff members used cell phones and pagers to communicate between the affected cities, she said.

"It was an inconvenience and a disruption, but we managed," she said.

-- Martin Thompson (, August 20, 2000

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