NY - Staten Island telephone service interrupted

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Telephone service interrupted

October 13, 2000


At least 240 Verizon customers in Great Kills were unable to make any phone calls last night after a software problem occurred in the company's Staten Island Switching Center on Amboy Road.

"Software program changes were being made in the central office. Our systems are computerized, so we have regular changes and upgrades. Some of our customers' dial tones were affected because of this change," said Cliff Lee, a Verizon spokesman.

Lee added that the problem occurred early in the afternoon, but many customers did not discover something was wrong until they returned home from work in the early evening. By 7:30 p.m., Lee said, service to most customers had been restored.

"But we will be working throughout the night, and all service should be thoroughly restored by Friday morning," Lee said.

After receiving a number of complaints, Lee said technicians were sent to the problem locations yesterday afternoon to check for downed or severed cables, and found none.

Elverton, Steig, Leverett, and Colon avenues were the streets most affected by the computer problem. But because the computers don't recognize borders, not all the residents of those streets have had problems, Lee said.

Judy Schneider, a resident of Elverton Avenue, was annoyed by the inconvenience.

"Verizon's sophistication does not seem to be working well. I don't like to hear that I'm going to be without phone service. But it's a good thing that I'm able to take care of my own phone needs with my cell phone," said Ms. Schneider.

John Thompson, who lives on Leverett Avenue, complained late last night that he couldn't call a friend on Elverton because of the software glitch.

"Something weird is going on," he said. "I make a phone call and an operator recording comes on after one ring. By the fourth ring, the line goes busy."

Verizon officials drove around the Great Kills neighborhood last night assuring residents through a loud speaker that phone service would be restored.

On Steig Avenue, Thomas Turnbull decried the amount of time it took Verizon to restore service, which had been out all day.

"What I'm not happy about is the amount of time it took to get [a phone line]," Turnbull said. "They were on the corner all day until 4 o'clock. Then they just left."


-- Doris (reaper@pacifier.com), October 15, 2000

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