Beginning at the end of last week thousands of Cox Cable Internet customers experienced a serious degradation of services. According to Mark Geiger, Director of Network Operation for Cox, the issue began with circuits on the AT&T fiber line that is our one link to the rest of the the Network. It’s unclear if AT&T customers were similarly affected. I haven’t heard of any issues with DSL service. While the circuits issue was eventually cleared up on AT&T’s end, problems continued with Cox’s service. According to Geiger, “On Sunday and Monday, the problem changed to a load balancing issue with our MLS. Whether it was related to the circuit issues and having to bounce the ports or not, I can not directly correlate.” I think he is being overly circumspect and generous. The coincidence of the circuit issues and the subsequent internal problems make it hard to imagine they aren’t related.

However, the lesson of this incident is simply to underscore the obvious: Shit happens. Whether it’s a backhoe cutting a line or a software glitch, hardware failure or a human error, eventually something will have negative effects on our single fiber connection to the global telecommunications system. If we had that second line in place another circuit issue on one line would allow service providers to automatically switch to the reliable line.

This is not just a convenience to keep our web surfing happy. This is a major economic, safety and security issue for the county. Redundancy for our region is an imperative.

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