Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

February 20, 2014

Phone outage hampers county offices

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — Incoming phone service was down at the Navarro County courthouse and justice center almost all day Thursday, the result of an upgrade that took down the entire system.

The only phones working for incoming calls most of the day were the 9-1-1 lines at the sheriff’s office, which operate off a different system. Of course, the sheriff’s office also had electrical problems Thursday, as well, the result of a snapped power pole. They were able to use emergency generators to keep the jail and offices operating.

During the outage, employees could call out or call other offices within the courthouse, but no one could call in without getting an immediate busy signal.

“It’s something about getting the lines ready for the new system,” said County Judge H.M. Davenport Jr. “It’s part of the upgrades for the new phone system.”

The phones were out before 8 a.m. Thursday, and courthouse employees were only vaguely aware that it seemed really quiet in their offices with no ringing phones.

“We weren’t thinking much about it and then it started to be weird,” Davenport said. “The IT guys checked on it and checked with AT&T and found it was access point updates, and in the process they had taken them all down and were plugging them back in one at a time.”

The district attorney’s office was the first to go back on-line, and the rest trickled in throughout the afternoon.

Late last month, the county commissioners agreed to a new phone system through Avaya, which will provide phones through the Internet system. The county was also already in the process of getting new fiber optic lines, to speed up the Internet connections.

Thursday’s power outage affected around 800 customers at one point when a tall power pole near 19th Street and Second Avenue snapped near the top of the pole — likely the result of gusty winds in the area, an Oncor spokesman said. Crews were able to isolate the outage to a smaller area while repairs were made. Traffic on Second Avenue was blocked for a few hours during the incident.

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” to this article? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com