Phone woes puzzle city officials

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:44 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 6, 2008

Trouble with the telephone service at two city government departments continues to puzzle officials who have been trying to solve the problem for more than a week.

Beginning 10 days ago, calls to the Columbia Water and Light and Public Works departments have been dropped intermittently during conversations.

“My experience is that I’ll get through and talk for a little bit, but then the phone basically goes dead,” Water and Light spokeswoman Connie Kacprowicz said.

The problem affects only incoming calls to the Public Works Operations Center at the Grissum Building, 1313 Lakeview Ave., and calls to the Municipal Power Plant and electric distribution building on Business Loop 70 East.

Initially, every call at all three locations would be dropped at once, suggesting that fiber-optic modems were resetting themselves. To fix this, the city replaced that part of the phone system, investing $3,000. The replacement fixed that element of the problem, yet others persist. Now, instead of the entire line dropping at once, individual calls are dropped at random.

Information Services Director Robert Simms said the city is trying to find the cause of the problem with the help of local support providers CenturyTel and Nortel. The city tried Monday to reboot the entire phone system. They had yet to learn early Monday evening whether that strategy worked.

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