United Fiber, headquartered in Savannah, has experienced four major internet and phone service outages, affecting over 11,500 customers in Northwest Missouri, within the last two weeks.
Darren Farnan, chief development officer of United Electric Cooperative, which is the parent company of United Fiber, identified the problem with the intermittent and shut-down service being an electronic component. The company had plans for maintenance of the back-up battery from 2 to 3 am, February 26. Other equipment including the main switch which directs all traffic will be arriving in the next two weeks that will allow the company to have a more stable back-up environment for its clients.
Farnan noted the northern portion of the company’s service area, which would be Nodaway County, has been the hardest hit with the outages; however the randomness of the outages has made it technically difficult for repair work to be consistent or complete.
Clients have been communicated with via email, since United Fiber has email contact information for most clients, as well as through Facebook. In the future, the company will be researching a text alert system for customer service, such as schools currently use to communicate with parents.
Farnan said most of United Fiber’s client’s who deal with emergency communications already have a contingency plan for these type of outages; however in a few selected instances, United Fiber has multiple feeds to the organization. This procedure is expensive.
He reaffirmed United Fiber’s growth into new communities, adding hundreds of customers, is not the culprit with this situation but instead the “main battery backup caused a voltage variance which impacted the back-up.”
“We realize this situation has affected companies, our friends and family,” concluded Farnan in the cellphone interview with Kay Wilson, NNL publisher. “We have had over seven years of a strong reputation. We will be investing many dollars for more equipment that will allow our service to be more sustainable.”