U’s national Internet link broken

by Allison Schlesinger

University Internet users couldn’t connect to sites outside the state Monday after a connection between the Twin Cities and Chicago failed at about 4 p.m.
Tom Barron, supervisor of the University’s Networking and Telecommunications Services, said this interruption of services meant students and staff on campus could use e-mail and reach World Wide Web sites at the school and most places in Minnesota, but could not reach addresses or sites in other states.
Barron said because all of the University’s fiber-optic lines are working properly, MCI Telecommunications Corp. took over the task of finding out what went wrong. Workers from the telecommunications company were testing circuits Wednesday night. Barron said they could not determine if a line was cut or if there was a problem with a computer somewhere in the system. Barron said he did not know when the problem would be fixed.
MCI officials said Wednesday evening that the problem may be caused by a bad circuit in the Twin Cities.
The University, an independent Internet provider, and the Minnesota Regional Network, a group of many Internet providers, connects with MCI’s fiber-optic lines in Downer’s Grove, Ill. This major hub connects the campus and other places around the state with other Internet providers around the nation. At first, MCI officials thought the heart of the problem was located there.
This loss of service is not the only instance when Internet connections have been interrupted. The University lost its Internet connection to the outside world for more than 30 hours in July when a fire melted a key fiber-optic cable under the Washington Avenue bridge. US West Communications employees worked around the clock to fix the problem that stopped campus users from connecting to sites outside the Twin Cities.