The problem that caused WOW Internet service disruptions on Saturday and Sunday has been identified and repaired, a spokesman for the company said.
Josh Hadden-Leggett, WOW corporate communications manager, said service to customers in the Lawrence area was disrupted Sunday starting about 2 p.m. The severed line that caused the outage was repaired by about 8:30 p.m. Some customers saw service restored at that time, but others were brought back online throughout the evening until 11 p.m. as WOW systems were being reconfigured, he said.
Sunday’s outage followed a more than four-hour service disruption on Saturday.
The severed cable was a data line, so service disruption was limited to the internet and voice mail, Hadden-Leggett said. It did not disrupt regular phone lines or cable television.
WOW is offering refunds for the time customers were without service, Hadden-Leggett said.
The problems were traced to the cable line of Level 3 Communications, one of the companies WOW contracts to bring service to Lawrence, Hadden-Leggett said. Water and ice infiltrated the conduit that encloses the cable at a bridge, severing the fiber line inside, he said. A repair crew thought it addressed the issue Saturday, but the same problem happened again Sunday at the same place, he said.
The outage inconvenienced residents and businesses throughout Lawrence. Valerie Taylor, marketing manager for The Merc, said the store was without internet for about an hour Saturday before its backup service was activated. During that time, the store was unable to process credit or debit cards and could only take cash or checks. That required the store to return a few customers’ intended purchases to shelves, she said.
The store was able to quickly switch to its backup provider Sunday, Taylor said.
Retailers without backup arrangements weren’t so fortunate. Sarah Soderling, general manger of Limestone Pizza on Massachusetts Street, said the store wrote out charge slips Saturday for customers paying with debit or credit cards. It was a workable system, but many customers, especially younger ones, were inexperienced with it, she said.
“Customers didn’t understand the process of giving card information on a piece of paper,” she said. “Some were uncomfortable about sharing card information, as they should be.”
Limestone went through 100 charge slips on Saturday and ran out of the slips when the internet went down Sunday, Soderling said. With that, she made the decision to close the restaurant at 5:30 p.m. instead of its traditional 8 p.m. closing time.
The outage might not have cost Limestone business, but it slowed the rate of business, Soderling said. The inconvenience continued for Limestone when employees entered slips manually for processing, she said. The processor also adds a fee for all manually entered card charges, she said.