IT blames Verizon for phone problems

USF’s telephone service was temporarily crippled Tuesday afternoon because of an apparent circuit error.

The error affected telephone users attempting to call a campus number from an off-campus line. Outgoing calls and campus-to-campus calls were unaffected by the problem.

Kathleen Nidasio, assistant director for telecommunications in Information Technologies, which is responsible for campus phone service, said she discovered the problem herself at about 3 p.m.

“The trouble was first noted when I tried to call back to the campus and could not get through,” Nidasio said. “I contacted one of my staff and said we need to check this out.”

Nidasio said with 68 incoming circuits, USF has a VIP account with Verizon. She said she contacted the VIP trouble line, and the problem was solved at about 6:15 p.m.

Nidasio said the error occurred in the Verizon central office. She said when a call is placed to either a 974 or 905 campus number, Verizon drops the first two digits from the number during the translation process and sends the remaining five digits to the campus switchboard. Apparently, she said, a change had been made causing only four digits to be sent from the Verizon central office, which resulted in the error.

Nidasio said her main concern was finding a solution to the problem, and that today she will contact Verizon and try to determine why the problem occurred.

“We at USF, we did nothing to our (switchboard), it was all in the (Verizon) central office,” she said. “I have my follow-up (today) to ask Verizon what happened and why we were out of service for three hours.”

Nidasio said she believes the problem occurred when someone changed the circuits at the Verizon central office.

“Apparently some technician made some minor change. Whether he was directed to or not (I don’t know),” she said.During the loss of service, there was some confusion among Verizon representatives as to who was responsible for the situation. Bob Alec, who works in Verizon public affairs, said most of the circuitry at USF is owned by the university. He reported at 6:43 p.m., after service was restored, that he knew of no trouble in the Verizon system.

“We’ve checked every possible site that we can check to see if any kind of trouble report was called in or if we had anyone on site,” Alec said.

Alec said he had talked to the Verizon central office, and he knew of no trouble.

“Anything that’s happening out of the university is a product of what’s happening on site there with the university’s own equipment and its own network,” he said. “It’s quite possible that (USF) maintenance people don’t know that, but that’s the case.”Nidasio said that USF did file a trouble report with Verizon, which was rescinded once the problem was solved.

“I have a senior account manager that the university works with at Verizon, and I can guarantee you I was in contact with him,” she said.

Nidasio said Alec would not know of the problem unless he called the VIP trouble office.

“I can assure you Verizon is going to say it was not their problem,” she said. “The most important thing for me to do (Tuesday) was get the issue resolved. The politics part of it is to be resolved when I get into the office (today).”

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