Days-long internet outage brings Portsmouth business to a standstill

Business News

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (WPRI) — The summer months are usually the busiest for Tom’s Lawn and Garden in Portsmouth.

But an ongoing internet outage brought business to a screeching halt.

Office Manager Debbie Perry tells 12 News they noticed something was wrong last Wednesday, when their phones suspiciously went silent.

“We were like, ‘wow, the phones stopped ringing. What happened? They must be broken,'” she recalled. “All of the phones said ‘no service.'”

Perry said the business relies on internet not only for phones and sales, but also for accessing a database for parts.

Without it, they’re at a standstill.

“We’re losing thousands and thousands of dollars, and it’s crazy,” she said. “We just got through COVID where people couldn’t come out, couldn’t come in, and they just think we’re closed because of COVID.”

At first, Perry was assured by Cox Communications that it was a neighborhood outage that would be remedied within a day or two. But nearly a week later, business at Tom’s Lawn and Garden remains stalled.

Perry reached out to 12 Responds for answers regarding the outage.

“It shouldn’t take six days,” she said. “We should have an answer, but we don’t have an answer.”

In an email, Director of Cox Communications Eric Wagner blamed the outage on a “node” in the network which “caused intermittent outages on June 18, potentially impacting less than 300 customers.”

Wagner said internet has since been restored to the vast majority of the affected customers, but technicians are continuing to monitor it.

Other businesses along East Main Road tell 12 News they were brought back online relatively quickly, but Perry said their issues weren’t addressed until Tuesday afternoon.

Wagner said the technician found water inside the business’ “tap,” which is the spot where the network enters the building, was “causing service level issues.”

“The tap plate was replaced and levels are within specifications,” Wagner said.

Perry said is working and Tom’s Lawn and Garden should be up and running by Wednesday, but they have more than a hundred voicemails to sift through.

Perry urged anyone who has left a voicemail at Tom’s Lawn and Garden recently to call back Wednesday. That way, she said, their message won’t be lost.

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