Phone outages annoy students

Students across campus experienced outages in the University phone service in the past few weeks and were unable to make outgoing local or long distance calls from their residence hall rooms.

I have problems dialing out sometimes, said sophomore Rachael Beekman, a Francis Scott Key Hall resident. I went out and bought a cell phone because (the phone system) is so unreliable.

One floor below Beekman, junior Karunya Manikonda said she experiences the same problems.

For two weeks straight, I wouldn’t be able to dial out, Manikonda said. It was very stressful. I wanted to call my parents and I wasn’t able to talk to them at all.

Manikonda said she tried calling AT&T, the parent company of the University’s telephone service provider – AT&T Campus Union Services – to report the problem.

When I called, they just told me that they’d reactivate my account, Manikonda said. But it never worked. My parents tried calling AT&T, too. They told them, `I don’t know what the problem is.’

University Telecommunications spokesman Chris McGill said he thinks the problem has been resolved. But officials could not pinpoint the cause of the outage.

There was a University-wide partial outage, he said. One of the long distance providers looped the telephone calls so the calls would come right back.

Residents received busy signals when they attempted to make outgoing calls using their ACUS billing code.

McGill said the problem persisted for one-and-a-half weeks and all systems had returned to normal status Friday.

But Mitchell Hall residents said they are still having phone problems.

I still get a busy signal all the time, freshman Violet Adjei said. I can’t call home. I can’t call my sister, my parents.

Adjei said she did not know what to do about the problem.

I didn’t know who to call, she said. I thought it would fix itself.

McGill said that his office was not aware until recently that residents experienced difficulties with the phone system.

Not one problem was reported, he said.

When he found out residents had trouble using campus phone lines, McGill said his office contacted the service providers to resolve the problem.

We continue to monitor the situation, he said.

Junior Gloria Agbettoh said she is not convinced the University is doing its job to give better service.

Just two days ago this happened, Agbettoh said Friday. It’s really annoying.

Students who experience problems with the University phone system should call the ISS Voice Help Desk at 994-5330 and select option one, McGill said.

Representatives for AT&T and ACUS could not be reached for comment.

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