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Phone outage impacts East TN businesses

11:30 PM, Apr 29, 2013   |    comments
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Businesses across the country were affected by a widespread phone outage Monday.

Windstream, a national internet and telephone provider based in Arkansas, said the outage occurred around 11:30 a.m.  It primarily impacted long-distance and toll free call processing.

Spokesperson Scott Morris said some local inbound and outbound calling might have been disrupted too.

"We understand it's an imposition and inconvenience to our customers, we certainly apologize for that and appreciate their patience," Morris said.

The exact cause of the of the problem has not been determined.

Thousands of people in states across the country were affected by the problem.

South Central Media, owner of radio stations like B97.5 and 103.5 WIMZ, said outage affected the companies ability to field calls for its contests.

"Our listeners know when they can't call in, they can't win money," said Kevin Duplantis, director of engineering with South Central Media.

The outage also affected Second Harvest Food Bank in Maryville.  The food bank's executive director, Elaine Streno, said her non-profit will even consider changing providers.

"Yes, we need to be there for the needy of East Tennessee," Streno said.

Morris said most of the outage was corrected around 5 p.m.  He said the company's high-speed Internet access and digital television services weren't affected.

Windstream sells phone service to 1.8 million households in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Most of those customers live in rural areas. Windstream also has about 638,000 business customers, including some in major cities.

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