Gas Week

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ActewAGL, TransACT consider compo for small businesses among 20,000 users of failed Grapevine ISP

Posted by gasweek on 2 October, 2007

ActewAGL and TransACT would consider compensating small businesses among the 20,000 users of its Internet service provider Grapevine which has been out of action since Sunday morning, wrote John Thistleton, business editor, in The Canberra Times (26/9/2007, p.5).

Cause unknown: Following a scheduled upgrade to the mail server in TransACT House, Dickson, on Sunday morning, the system failed to re-boot. ActewAGL’s general manager, retail, Ivan Slavich, said the cause was still unknown. Ten technicians had been trying to fix the problem and commissioned a second server at 11.15am yesterday to begin clearing a huge backlog of emails. Slavich said the reason why the re-boot failed was still under investigation. “It could have been the mail server was still processing when it was taken off line on Sunday morning,” he said.

“Bloody nuisance” to customers: One user mailed The Canberra Times, saying, “How am I meant to run a small business. It is staggering that an ACT Government part-enterprise can have such a poorly maintained network.” A semi-retired scientist who relied on the email service to reference international publications said he was frustrated by not being able to find out the cause of the problem and extent of delays. A freelance journalist on a deadline for a Sydney-based defence magazine said the outage was a “bloody nuisance”. When he experienced problems last week, he’d been told a huge spam on an upstream server to Grapevine’s server was the culprit. Slavich confirmed the spam problem but said it was unrelated to Sunday’s problem.

Failure to inform: Grapevine customers could access the internet during the email outage but this system quickly became overloaded. “We are apologetic. We will think about what we can do to say sorry.” Slavich said information about the outage was put on phone recordings and the Grapevine website, but the media wasn’t used on Monday to inform users of what was happening. Forty customer service staff handling Grapevine inquiries and TransACT and internal IT issues were bombarded with calls.

The Canberra Times, 26/9/2007, p. 5

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