Comcast suffers communications woes on one front, but sees new opportunities on another

Tom Paine

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Comcast blamed a data center outage for a business voice outage lasting at least five hours yesterday afternoon and evening, the Denver Post reported.

The location of the data center wasn't identified in the Post article, or any other source found so far.

The outage hit small businesses around the country hard, as many lost real business and couldn't communicate with customers.

Consumers are touchy about service interruptions, but small business customers are probably more so. It took Cable a long time to convince business customers that its phone service was reliable enough to switch from telco landlines. But some are probably doubting the wisdom of that switch today.

The Post quoted a Comcast spokesperson as saying:

“It’s significant, no doubt about it. When you’re a business and your phones go down, it’s problematic. We realize people rely on this critical communication and we are taking it seriously.”

The spokesperson added that about 950,000 business customers were effected, and that only voice was impacted.

Philly Tech News asked a Comcast representative about the location of the data center failure, but was told Comcast is not disclosing it. Comcast confirmed that the network carrying its business voice traffic is completely independent from its consumer network. Comcast said it is "performing a root cause analysis to make sure this doesn't happen again."

"Data center outage" often means a cloud software problem.

Update: This is the system that presumably crashed:

Comcast introduced Business VoiceEdge in 2012, based on the BroadSoft platform.

Separately, Comcast is making some significant personnel moves, including one suggesting an increased focus on wireless. Multichannel News cited sources as indicating that EVP Sales and Marketing Operations Greg Butz would be heading up a new mobile unit.

BTW, Comcast shares hit a new all time high a few days back:

Links 7/13: Netsuite in play?; Comcast cites data center power outage as phone failure cause