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RealTime IT News

Telocity Blames Outages on Upgrade Problems

Network-wide problems affecting digital subscriber line service to Telocity Inc., customers since late Monday night are the result of difficulties installing software upgrades provided by Foundry Networks Inc., according to company officials on both sides Wednesday afternoon.

Since early this week, customer calls have been flooding Telocity's customer support lines, complaining of intermittent DSL connections and slow download speeds.

The problem lies in the software that runs the switching equipment architecture provided by Foundry, Telocity officials maintain.

Foundry is a San Jose-based company providing routing and switching equipment to many of the top high-tech firms in the nation including AOL Time Warner, AT&T WorldNet and most of the U.S. military.

Bill Chandler, Telocity spokesperson, said officials at his company have been in talks with Foundry executives since they found out the cause of the problem, but he didn't know when service would be restored.

"We have been working diligently with Foundry to solve the problem for our customers and we have raised the urgency of this to the highest levels at Foundry, all the way up to the CEO," Chandler said. "We're working just as fast as we can to correct this."

Chandler added that the ISP has already started contacting other equipment manufacturers so a long-term solution will be available if Foundry can't resolve the situation to Telocity's satisfaction.

Foundry executives downplayed the event, saying they have always had a rock-solid working relationship with the ISP, and that it is working hard to resolve the equipment issues.

"We have been running very stable with Telocity for a long time and these events have been unfortunately triggered by some additional new services and software upgrades," said Ken Cheng, Foundry vice president of marketing. "I think that's happened because of the configuration changes which happened to the main part of their network and that came at the same time as the software upgrade on our routers."

Cheng said that Foundry system upgrades happen periodically and normally run very smoothly, but was taking a little longer to resolve this time.

Telocity, as well as many other broadband ISPs, has been under the gun recently for DSL service-related problems. So much so, in fact, that the company sent out what may be an industry-first letter of apology to DSL customers recently.

The letter, signed by the ISP's customer support staff, addressed some of the recent problems and the measures it was incorporating to improve customer service.

"We are writing to apologize for the low levels of customer service you may have experienced during recent months, and to update you on steps we are taking to improve your experience as a Telocity customer."

In addition to beefing up its customer support staff, Telocity plans to set up chat and newsgroup-based forums for customers to talk directly to support staff. In addition to a forum, a Web-based billing and account information site will be set up letting customers view and submit changes online.

Officials said an email will be sent to customers when established. Until then, they said customers should fill out the online form to get a quick response to a question.

"We want you to know that, despite our recent track record, we are very committed to providing you with excellent customer service. Significant progress has already been made toward that goal, and we will continue to work around the clock for you, our valued members, until we have made good on our promise."