Power Failure Plagues AOL’s IM Service

America Online, Inc. is downplaying Thursday’s service problems that denied its 28 million users access to AOL’s Instant Messenger (IM). After a power outage swept through Northern Virginia early Thursday afternoon, AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham said “some services” were affected for a “very brief period.”

The Dulles, Va.-based AOL maintains data centers in Dulles and Reston, Va., that are equipped with backup power.

“It was a problem with Dominion Power (the area’s principal electric utility provider),” Graham told dc.internet.com. “On our end, users were able to access to access almost all our services. Only a couple services were affected and that was only for a very brief period.”

Graham said the features affected were the IM Buddy Window and the IM service itself. By Thursday night, all services were functioning properly and there have been no lingering effects on Friday. Graham also confirmed AOL had a service interruption Tuesday afternoon due to an internal switching problem.

Dominion Power had not returned press inquiries as of Friday afternoon.

AOL is a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL Time Warner .

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