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December 20, 2013

Internet Outage Hurts Christmas Sales in Pennsylvania Town

By David Delony, Contributing Writer

It’s an understatement to say that businesses rely on the Internet, but as the town of Lititz, Pennsylvania, found out, when the Internet stops, the whole town can stop, according to Lancaster Online.

Windstream (News - Alert) customers in Lititz, billed as “The World’s Coolest Small Town,” suffered a major outage on one of the crucial shopping days before Christmas last weekend.

For Lisa Stoner, assistant manager at the Wilbur Chocolate Co., the lost Internet connection meant more than frustration, but lost business.

"We can't really count the amount of sales we lost,” she told Lancaster Online. Without an Internet connection, the store was unable to ring up credit and debit card purchases. Customers without cash simply abandoned their carts at the register, an unthinkable proposition for serious chocoholics.

Other local businesses were less severely affected. Aaron’s Books had a low-tech solution until the outage was resolved with what sales manager Ruth Love said was “an old sliding-style credit card machine.”

"It was just very inconvenient. It made everything slow, and it held things up for our customers ... but I'm not sure we lost any sales,” Love said.

Windstream said that the issue was due to a software problem with a router starting on a Friday evening and the company said it was resolved overnight. Customers who were still having problems might have needed to restart their modems.

A misconfigured router by itself can cause a headache for carriers and customers, but an even worse problem is having no power at all. Fortunately, carriers can choose from a number of UPS products from companies like Minuteman that can help them stay up even if their power goes down. Minuteman offers a number of products for data centers that can protect servers, routers and other delicate equipment in the machine room from power fluctuations, including battery backup and surge protection.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson
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