Amsterdam working to end partial Internet blackout for its departments

Two city departments are without Internet service and city officials don’t know how to solve the pro

Two city departments are without Internet service and city officials don’t know how to solve the problem.

The transportation garage and water treatment plant both lost Internet service Thursday.

Transportation Department Director Cheryl Scott said the phone and Internet service went out Thursday afternoon. She said she had to make several phone calls to City Hall and then to the provider to get a telephone line transferred using the garage’s fax line.

“We’re a transit department, people call us,” Scott said Tuesday.

Scott said the loss of Internet and especially of e-mail has impacted her ability to work. She said she is in the process of applying for stimulus funding and needs to fill out forms and other paperwork that come directly from the state via e-mail. “I can’t fill out anything unless I can access e-mail,” she said. “This is huge.”

Scott also files daily reports online using a state Department of Transportation database.

City officials are unsure how to solve the problem. Mayor Ann Thane said the trouble has occurred because the city switched its Internet and telephone provider from Choice One Communications to Cornerstone Internet Solutions. City Hall has Time Warner for Internet service so Thane said there has been no disruption there, but satellite buildings like the transportation garage and water filtration plant were supposed to be switched to the new provider.

Thane said she contacted Cornerstone on Tuesday and the company said the city owes it $11,711.

City Controller Heather Reynicke is in charge of the city’s computer system and network. She has been on vacation since last week but is expected to return to work today, and will work to resolve the problem, Thane said.

Mike Ryba, supervisor of the water filtration plant, said it hasn’t been a big deal to be without the Internet. The facility typically gets e-mail from the state or from the contractors working on the expansion project at the plant, but there hasn’t been anything urgent that the department couldn’t respond to. The department has not been able to do purchasing, however, Ryba said.

This isn’t the first time the plant has been temporarily without Internet service, Ryba said.

“It’s always gone through the Controller’s Office as long as I’ve been working here. They’re shopping around for the best buy, and we’re not on the same loop as City Hall so when they do changes we don’t know about it,” he said.

A technician was supposed to hook up Internet service to the plant Monday, Ryba said, but never came. He said they got a call Tuesday morning saying a technician would be there around 2 p.m. Tuesday, but by 3:30 p.m. no one had showed up.

Categories: Schenectady County

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