Internet, e-mail access interrupted early Tuesday

Mechanical problems at an off-campus Information Technology Services data center Tuesday morning caused disruptions to Internet, Blackboard, phone and USC e-mail access across campus.

“At approximately 7:45 a.m., an electrical problem in the university’s data center triggered the center’s fire suppression system and shut down the supply of power to multiple IT systems,” said ITS Director of Communications and Marketing Kevin Durkin. “The fire department was immediately notified and the building was evacuated.”

Those who called ITS asking for assistance heard a recording acknowledging that there had been issues Tuesday morning.

“This is Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 9:55 a.m. We are experiencing network outages and major system failures, including e-mail and website features. We have no ETA at this time,” the recording said.

Most issues seemed to be resolved by 1 p.m., though some students still reported problems getting online.

“As of this moment, e-mail, phone, Blackboard and most website service, including the main USC website services, have been restored and users can now connect to the wired network,” Durkin said at 1:15 p.m. “Wireless connectivity is available but some users may experience a delay or time-out.”

Michelle Lim, a sophomore majoring in archaeology and narrative studies, said not having Internet access inconvenienced her in a geology class at 12:30 p.m., but the class was able to get online 15 minutes later.

“I was in class and we had to download a data file from Blackboard, but it was down,” Lim said. “We normally download the file at the beginning of class, but we started late today.”

Some students said they had trouble turning in homework.

“Only three of the 11 students in my Italian class were able to do their homework,” said Chris Benassi, a sophomore majoring in biological sciences.

ITS has been working to improve wireless coverage on campus, although the USC network sometimes varies in strength.

“I came to campus to get work done this morning, but I couldn’t because the Internet was down,” said Michelle Ragsdale, a senior majoring in linguistics and psychology. “It was annoying, but it wasn’t the end of the world. I knew the Internet would be back eventually.”