BOSTON (CBS) – A network failure is believed to be responsible for knocking out communication between two FAA satellite centers in the northeast for about two hours on Wednesday and forcing air traffic controllers to switch to back-up systems.

FAA spokesperson Jim Peters said the failure, initially believed to have been caused by a broken or severed cable, caused a disruption of some lines the FAA uses to communicate between the Boston TRACON center in Merrimack, NH and the Boston Center in Nashua.

TRACON is responsible for arriving flights in Boston and Boston Center handles high-altitude flights.

The FAA said the issue did not affect communication with pilots and that air traffic control systems switched to back-up radio frequencies without any interruption.

Massport spokesperson Phil Orlandella told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 that the back-up system, which is slower than the main system, did not cause any problems at Logan.

The issue also affected cell phone service in the area for a time.

Sprint confirmed that a small percentage of their customers were knocked off-line for a short time, but were back up and running.

AT&T confirmed that the outage affected their customers as well. They told WBZ-TV that damage to third party equipment, owned by Sidera, was responsible for the outage.

“Earlier today, some customers in a few cities in the New England market may have experienced issues with wireless service,” an AT&T spokesperson said in a statement. “AT&T worked with a third party access provider to quickly resolve the power-related issue, and our service is currently running normally.”

The Markley Group, a telecom and data center company in downtown Boston said on Wednesday that fiber optic company Sidera was responsible for the problem. A network server reportedly failed around 11:30 a.m.

Comments (12)
  1. S.Smith says:

    There were some major disruptions in phone service today involving some land-lines at least as far away as Peabody, with rumors of effects as far as Haverhill. This may also be as a result of this same failure, as the timing of both incidents coincides.

  2. Dougie Fresh says:

    I live near Exeter NH and have Verizon Wireless. We were not able to call our Vonage VOPI landline from our cell phones. No idea if the problem was VZW or Vonage VOIP but we were affected.

  3. E says:

    This problem was farther spread than you know. I work for a telecommunications company very close to the heart of the matter here and I will tell you this affected nearly all landlines in the greater New England region as well as many cellular carriers. We had customers affected as far as Portland, ME because of this problem.

    The root of the matter was a power issue in the building that Sidera was working on.

    1. X says:

      Do you know if Sidera was out there working on the power when the trouble occurred? Or was this an unscheduled event. Thanks

      1. E says:

        They were working on the power when it happened but it wasn’t a scheduled maintenance that we had been made aware of.

    2. Tommy says:

      My AT&T cell phone in Bangor, Maine was affected for hours.

      1. says:

        I was in Danbury CT and had no service for several hours….and when I called, no one knew what the issue was :<

  4. Jonesy says:

    I work in Portsmouth NH and we lost phone service at that time. It affected both wireless and landline. It was all AT&T and Verizon for us.

  5. gogo says:

    From what I’ve heard, the building power experienced a short-duration brownout. This caused Sidera’s power failure system to kick in and run on batteries. However, their generator never took over, and it was not switched back to street power after the brownout, which caused their batteries to run empty.

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