INDEPENDENCE/MONMOUTH — Monmouth-Independence Network customers experienced outages in early December due to an equipment failure.

Minet officials declined to provide to the Itemizer-Observer the length of time of the outage and the number of customers affected.

“While we appreciate your interest, the questions you are asking relate to information internal to our operations,” Don Patton, Minet general manager said in a Dec. 19 email. “As such, we will not be commenting beyond the information already made available to you via email on (Friday), Dec. 14.”

They did communicate with their customers via Facebook during the outage.

On Dec. 1, Minet posted their “entire tech crew is heading out to work overnight to get services up as soon as possible.”

On Dec. 7, they posted that Minet “is aware that some subscribers are still affected by the recent outage caused by the failure of aging equipment. Equipment upgrades have been underway for several months, but the process is tedious and time-consuming. MINET has a small staff and everyone is and continues to work at full capacity. An international resource has been engaged to help us manage the issue.”

On Dec. 10, they posted “MINET has re-established service to the majority of our customers who had experienced an interruption. We have no delusions that there may be trailing issues as a result of the recent limited outage. They are being addressed, but if you have concerns with your service please contact Minet.”

On Dec. 14, they sent an email to the I-O that included some information about how the outage happened and how they were addressing the issue.

“At Minet, some parts of the system are over 10 years old,” the document states. “And while those parts are not relics, since Minet systems are serviced and tested regularly, it is nonetheless difficult for older equipment to keep pace with technology.”

According to the document, Minet staff and their board of directors has been “discussing their concerns about the long-term integrity of Minet systems, which operated on early generation BPON technology,” for more than five years.

It said upgrading from BPON to XGPON technology is necessary.

The document states the steps taken to implement this were to “stabilize Minet as a company,” “develop new sources of revenue” and “equip Minet for the future.”

“The work is done, the budget is in place, the plan is in operation, the equipment is in-house or on order, and conversion of individual houses and businesses to XGPON technology is underway,” according to the document. “But for a few days in early December, Minet was caught by circumstance. A nearly doubled customer base over five years put a strain on the aging system. The Board of Directors had authorized a plan for upgrades, but it proved to be less aggressive than needed. A significant portion of the BPON equipment failed.”

According the document, “a majority of the staff spent hours and extra hours communicating via phone and in person with every customer they could. Subscribers were kept informed about the progress of managing the outage. The framework of business hours fell away as work at Minet kept going. One hundred percent of the Minet staff had a role in mitigating the outage.”

Looking forward, according the document, Minet will “be reaching for ways to speed up the conversion to XGPON to ensure system integrity.”

The full text of the document was posted on the Minet Facebook page on Dec. 17.

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