On Saturday, Feb. 3, Grand County residents and businesses who use Xfinity for internet service experienced a countywide outage that lasted almost 24 hours and impacted approximately 20,000 customers. The outage was reportedly caused by network damage due to snowplowing operations.
The outage took place during the seventh annual Grand Lake Pond Hockey Classic where 70 teams participated. Brian Blumenfeld, founder and commissioner of the hockey event, said that the outage fit in with the event’s “culture.”
“The whole culture of the Grand Lake Pond Hockey Classic is 20th century redneck hockey, which internet and cell phones have no part in, so the outage went right along with that!” Blumenfeld said.
However, businesses in Grand Lake who were impacted by the internet outage were unable to perform like normal. Card readers were out of commission meaning that many businesses were only able to accept cash. Some businesses offered to write down card numbers to be run later when services were back up, but that made some customers uneasy.
El Pacifico Pho in Grand Lake shared that many customers were wary of leaving their card information. During the winter season El Pacifico relies on special events, and the business was looking forward to the pond hockey tournament bringing them a busy day.
“The day unfolded with irritated customers, no access to cash or enough ATMs. In today’s world people don’t carry cash anymore and most rather use a credit card than debit cards as they feel more protected if a hack gets encountered. As result, no one was willing for us to take their information to run the charge once the internet service was reinstated but also indicated there were no ATMs available or those had ran out of cash,” a representative from El Pacifico Pho said.
The representative from El Pacifico Pho highlighted how integral having internet is to running a business. Without internet there is no music, TV, phone systems, payment systems and some equipment can’t work without being connected online.
Blumenfeld acknowledged the impact that the internet outage had on local businesses.
“Of course we were not happy with the impact on vendors and town businesses, who I am sure lost out on a chunk of profits from only being able to accept cash on the busiest Saturday of the winter. And so much of what the hockey tournament is about is bringing much needed winter activity/revenue to the town,” Blumenfeld said.
Businesses in other parts of the county also struggled with maintaining their day to day normalcy. Executive Director of the Fraser Valley Recreation District Scott Ledin said that both the Grand Park Community Recreation Center and The Foundry Cinema & Bowl had trouble operating without internet.
“The internet outage had a pretty significant financial impact at both the Grand Park Community Recreation Center and The Foundry Cinema & Bowl on Saturday. Pretty challenging for staff from a customer service perspective as well,” Ledin said.
How did residents spend their day without internet?
Many Grand County residents found themselves doing something different from their normal day-to-day during their time without internet.
Eli Zuckerman spent the outage doing chores and even joked that the internet outage should be “a monthly or weekly thing.”
Aylene McCallum said that her family “definitely missed having the internet” but “made the most of the time by playing, ‘Name That Tune’ with our downloaded songs from Spotify, coloring in adult coloring books and playing family Tetris on an old Sega system.”
Many other residents read books, watched movies, shoveled snow, played card games or simply went to bed early.
Tyler Fields is your internet guru, delving into the latest trends, developments, and issues shaping the online world. With a focus on internet culture, cybersecurity, and emerging technologies, Tyler keeps readers informed about the dynamic landscape of the internet and its impact on our digital lives.