Verizon subscribers were left without Internet and some without phone service during much of the business day Monday in an outage Verizon officials said they could not identify, but occurred alongside outages in a handful of Merrimack Valley communities tied to a Lawrence fire.
Outages on the Cape left a number of businesses unable to complete everyday tasks, to return phone calls and even to communicate with Verizon-using clients.
Stan Collinson, who owns Gaybrook Garage in Essex, said he realized the shop was without its Verizon-powered internet when the first customer came in for an inspection sticker about 8 a.m. The mechanics use internet to retrieve the stickers, so, Collinson said, the garage had to turn customers away.
“It very well could be sales lost if people don’t come back,” Collinson said. “To put it mildly, it’s an inconvenience to our customers and to us.”
In Lawrence, an outdoor mattress fire under the city’s Central Bridge just after midnight Monday, ravaging internet lines to Andover, North Andover, Lawrence, Methuen, Littleton, North Reading and Tewksbury.
A Verizon spokeman did not return calls to offer an explanation for the Cape Ann outages, and no one could confirm whether the service losses were directly related .
At Gaybrook Garage, Collinson said Verizon representatives had told the business that its Internet service would be restored by noon. But, at about 4 p.m. he said, “Well, that didn’t come true — we’re still waiting.”
Besides inspections, car shops use the Internet in diagnostic work on vehicles. Collinson said Gaybrook has five or six computers up and running all day.
“We’re more dependent on these devices than we ever were,” Collinson said.
Meanwhile, office staffers at the Rockport schools — which open today for the new school year — struggled throughout Monday with phones that refused to place some calls outside of the building, according to Ingrid Keating, the executive assistant to Rockport Superintendent of Schools Robert Liebow.
“I’m concerned people are expecting calls back, and we can’t get calls back to them at the moment,” Keating said.
If the problem persists today, Keating said, the school will likely put out information to inform parents of the issue.
At the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, senior vice president Peter Webber said that, though it uses a different Internet provider and had a signal all day, business was still affected by the outage as members attempted to finalize plans for this weekend’s Schooner Fest.
Committee members, businesses and individuals who subscribe to Verizon have been unable to open committee emails and review documents, Webber said.
“We’ve been able to take care of things at our end because we’re not a customer of Verizon. But, we’ve gotten feedback from committee members that have Verizon,” Webber said.
“It’s been more of a nuisance, I think, and a frustration for people,” he said, “just not being able to get on the internet and communicate.”
Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at email@example.com.