GHENT–Last week county residents who use “fairpoint.net” email addresses experienced a major slowdown in receiving email. A Fairpoint representative said Monday, August 25 that the problem was fixed, though according to Fairpoint Regional PR Representative Angelynne Amores Beaudry, company technicians were still conducting tests to determine what caused the problem.
Ms. Beaudry said this week in a phone interview from Portland, Maine, that there was never an Internet service outage; the issue was a slowdown in the speed at which costumers received and sent email. “Emails weren’t lost,” she stressed, saying that on Wednesday, August 20, Fairpoint added extra servers to its email service “to bring it back up to normal.”
Frank Shannon, owner of Insight Computer Center in Chatham, said that he has had customers tell him they lost information in addition to the slowdown, and he believes an interruption in email service could happen again.
Fairpoint serves much of the eastern half of Columbia County with landline telephone, DSL and dial-up Internet service. Areas in and around Kinderhook, Hudson and Germantown are served by other providers.
He said that people do not have to use Fairpoint’s email addresses even if Fairpoint is their Internet provider. “I’m absolutely telling people to switch to Gmail,” he said of his customers who have complained to him about the fairpoint.net email slowdown. There is no additional cost involved for Fairpoint Internet service customers to use Gmail. The same is true of other major online firms, like Outlook, a service of Microsoft, and Yahoo.
Fairpoint Communications, which has its headquarters in Charlotte, NC, operates in 17 states as far west as Colorado and Washington state, although the bulk of its operations are in New England. Mr. Shannon said that his customers have become confused because Fairpoint has two different customer service websites, myfairpoint.net and fairpoint.net. Fairpoint’s service area covered by Myfairpoint.net is only for costumers in the West, he said. So customers who want to log back onto their Fairpoint email addresses should go to fairpoint.net.
Mr. Shannon also said that Fairpoint has absorbed other email providers over the years, meaning that some people still have legacy “taconic.net” and “berk.com” email address that actually are handled by the fairpont.net address.
Ms. Beaurdy, the Fairpoint spokeswoman, said the company did not know yet what caused the recent slow-down, but if residents are still having problems with their email they should reach out to company through the service number to deal a technician directly. According to the Fairpoint website, the contact service numbers are 866 984-2001 for residential and 866 984-3001 for small business.
Mr. Shannon said that he was told the solution the company used to fix last week’s problem was a temporary one, which leads him to believe, “We could have email interruptions down the road” as the company tries to find a permanent solution to the problem.
Fairpoint emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in 2011. On August 4 the company reported a net loss of $22.7 million for the second quarter of 2014 and $54.9 million year-to-date. But company CEO, Paul H. Sunu, said in a statement accompanying the earnings report, “We see positive signs in the business including continued growth in Ethernet revenue and broadband subscribers and we expect rate increases implemented in the second quarter and the return of seasonal customers to help support second half revenue.”