Broadband outages in Southern Minnesota yesterday (Jan 6, 2021): the case for redundancy

Yesterday was a strange day with what I heard one reporter call the “tumult” at the US Capitol. Here in St Paul, that was accompanied with some strange technology false alarms. At 1pm, we had the monthly testing of emergency sirens. Ill-timed but most of us remembered before going too grey. Then an amber alert later in the afternoon hit everyone’s phone and made us jump. (The lost child has been recovered.) However in other parts of the state, technology was failing in a bigger way.

Apparently there was a fiber backbone fiber cut between MN and WI that impacted a number of areas including Mazomanie, WI and Duluth, MN. A discussion on the Outages discussion list details what happened. Sounds like the cut happened while someone was doing underground utility work. Customers experienced issues and reported them. Technicians found and fixed the problem but it took a few hours. The discussion happens over a 6-hour space of time, which might indicate that was likely the (worst case) extent of the outage.

Stuff happens and it takes a minute to fix stuff; this is not a condemnation of any provider. Rather, I think this this makes the case for redundancy. A lot happened in our world from 1pm to 7pm yesterday – can you imagine losing connectivity from that time? Politics, security, safety are foremost in our minds this month – I just wanted to remind folks of the role technology plans in keeping informed and being able to communicate and engage.

This entry was posted in MN, Policy, Security by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s