Ops Plow Past Front Range Snow


Denver— Cable providers along Colorado's Front Range managed for the most part to keep the headends humming, despite a spring storm that covered the region in a cement-like snow blanket from three to more than six feet deep.

The storm utterly halted transportation and business in metropolitan Denver and surrounding communities, but service wasn't disrupted for the bulk of cable customers.

At the height of the storm last week, Comcast Corp. — with about 680,000 customers in the region — had service outages affecting some 15,000 cable customers, 7,500 telephony subscribers and 1,600 data customers, according to spokes-woman Jeannine Hansen.

The bulk of those outages were blamed on power losses, as snow-laden trees snapped, taking electric lines down with them.

Comcast's own employees also struggled with the deep drifts, with a skeleton crew manning the regional call center. That forced Comcast to reroute service calls to out-of-state centers.

As the snow thickened on March 18, Comcast also decided to reschedule the rest of the week's installation appointments.

When the snow finally stopped on Thursday, Comcast sent crews out in four-wheel-drive trucks to check on problem nodes in neighborhoods, "and they are working as hard as they can to restore service," Hansen said.

By Friday, the number of customers without service had been whittled down to 3,200 video subscribers, 1,200 telephony homes and 450 data customers.

Hansen said the numbers could be smaller than that, since they presumed all of the services were offline in affected nodes.

The picture was better for fellow MSO Adelphia Communications Corp., which has a system in Colorado Springs, Colo., and in surrounding areas. The MSO recently completed plant upgrades there, adding fiber optics and new maintenance systems. As a result, Adelphia was "99.99 percent operational," according to a spokesman.