Optic cable severed during snowstorm

Access to Moodle, MyLane, student email at risk during future storms

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During the last week of February, Lane County was overcome by a record amount of snow. By the end of it all, nearly ten inches of snow had fallen at the Eugene Airport making this the second largest snowfall in recorded Eugene history.

While many in their private residences were without power or internet for a few days or even weeks, many still relied on their mobile phones to access Moodle and other mobile Lane Community College applications.

That was until nearly everything crashed.

All that was left was a sliver of LCC’s internet services that, on Feb. 27, alerted users that a downed tree had severed the school’s fiber-optic line.

Every student with a hybrid or online course was immediately affected as services were down for nearly a week. Once restored, many instructors simply got rid of whatever was on the schedule during that time.

For some, the first obvious thought that came to mind was, “Why are LCC’s fiber optic lines not underground?”

To answer that question, LCC’s lead electrician Carl Hassman said that “the fiber optic line is underground once it enters main campus” and that “the utility [department] has the responsibility for the line feeding in.”

When asked for comment regarding the downed tree or fiber-optic line, The Torch did not get a response back from the LCC’s groundskeeping department.

However, as the fiber-optic line is above-ground outside of school grounds, Hassman said that he “could not say if it is a requirement or a decision, and who would have made that, to determine [what would happen to the cable in that area.]”

An employee of Eugene Water & Electric Board could neither officially “confirm or deny” that they were responsible for that line.

Fortunately, it is unlikely that Eugene will see a storm like this in the near future. However, if it were to happen, Hassman explained that “electrically [for LCC], there are two incoming main power feeders, and in the event that neither one works, we have a generator to back-up the servers and systems, and that is unlikely to have all three fail.”

But that doesn’t quite explain why Moodle was down. If there was more than one server, what was the problem?

Check back in the Spring for more reporting from James Croxton.