- Associated Press - Monday, June 6, 2016

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - An internet fiber cable cut that crippled the University of Kansas earlier this spring could cost more than a million dollars to repair, and the school’s Information Technology department is trying to find a way to prevent such an outage in the future.

The University Senate said in an end-of-year report that funds are needed to build a backup system after construction crews accidentally cut through a critical section of fiber on the afternoon of March 29.

That shut down internet access all over KU’s Lawrence campus as well as wireless internet at the Edwards Campus in Overland Park, the Lawrence Journal-World (https://bit.ly/1XwHuPL ) reported.

Buildings and departments that have converted landline phones to internet-based ones also lost service.

With connectivity to university servers out, KU websites and applications such as Blackboard also went down. So did state testing for thousands of K-12 students across more than a dozen states that rely on the KU-based Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation.

Most of the internet service was restored by 10 p.m., which university officials tout as a mammoth achievement given the severity of the cut. Internet access in several buildings took two to three more days to fix.

“Several of our staff worked around the clock to restore services; some didn’t even go home to see their family or shower those first couple of days,” KU Chief Information Officer Bob Lim wrote in a May memo to campus.

University officials aren’t naming the company whose workers cut the fiber, but they said KU will not be paying for repairs.

“The total cost will represent a combination of materials, staff time and other expenditures that are still being calculated,” university spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson said. “It remains to be determined who will pay for the repairs, though we know it will not be KU.”

The university’s IT department estimates a “seven-digit” cost to restore the fiber alone, the University Senate report said. It’s based on information from the school’s deputy technology officer, Eric Freeze.

The restored link is now 100 percent functional, Barcomb-Peterson said, but the university wants it replaced with a smooth run without splices, as it was before the cut.

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Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, https://www.ljworld.com


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