Spectrum service outages forced businesses to find workarounds

SAN ANTONIO – After Beryl-related internet outages reached San Antonio Tuesday, local businesses had to find workarounds to keep operating and to keep getting paid.

Spectrum confirmed Tuesday that “a third-party infrastructure issue” caused by the storm was behind service outages around Texas. The website Down Detector showed a spike in reported outages on Tuesday, but the numbers were back down close to normal on Wednesday.

Pets First Veterinary Center didn’t have the option of closing when its internet and voice over internet protocol (VOIP) phones went down Tuesday. As an animal hospital, it had to stay open.

Practice Manager Jen Hernandez said their team was able to divert their phone lines onto cell phones. However, veterinarians weren’t able to update pets’ files on their online system, and the center had to put off collecting payments since they couldn’t process credit cards without the Internet either.

“We’re like, ‘okay, we’ll just – honor system, we’ll take it tomorrow,’” Hernandez said.

Sapore’s Pizza owner Giuseppe Buiano didn’t have that option. Pizza is a “money up front” sort of business, and Buiano had to watch some of his cashless customers leave when they learned their debit and credit cards wouldn’t work.

“Didn’t count, but a lot of customers that went away,” Buiano said.

Eventually, he figured out a workaround. Customers could still use their cards to pay for “carryout” orders by going through the pizzeria’s website on their cell phones.

By the time KSAT visited on Wednesday, both businesses’ internet and phone service were back up. However, Hernandez was left surprised at how easily modern methods of business could crumble.

“It’s kind of cool that I did come from that generation – to kind of know what it was without it. So I understand how it works, but it’s a little scary to me, and I actually kind of lost sleep about it,” Hernandez said. “Not about this business; I know we’re protected. But if this were to happen on a grander scale, we’d be in a lot of trouble.”

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