Verizon-FairPoint e-mail transition hits an early snag

They’re called “migration issues” in tech-speak, but the people whose e-mail failed this weekend may have used different terminology.

“This morning I sent one of my friends a reply to his latest e-mail, which he had sent yesterday from his @verizon.net system, and the message bounced right back, with the following message: Your message cannot be delivered to the following recipients,” wrote Brad Seabury of Hudson in an e-mail, sent in response to a Telegraph query.

“Bounced right back” is human-speak for what happened from those “migration issues.”

For reasons that are not yet clear, some of the hundreds of thousands of e-mail addresses that end in “verizon.net” did not properly get forwarded to addresses that end in “myfairpoint.net,” as they should have. This led to many problems.

At noon on Monday, for example, Rivier College’s Internet Technology department sent out an advisory, saying in part: “We have received numerous calls regarding problems with email not being received by folks with Verizon.net email addresses. . . . There is nothing that IT at Rivier College can do about this. I tried personally to call their Internet Help line and the phone rang until it simply disconnected.”

When The Telegraph posted a breaking-news blog item about this Monday afternoon, a dozen comments, most of them complaints, were quickly added by readers.

FairPoint spokeswoman Jill Wurm said Monday afternoon that extra people had been added to the company’s support desk, and a live chat link had been placed on the company home page.

She said the company wasn’t sure how many of the roughly 285,000 customers with Verizon.net addresses were affected, but that no geographic or other pattern could be found.

“It seems to be a small percentage of customers, but we recognize that even a small percentage is . . . a problem for people,” she said.

Wurm said the company was not aware of any issues involving telephone-related services such as directory assistance.

The e-mail issue apparently involved both data about customers and router information, used to switch Internet messages.

Since it purchased Verizon’s landlines in March 2008, FairPoint has been operating partly with that company’s hardware and software, and partly on its own. At midnight on Friday, Jan. 30, it switched over entirely to its own systems.

Neither the state consumer advocate’s office nor the Public Utilities Commission reported any major issues as of Monday from the switchover, but there were definitely some problems.

Customers on the fiber-optic service formerly known as FiOS, called FAST by FairPoint, lost all Internet connection for several hours early Saturday, according to the company, and to several customers who participate in The Telegraph’s FairPoint Watch program and responded to requests for their experiences.

“(Saturday) a.m. there was no service. On calling Fairpoint a prerecorded message announced that Fairpoint was aware of problem with FiOS and did not know when service would resume. Service did resume about noon,” wrote Chris Eliades of Nashua.

Other issues also were listed, including a difficulty transitioning Web pages.

“My Verizon.net pages can still be viewed, but not updated. My fairpoint.net pages do not exist yet and of course the verizon.net pages are not redirecting to myfairpoint.net pages,” wrote Don Dillaby of Nashua.

Comments on The Telegraph’s site and other forums, including one devoted to the FairPoint transition at DSLreports.com, noted that the problem was particularly bad for businesses that depend on “Verizon.net” addresses.

“I know this is all new and we should expect glitches,” wrote Michael Viveiros of Nashua, a FairPoint Watch member, in response to The Telegraph’s query. “I am currently trying to figure out if anyone can help me – (it’s) not on the Web mail help page or search.”