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Forum News Service, Published September 11 2013

Midcontinent equipment failure causes several ND cities to lose local stations

GRAND FORKS - An equipment failure in West Fargo temporarily knocked local broadcast stations off Midcontinent cable systems in several North Dakota cities for hours Wednesday morning, a Midcontinent Communications spokesman said.

The outage affected service in Grand Forks, Devils Lake, West Fargo and Bismarck, according to Tom Simmons, Midco’s senior vice president for public policy in Sioux Falls, S.D.

He said the problem was first detected shortly before 7 a.m. and had been largely fixed before noon, though “there are still some channels that are tiling a bit.” In tiling, the digital picture is disrupted by occasional rippling of small squares.

Simmons said Midcontinent crews installed “a work-around solution” to get the channels back until the faulty equipment could be replaced.

He said such equipment failures happen occasionally “but we usually can identify these problems when we’re doing maintenance runs” and customers don’t notice a disruption.