By Enric Volante
Thousands of Southern Arizona computer users found getting on the Internet was slow or impossible early Wednesday.

The problems affected government workers at the city of Tucson and University of Arizona, among other places, said Matthew Grossman, president of TeleKachina Inc., a consultant for local Internet service providers.

Internet connection provided by Internet Commerce & Communications, a Denver-based firm, failed about midnight, cutting off or reducing service by some local providers, he said.

People could not see Web pages at StarNet, the online service of the Arizona Daily Star, for about 10 hours, said David Reed, director of StarNet.

StarNet, which gets about 50,000 unique visitors on a Wednesday, was restored about 9:30 a.m. when StarNet arranged an Internet connection with a different company.

The UA, which has about 8,000 employees, told them Wednesday to expect 48 hours of slow Internet access while the university, too, finds new service, said spokeswoman Sharon Kha.

Th UA relied on its other Internet connection through Qwest, as it scrambled to replace IC&C, she said.

Attempts to reach IC&C officials in Denver and Tucson were unsuccessful.

Grossman said the problem began when IC&C, which in July filed for bankruptcy reorganization, sent a team Monday from Denver to Tucson to access its computer system. When the team tried to access a network router to retrieve passwords, the attempt failed and service crumbled.

“It was like trying to break into a building with a torch and you actually burn the building down,” he said.

He said service was reduced or knocked out for several local Internet providers, affecting customers as far as southern Pinal and Santa Cruz counties.

Contact Enric Volante at 573-4129 or at
[email protected].