Central Offices: FairPoint- Derry, New Hampshire

Today is my thirtieth birthday (technically I am still twenty nine till 11:10 PM Eastern Time, however the year I was born was with the old DST rules, so technically I won’t be turning 30 till 12:10 tomorrow morning the 13th.)

Regardless I was happening to visit my former stomping ground, where I used to live in the nearby town. I was born in said town thirty years ago, so for kicks we drove the route my grandmother brought my mother to the hospital. And seeing what changed.

Since my last visit in the area, the central office for the Derry area had changed it’s exterior.  It looks like a house to comply with possibly some Planning policies set by the town. It’s nice looking since this central office looked no different than any other generic switching location.

The Derry, NH Central Office has a facelift – it looks like a house in the front. This is home to the 432 and 437 local code from childhood

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This central office supplies many numbers within the towns of Derry, Windham, Londonderry, East Derry, possibly Hampstead. I had Ma Bell service for most of my first couple of decades before I relocated to my current town, of which has their own central office. Because I lived on the fringe of Derry, we were tied to their central office. Prior to 2010, we did not use long distance, since the cell phones would take care of that. It wasn’t discriminatory, so if you dialed a number in towns like Merrimack, Goffstown, Concord, we would get charged ridiculously via FairPoint/Verizon. This is often why so many PBX systems require dialplans to prevent toll calls ether inadvertent or ignorance.

This is obviously outdated as me and my family both have cell phones and broadband services that eliminates the concerns of toll calls.

As described, for most of my life, we had a local code starting with 437, beginning in 1992 when my mother and I moved out from my grandmothers. Surprisingly we moved back the following year and lived for a couple of months before moving out. So the number was disconnected. When she ordered dial tone (NYNEX/New England Tel) that following summer, the number was available and was activated without much heavy lifting.

From 1970 to 1996, my grandparents had obviously a Derry number with 432, it was common in the neighboring town. When she surrendered her leased wall beige 564 telephone; she also dropped the number to let go of some baggage that went along with the number (similar to how I upgraded my iPhone – however my AT&T number had to be ported to Verizon to even begin to drop the number in the first place. This was part of switching carriers at the same time.) On topic, the 437 number was then transferred to my grandmother’s house as we moved back from 96 to the end of 2010.

According to Mike Sandman’s website, the central office is a 5ESS facility, however Verizon bit our behinds and sold it to FairPoint and bankrupted the Northern New England operation and really provides weaker services unlike what Comcast or a broadband provider can.


Video: AT&T Long Lines’ NOC Tour – 1979

Today, we are revisiting network operations from about thirty-five years ago. From time to time, this site had posted media from the old AT&T Long Lines, however on the day after a massive distributive denial of service attacked the Manchester-based Dyn; I thought it would be worthy to do another post. Produced by AT&T featuring the network operations center for their then Long Lines unit; this was high tech for the 1970s.

AT&T had designed a national network to process out of state or region calls and direct them automatically. But if disaster or overloaded situations occurred, this specific operations center would be able to redirect calls to another route. Communication between the central office and the Bedminster was crucial in case of possible outages or high call volumes, say around the holidays or disasters like earthquakes, etc.

Around this time #3 ESS switches were used around the Bell System. Not too long after #4 would replace the switching, and despite the 5ESS taking over central offices in some markets in the 80s, the 4ESS switching was commonly used for long distance, even up to the early 1990s.

Today Bedminster serves as a catchall as AT&T has evolved into different businesses since the Divesture and the death of long distance services.

* * *

Sadly, not all operations are designed like the ol Bell System only because the technology is so complicated and Internet networking was never thought of running like telephones, because telephony routing was so fixated (or static to used todays terms.)

While the Internet was designed and can do things like hop onto another network on it’s own – if the first or second hit didn’t work then you’d get to your services. With IP based networking; you can’t just issue commands onto a router and redirect the data traffic as easily. Often when a network goes down, the easiest way is to reboot it or do whatever you can do to fend off the attacks. Another problem is just the plain insecurity of the Internet. I’m not the biggest expert in IP networking but another problem is the war between traditional networks that are hard-coded (ala Cisco IOS) and newer networks that are more “dynamic” like what occurred yesterday. Not only that but the consumer equivalent to oIP, the Internet of Things is not helping matters. That’s a whole different discussion outside the realm of this site.


Central Offices In Montana

Check out more Central Offices from the Outside. (More tags in the singular sense)

Here are some pictures sent to me by one of my followers who asked to not be identified by name, but with this tight community, does everyone need to be identified everytime, all the time? 🙂 I did get permission to post these, and I want to keep the descriptions to a minimum. If you are accessing this from the home page, click to read more.

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Central Offices – Frontier (AT&T/SNET) – Hartford, CT

Never in my life have I been to Connecticut twice in the same month. Cross that off my bucket list!

Gawd how I miss the Nutmeg State.

Saturday, after my folks and I visited the Mystic Aquarium (110x better than the New England Aquarium!), we were heading home. I thought hooking up to Southeast Connecticut was easy. Um no. I was totally off. I395 is set up weirdly and apparently the last time I went on there was a while back. Suddenly you’re on 95 South once you get to the bottom. Getting back on 395 was a challenge. Well the thing was we never went back. We hooked up on Route 9 (which I went as a teenager) then went on I84, and went through Hartford. Getting into the city is easier by staying on 84, I91 actually is the bypass highway.

I guess SE CT is like the City of Lynn, Massachusetts, the area “of sin, where you never go back the way you came in.”

Anyways central offices stand out in this fine state. This was seen on I84 Eastbound heading into the city (with slight bottlenecks.) IMG_6146 IMG_6123 IMG_6124

Central Offices – Frontier – New Haven, CT

On my trip to New York City from last Saturday, the route was from I495, to 84, then to 91 in Hartford then to -95 in New Haven. When accessing Interstate 95 in New Haven, you can see the large central office for New Haven.

This central office has seen many name changes in just the last fifteen years. For a while it was SNET, then SBC/SNET to SBC fully then AT&T of Connecticut then to Frontier. A few years ago AT&T (err SBC) wanted to unload debt from declining wireline services. Like Northern New England, they sold it to Frontier (just they didn’t go bankrupt like FairPoint.)




This was one of their service vehicles along US 1 not to far away


Exclusive: Sidewalk view of Verizon’s CO in Boston!


After heading home from the Boston’s Museum of Science, we took the long way home (apparently) walking from the North End into Government Center to South Station. This is a once-in-a-lifetime or once-in-a-blue-moon event. The Verizon Boston Central office, just blocks away from Government Center, or Boston’s City Hall – has some parts with windows. And these windows you could see through and see wiring panels. MDFs on steroids. I got a handful of clear pictures given it was going into nightfall and I don’t do well with longer shutter speeds with DSLRs. (Not only that but not trying to be a subject by Homeland Security ether…)

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I bet after this gets posted, Verizon will shutter the curtains, but regardless I thought this was exclusive was worth posting.

Central Offices: FairPoint – Keene, NH

DSC_0318This low res and highly compressed JPEG is a Central Office located just north of Downtown Keene, NH. It is operated by the primary LEC, FairPoint.

If that locale rings any bells, this used to be a popular hotspot in early October for the Keene Pumpkin Festival. It also broken several Guinness Book of World Records for the most Jack-o-Lanterns lit up. Keene State College is about a mile away from this Central Office and sadly the punks from KSC destroyed the city and put the public in danger last October to the point the hack Keene City Council denied proposals for what would’ve been their 25th annual. It’s now moving about 100 miles northeast to a secluded rural grounds in the Lakes Region and not in a micro-urban locale like Keene.