Update 11:51 a.m.: Evanston’s city website was out of service for more than 18 hours after a hardware failure at the Illinois Century Network knocked the website offline Wednesday afternoon.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, who says the failure hit just a couple of weeks before the city was scheduled to have a back up connection to the internet in place through the cable provider Comcast.

Service was restored shortly before noon today.

Bobkiewicz says the city now connects to the internet through Northwestern University’s fiber optic system, which routes the connection through downtown Chicago and then to the ICN facility at the Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, where the equipment failure took place.

Bobkiewicz says 15 other customers, including Evanston Township High School, were affected by the hardware failure.

Efforts to repair the problem were unsuccessful, Bobkiewicz says, and the network had to wait for replacement hardware to be delivered to restore the service.

Update 12:52 p.m.: Bobkiewicz says the outage, which he had feared would last until Friday, was cut short through the intervention of Northwestern University’s Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Sean Reynolds.

He says Reynolds and his staff worked with the staff at the Illinois Century Network and the Argonne National Laboratory to get the issues resolved on a priority basis.

A notice on the ETHS website reported the school had suffered an internet connectivity failure yesterday, but the school website itself was accessible this morning.

The problem knocked out the Evanston Public Library’s website as well, and meant that city workers couldn’t send or receive email at their city email addresses.

The city’s 311 phone service remained available for residents to get questions answered and make requests for city services during the internet outage.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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