The internet has helped in shaping how the world operates in this age. Last January 26, 2021, people from the Northeastern US experienced a sudden internet outage. Indeed, people shopping online, gaming, and working were significantly affected by the unexpected downtime. According to 48 web reports at Downdetector.com, most internet services were up and running by 2 in the afternoon.
Other internet service providers such as AT&T and T-Mobile continued to struggle until 3 pm. However, services were almost back to normal at 4 pm. Downdetector is a program that tracks internet and site downtimes. As early as Monday night, they were continuously providing updates and alerts about the outages persisting all day.
According to their updates, people reported around 30 outages at 11:30 am and followed by other companies and providers later on the day. Even companies such as Epic Games, Slack, and other Google services were significantly affected by these outages. Intelice Solutions, an internet advisory firm, warned businesses about the internet outage across the United States. Major internet service providers such as Comcast and Verizon were reporting the same issue as well. However, Comcast reckons it to be an external network issue.
The outage maps have shown that the issues occurred mostly on the East Coast part of the United States. However, the reason behind the outage is nowhere to be found. Verizon released a statement via email stating that they are already fixing their fiber-optic service issues, and they already restored some of their services. They also mentioned the cut fiber in Brooklyn, but it was not clear if it was the outage’s primary reason. Unfortunately, they did not give any estimated time when their services would be up and running.
According to The Washington Post, Amazon Web Services also investigated East Coast’s network issues with an internet provider. On the other hand, Comcast claimed that their network was working as usual in the East Coast area that early afternoon. Twitter users have also shared their issues with certain online services in locations starting from Boston to Washington. This region is widely known for various US government services and financial companies.
Especially this pandemic, internet outages should be avoided because people rely on the internet to get on with their lives. However, there are various reasons why network downtime occurs, such as network congestions, hardware failure, and security attacks (denial of service or DoS). Even though most internet providers inform their users about a particular downtime, they cannot notify their users if there are unexpected circumstances.
Internet service disruption is never pleasant to every user who uses the internet. Online learning and work from home setup have been the new norm after the COVID-19 affected everyone. Paying hundreds of dollars for high-speed internet will not be enough if your provider is not competent enough. Businesses, educational institutions, and other industries relying on the internet can suffer significant losses with these downtimes. Internet service providers can only do so much but, are they solely responsible for the sudden outages we experience?