Comcast Blames Widespread Service Outage on Cut Fiber Lines Owned by CenturyLink & Zayo

Comcast Corp, which has more than 29 million business and residential customers, today blamed cuts in two fiber lines for a widespread system failure that knocked out cable, internet and phone services around the country.

It was unclear how many customers were affected as the system failure, which appeared contained to Comcast’s network, also disrupted connectivity services like Netflix Inc. and Okta Inc. as other internet service providers routed internet traffic through Comcast’s network, according to network research firm ThousandEyes.

Comcast service problems today (June 29, 2018):

Comcast Outage Chart

https://outage.report/us/xfinity

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Comcast, one of the dominant cablecom companies in the U.S., said most service had been restored by late Friday. The Philadelphia-based company said in a statement that “one of Comcast’s large backbone network partners had a fiber cut that we believe is also impacting other providers.”  Later, Comcast said the damaged fiber optic lines are owned by CenturyLink Inc. and Zayo Group Holdings Inc.

A spokeswoman for CenturyLink issued a statement saying CenturyLink’s network was working normally, though the company had “experienced two isolated fiber cuts in North Carolina affecting some customers that in and of itself did not cause the issues experienced by other providers.” The spokeswoman, Francie Dudrey, didn’t comment further. Attempts to reach Zayo were unsuccessful. Fiber networks, which make up the backbone of the internet, transmit vast amounts of internet traffic, processing everything from online purchases to 911 calls.

Down Detector and Outage.Report, two websites that monitor the running of consumer-technology services, ranked the system failure as extreme and posted maps indicating large numbers of customers affected in the New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., metro areas as well as San Francisco, Chicago and Denver.

Reports of outages, according to the websites, spiked early Friday afternoon. Some customers took to social media to discuss the outages, saying they were having trouble getting through the company’s phones and online chats. Comcast, on Twitter, directed customers to an internal website that was at one point down as well, eliciting a second round of customer complaints.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/comcast-blames-widespread-service-outage-on-cut-fiber-line-1530308633

Write to Maria Armental at maria.armental@wsj.com

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