Internet outage hits customers along East Coast; Verizon reports fiber cut in Brooklyn

By WCBS Newsradio 880

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — An internet outage appeared to affect a large swath of the northeast U.S., including New York City, on Tuesday afternoon, leading to disruptions in several services including Google, Zoom and Slack.

Verizon Fios customers took to Twitter to complain about slowdown and other connectivity issues starting around 11 a.m.

Responding to one customer, Verizon reported that there was a fiber cable cut in Brooklyn.

The company directed customers to check for updates at this link.

In a statement to the Associated Press on Tuesday afternoon, Verizon said the internet issue had been resolved and service was returning to normal. The company is investigating what happened and said the service interruption was not related to the cut fiber in Brooklyn.

An outage map on DownDetector showed the internet service problems were impacting customers from Washington, D.C. to Boston.

The problems appeared to trickle down, causing connectivity issues with Gmail, YouTube, Amazon Web Services and others.

“We are investigating connectivity issues with an internet provider, mainly affecting the East Coast of the United States, outside of the AWS Network,” AWS said on its status page. “We are investigating the issue with the external provider.”

Around 1:15 p.m. ET, AWS said the issue had been resolved and all of its services were operating normally.

At about the same time, some people commented on DownDetector that their internet service appeared to be coming back to normal in central New Jersey, Long Island and Virginia.

CNET's Ian Sherr said the situation was another reminder of how the country has come to rely on just a few companies to provide access to all the internet tools many are using as working from home and remote learning becomes the norm amid the pandemic.

It raises the question of how ready are these companies to deal with widespread outages quickly and get people back online?

"This is something that has been an ongoing issue for so long and we've seen it from Amazon for example. They have a service they offer where companies can use their servers to run apps or have their website. So a number of times when Amazon has gone down, suddenly you can't get the New York Times or you can't use your favorite app," Sherr said. "These are issues that constantly are coming up. Unfortunately what's happened is because the tech industry has become so centralized and so large, it's very hard to have competitors who can offer a similar or better service and actually start to spread out the usage."

Sherr said unless things change, users are going to be beholden to just a few companies and whenever they have a bad day.

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