Widespread Internet outage hits NYC and region


Somebody cut the cord to much of the Internet service in the New York region on May 9, knocking out phone service to 750,000 people, the state says.

The problems began at about 3:09 p.m., according to DownDetector.com, a web site that monitors Internet outages. Service was more or less back to normal around 9 p.m., the site says. But in New York City, Time Warner Cable reported at 9:30 p.m. that it was still having problems which it labeled “a service interruption … due to lost network connectivity.”

Other cable and Internet companies in the Northeast also reported outages. The problems don’t seem to have affected everyone — but they caused plenty of trouble nonetheless. CNN found a pizza parlor in Sunnyside, Queens that lost about $300 in business because its phone and credit card service crashed.

Level 3 Communications, which operates trunk Internet fiber optic lines that serve cable and Internet companies like Time Warner, Cablevision and Verizon, tweeted at 8:09 p.m. that the outage resulted from a fiber cut caused by a third party. It’s unclear where the cut occurred.

2016-05-09 Level 3 Internet outageThis map, taken from DownDetector’s web site at about 9:30 p.m., gives some idea of the extent of the problem.┬áThousand Eyes, a San Francisco network monitoring company, said on Twitter that the outage impacted Internet users as far away as Salt Lake City and Seattle.

New York state officials plan an investigation of the outage, which they fear affected 911 service. “Service is being restored, and [the state] Department of Public Service will continue to investigate the incident to determine the cause,” the agency said in a statement issued at 9 p.m.

The outage comes amid a state Public Service Commission investigation of telecommunications service in New York. The Commission says its probe will cover “emergency response systems, regulatory oversight, quality of service, consumer protections, and affordability.”


About Bill Sanderson

I'm a New York-based journalist, and a former reporter at the Concord Monitor in New Hampshire, the Bergen Record in New Jersey, and the New York Post. My work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch.com and Politico New York. Twitter: @wpsanderson.
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