Several large cities found themselves with slow or nonexistent internet connections on Monday, including New York, Chicago and Boston, as Comcast and Xfinity suffered a major outage across their entire nationwide network.
The problems appear to have been neutralized, as Comcast customers in some parts of the nation are beginning to get their service back to regular speeds after being without internet for a large part of the afternoon. However, while some cities have been able to get their internet back online, most of the country’s Comcast subscribers remain without a connection to the internet, and they aren’t the only ones. During the outage, Charter and Level 3 have also found themselves without a connection to the internet, and reports have continued to hover around the mark of 1,000 customers every few minutes letting Comcast know that their internet has gone out.
Comcast stated at around 2:45 p.m. Eastern time that it was aware of an external issue with its network and was working to fix the problem. The problems for the Internet provider appeared to spike at approximately 2 p.m., as customers across the nation found themselves unable to reach most websites on their home computers. The report of an external issue suggests that the internet problems are a result of an attack on Comcast from a third party rather than a failure in Comcast’s own system.
Customers from Seattle to Miami found their internet suddenly slowing to a crawl or failing to work at all. Many of the issues appear to have been internet-based, although a portion of Comcast customers reported issues with their televisions or a total blackout of Comcast services.
Comcast is the second-largest pay television provider and the largest internet provider in the United States. Across the country, it serves 28 million customers, many of whom live in the densely populated Northeast, near its Philadelphia headquarters.
The hardest-hit areas as far as the Comcast blackout was concerned appear to be the northern coastal areas in both the Eastern and Western parts of the United States. Along the Interstate 5 corridor, the internet blackout covered the entire length of the corridor between Seattle and Portland, with the Bay Area being another hard-hit area.
In the East, the Interstate 95 corridor from Boston to Greater Washington bore the brunt of the lost service. Boston, Philadelphia and Washington appeared to have most of the issues with access to websites, while New York suffered a relatively lesser amount given its much larger population base. No instances were reported with NBC, which is a subsidiary of Comcast, or any of its affiliates. Despite the attack on Comcast customers, signals appear to have stayed on the air for NBC and its other networks.
However, there is a possibility this could only be the beginning of a larger attack, as outages have now been reported for other staples of the web, such as Skype and Office365. According to DownDetector, Instagram, SalesForce and GoDaddy were also reported to be not working, although these reports came at the beginning of the Comcast situation, making it unclear if these sites legitimately went down or if these reports were from Comcast customers unaware of the network problems.