Internet is a critical component to virtually everyone’s daily workflow, perhaps now even more so because of the magnitude of people who work from home. However, since Monday night many have been finding themselves sans connection. According to USA Today, tens of thousands of Xfinity (aka Comcast) customers nationwide are reported to be without an internet connection due to widespread outages.
Monday night, San Francisco Bay Area citizens in Marin Country, CA began experiencing service outages. At one point the number of Xfinity patrons who were having service issues was so vast that the local county sheriff took to Twitter to urge people not to call 911 in an attempt to find out why they had no service. The sheriff made light of the matter by including an old dial-up gif within the body of his tweet.
As it turns out, according to Ars Technica, the outages were not isolated to the Bay Area. Outage reports indicate that a large number of customers in Chicago, Philadelphia, and New Jersey are currently experiencing gaps in internet connectivity, as well. The Philadelphia Inquirer pointed out that even the outage map on Xfinitity’s website was inaccessible and that attempts to load it only resulted in an error message, signaling that the outages were significant. In fact, The Verge even noted that customers were even unable to reach tech support by phone to report a problem.
Xfinity (Comcast) services over 31.5 million people across 39 states as well as Washington D.C. At this point, the exact number of patrons who experienced any kind of outage or service interruption is unknown, but it is clear that that number is remarkable. A website known for tracking outages, Down Detector, showed that as of this morning there were over 52,000 known service interruptions, and given that many were unable to even report service issues, that number is likely to be much higher. Additionally, it is also probable that the widespread outages are not limited to internet connectivity. Many customers are likely experiencing problems with cable television and phone service, as well.
Xfinity is known for having sketchy service at times, and given that reputation, many of its patrons took to the internet to poke fun at the telecommunications giant. One Twitter user coyly tweeted a picture of the map of the United States with the entirety of it filled in with black marker to “indicate” the parts of the nation experiencing the outages.
Xfinity has yet to disclose an official reason for the wide-scale service interruptions but did issue a statement that communicated that they were working diligently to restore service to all customers experiencing outages. Interestingly enough these widespread outages occurred in the wake of 9 undisclosed high-profile organizations being hacked. Those who reported on the hack indicated that they did so to alert other organizations that those 9 victims were likely not the only intended targets. Given that Xfinity has such a large presence in the United States and controls much of the country’s telecommunications it begs the question as to whether these two seemingly separate occurrences are in any way related. However, at this point, any connections between the two incidents are simply just conjecture.