FRIDAY’S MASSIVE COMCAST OUTAGE SHOWS HOW FRAGILE THE INTERNET IS

WIDESPREAD INTERNET OUTAGES around the United States on Friday afternoon quelled productivity and sent irate customers to Twitter to complain. Comcast and Xfinity suffered the biggest service interruptions across its internet, cable, and landline products. The company, which has more than 29 million business and individual customers, said on Friday that the outages stemmed from fiber optic cables at two internet infrastructure companies that were cut or otherwise disrupted.

Like virtually all internet providers, Comcast relies on a combination of its own fiber optic infrastructure and that of other partner companies to seamlessly route data around the world.

“We identified two, separate and unrelated fiber cuts to our network backbone providers,” Comcast said in a statement to WIRED. “Our engineers worked to address the issue immediately and services are now being restored to business and residential internet, video and voice customers.”

‘We are profoundly and globally dependent on a fundamentally fragile infrastructure.’

ROLAND DOBBINS, ARBOR NETWORKS

Comcast says the two internet infrastructure companies involved are Level 3 (now owned by CenturyLink) and Zayo, a fiber company headquartered in Colorado. Throughout the afternoon, the outage-tracking site Down Detector showed service interruptions at CenturyLink, Zayo, and Comcast, but the latter suffered the most severe consequences.

“While the CenturyLink network continues to operate normally, on June 29 we experienced two isolated fiber cuts in North Carolina affecting some customers,” CenturyLink said in a statement. “At this time, our technicians are working to restore the services.”

CenturyLink noted that its two fiber cuts would not have been enough on their own to cause the outage, indicating that another also occurred, as Comcast said.

“Earlier today, Zayo experienced a fiber cut in the New York area,” said a Zayo spokesperson in a statement. “We immediately dispatched our local team who quickly restored the cut. All impacted services in the area have been restored.”