By Dave Sebastian and Drew FitzGerald
A Verizon Communications Inc. network failure on Tuesday slowed Internet service for some major business customers in the Northeast U.S., triggering a cascade of outages that blocked access to many online applications.
The company hadn't pinned down the source of the failure as of Tuesday afternoon. A spokesman for Verizon said the network suffered degraded service, which caused some high-bandwidth applications to stop working. A separate fiber-optic line cut in Brooklyn interrupted broadband service for about 1,000 customers but wasn't tied to the region's broader network issues, according to the spokesman.
Network engineers writing on public message boards reported trouble reaching Verizon and other services that rely on its systems from roughly 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time through the early afternoon. The lapse affected customers around New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Service later returned to normal levels.
Several Twitter users reported problems with services on Google's Gmail, Slack Technologies Inc., Zoom Video Communications Inc. and Amazon Web Services.
At 12:20 p.m., AWS said on its status page that it was "investigating connectivity issues with an internet provider, mainly affecting the East Coast of the United States, outside of the AWS Network."
Zoom's status page noted degraded performance across much of its platform. Google and Slack's status pages showed no current problems. Google said it didn't find issues with its services, and Slack said the incident seemed to be isolated to the East Coast.
The incident is the latest widespread disruption in technological services, which homebound workers and students have been increasingly relying on since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Users of Google's suite of services and Slack have also recently endured disruptions. Temporary interruptions for popular online services are relatively common, though their effect has increased as more businesses outsource their digital infrastructure and tools, often to large internet companies.
Internet measurement firm Kentik Inc. found data traffic to Verizon fell 12% during the event, suggesting many other U.S. regions remained online. Verizon's fiber-optic backbone carries information for a wide range of Web companies and other network operators.
Faulty equipment sometimes leads to widespread Internet failures, though software glitches and human error often cause the most significant outages. Time Warner Cable blamed an overnight maintenance mistake for a 2014 network blackout that lasted for more than an hour.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires