Comcast customers from Boston to Washington, D.C., lost Internet access late Sunday evening due to an issue with the DNS servers.
Comcast subscribers up and down the East Coast lost Internet access on Nov.
28. While the company said access was restored, there were still a handful of
users reporting issues as of Monday morning.
Comcast's customer service initially reported an "Internet-related
issue" on Twitter under the account Comcastcares
late Sunday evening before following up with, "Internet outage larger than
outage appeared to be widespread, "primarily located in New
England/Greater Boston and DC/Beltway areas," Comcast
spokesperson Charlie Douglas told eWEEK. According to various reports from
affected users, the region included New Hampshire,
New York, Maryland,
Virginia and Washington
Twitter complaints started around 8 p.m.
Based on the Twitter feed, Comcast appeared to have fixed the problem
shortly before midnight, just in time
for Cyber Monday, a big day for online holiday shopping. Comcast engineers are
carefully monitoring the service to make sure there are no other outages,
Instead of waiting for a Comcast fix, some enterprising customers figured
out a workaround to regain Internet access. They posted the IP addresses of DNS
servers belonging to Google Public DNS or OpenDNS on Twitter and encouraged
users to swap out DNS server entries from Comcast on their computers to these
addresses to get back online.
Comcast said the problem was confined to the company's high-speed Internet
service, and did not impact its digital TV and telephone services.
Word of the outage first spread cross social networking sites like Facebook
and Twitter as outraged users turned to their smartphones and other mobile
devices to post their complaints. Comcast's customer service representative,
Will Osbourne, tweeted to users as ComcastWill
that the engineers were putting in a fix around 10
p.m., but did not provide an ETA.
Comcast declined to say exactly how many customers were affected by the
outage. According to the Baltimore
Sun, Comcast spokesman Bob Grove said additional staff was brought in to fix
"We certainly apologize to any customers who were affected during this
time," said Douglas.
Comcast has been instructing customers still experiencing problems to
power-cycle the modem, said Douglas. Also on Twitter,
Comcast customer representative ComcastMelissa offered replacement modems to
users. In addition, she responded to angry users complaining about the poor
customer service they'd received over the phone during the outage. Many of them
appeared to be demanding, and getting, some kind of credit on their service
According to CNET, Douglas
said the problem was a "server issue" but declined to specify what
the specific issue was with the DNS servers that translate IP addresses into
domain names, allowing users to surf the Web. Comcast
will "continue to investigate the root cause," Douglas
There were also Twitter postings from small businesses in Portland,
Ore., about not having Internet service as
of noon on Nov. 29. Douglas
said they were "unrelated local issues."