Comcast admits “widespread” outage as tens of thousands of users report problems

Enlarge / A Comcast Xfinity service van in Sunnyvale, California, in November 2018.

Getty Images | Sundry Photography

There appears to be a widespread Comcast outage affecting customers in multiple parts of the country this morning. News reports have described large outages in Chicago, Philadelphia, and southern New Jersey. “Xfinity’s own outage tracker is currently down, displaying the error message: ‘We are experiencing abnormal traffic to our network or… the service or servers on it are not currently available,'” The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote.

There were also reports of a large Comcast outage in the San Francisco Bay Area last night, leading to a message from the Marin County Sheriff’s office that said, “Please do not call 911 to ask why your Internet is out. Call your Internet service provider.” That outage may be resolved, as “Comcast tells NBC Bay Area late Monday its systems show Xfinity services are starting to come back online following widespread Internet outages across the Bay Area,” the news site reported. Comcast outages in other regions are ongoing.

“Some customers are experiencing intermittent service interruptions as a result of a network issue. Our teams are actively working to bring impacted customers back online as we continue to investigate. We apologize to those who have been affected,” Comcast’s Xfinity Support account wrote in a tweet just after 11 am ET. In another tweet responding to a customer who complained about an outage, Xfinity Support wrote, “Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, we are experiencing widespread interruptions to the Xfinity services.”

54,000 reports on Downdetector

Downdetector, which lets users of many types of services report outages, showed about 54,000 reports for Comcast Xfinity around 9 am ET this morning. Downdetector also showed about 25,000 reports eight hours previously, at the time of the Bay Area outage.

There are always some Downdetector reports about Comcast because of its sheer size, as the company has over 31.5 million residential customers in 39 states and the District of Columbia. But 25,000 and 54,000 Downdetector reports are both unusually high numbers. Charter Spectrum, which has nearly as many residential customers as Comcast, had 835 reports on Downdetector at about 9 am ET today.

Downdetector’s “heat map” for Comcast shows that in the past 24 hours, the biggest number of outage reports came from the San Francisco Bay Area:

Downdetector's Comcast heat map shows where user-submitted problem reports are concentrated over the past 24 hours.
Downdetector’s Comcast heat map shows where user-submitted problem reports are concentrated over the past 24 hours.

Of course, not everyone whose Comcast service is out will complain on Downdetector or Twitter, so there could be many other people without Internet, TV, or phone service. We asked Comcast for information on how extensive the outage is, what caused it, and when it will be resolved. We’ll update this article if we get any new details.

Update at 12:30pm ET: Comcast provided a statement indicating that people’s service should be restored shortly, but said it is still trying to figure out what caused the outage. “Earlier, some customers experienced intermittent service disruptions as a result of a network issue,” Comcast said. “We have addressed the issue and service is now restoring for impacted customers, as we continue to investigate the root cause. We apologize to those who were affected.”


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