Error 404: The Internet Broke

Error 404: The Internet Broke
Photo: Scott Olson, Getty Images

A strange outage is impacting internet users in the Northeast U.S. It’s not entirely clear what is going on, but it sure is annoying.

Around noon on Tuesday, local time, outage reports began pouring in, according to DownDetector, which tracks online service outages. But it’s not limited to one company; users reported issues with Comcast, Google, Zoom, YouTube, Slack, Amazon Web Services, and many others. (AWS’s own status page indicates that its services are operating normally, for what it’s worth.)

While the cause (or causes) remains unconfirmed, a cut Verizon fibre optic cable in Brooklyn, New York, may be the culprit. Verizon’s customer support confirmed on Twitter that one of its cables had been severed, and customers said they received notice of the outage via email.

Not all services, nor all users, appeared to be affected equally. Even among the New York-based Gizmodo staff, the problem seems just… weird. One editor could access Slack fine, but Google services were down. Others experienced slower response times while still being able to access all services they attempted to use.

At the time of writing, several services, including Google and Zoom, appear to be coming back online. Others remain inaccessible for some users.

A Verizon spokesperson said in an email that they are looking into the issue.

An AWS spokesperson said the issue was related to an internet service provider and not AWS itself. A Comast spokesperson said in an emailed statement that its services were not directly impacted. “We didn’t observe any problems on our network, or any impact to the performance of our services related to the issue reported earlier today,” the spokesperson said.

In an email, a Google spokesperson echoed AWS and Comcast, saying in a statement, “We are aware of reports regarding issues affecting access to some Google products, but have not found issues with our services. We’re continuing to investigate.”

If the outage is impacting you, let us know what you’re seeing in the comments.

Update 1:25 PM ET, Jan. 26: AWS confirmed that issues customers experienced were related to an internet service provider, not AWS. Google said it’s investigating the issue but has found no problems with its services.

Update 2:23 PM ET, Jan. 26: Added statement from Comcast.