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Outages Sting Workers Who Rely on Zoom and Google at Home

The disruptions were said to have been caused by a large internet company's adjustment to its peering system.

Scott Moritz and Rob Golum (Bloomberg) -- Broadband internet outages hit a wide swath of the eastern U.S. on Tuesday, causing headaches for work-from-home users of services like Zoom and Google.

Complaints centered on Verizon Communications Inc., though customers of Comcast Corp. also said they suffered some problems.

The disruptions started shortly after 11 a.m. New York time, when a large internet company made an adjustment to its peering system -- or traffic pathway -- causing an unintended surge in volume that overwhelmed several networks mostly along the East Coast, according to a person familiar with the situation. It isn’t believed to be a cybersecurity issue, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

The service disruptions have eased since the height of the problems at about noon New York time. Verizon technicians and network staff are still investigating the situation, a company spokesman said. Comcast didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

DownDetector, a real-time monitoring service, showed a surge in reports of service interruptions Tuesday from those providers, with a spillover to popular websites like Google, YouTube and Zoom. The problems appeared to be concentrated on the East Coast.

Google said it was continuing to investigate the disruptions, which didn’t stem from its products.

“We are aware of reports regarding issues affecting access to some Google products, but have not found issues with our services,” a representative said.

The pandemic has made broadband outages especially difficult. High-speed internet connections have become a lifeline during the Covid-19 pandemic as millions of office staff, students, health-care professionals and others use broadband to work remotely.

The problem for Verizon customers were ill-timed for a company that just reported disappointing results on Tuesday morning.

Read more: Verizon falls after posting disappointing subscriber figures

The carrier’s shares slipped as much as 3.4% to $56.46, marking its biggest intraday decline since March 2020.

In response to questions about the blackout, Verizon reported on Twitter that it suffered a cut in a fiber line in the Brooklyn area, without offering an estimated time of repair. User comments suggest the outage was far more widespread.

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