Comcast Outage Hits Parts Of East Coast

A Comcast TV and internet outage hit Boston and parts across the eastern seaboard yesterday, with a fix still pending this Cyber Monday.

The Twitterverse seems to have collectively deduced that it’s a DNS issue and report success in switching to different servers. Google’s at 8.8.4.4. and 8.8.8.8 have been working for some. Here’s info on how to change your DNS settings for both Windows and Mac.

The last message on @ComcastCares, posted yesterday at 9:30 PM, says, “It appears our engineers are finalizing the correction. I appreciate everyone’s patience during this unexpected outage.”

Tipster Hargosh wrote us, “it really helped that their customer service line was either busy or only responding with a recording about “experiencing a major outage in your area.”

Did your Comcast go out yesterday? Have you had any luck in getting it resolved? Sound off in the comments.

Comcast internet down across parts of the eastern seaboard, fix on the way [Engadget]

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  1. DanRydell says:

    “Tipster Hargosh wrote us, “it really helped that their customer service line was either busy or only responding with a recording about “experiencing a major outage in your area.””

    Gee, I can’t imagine why that would be… maybe because they probably got about a million phone calls and they don’t have a million customer service people.

    • Hoss says:

      I got a constant busy signal at comcast. You don’t hear those too often these days

    • madmallard says:

      yeah, talk about unrealistic expectation of telephony capacity and callcenter reps. even if they staff 100 people in a call center for customer service, if you have an outage of just 10,000 all at once, and a call takes about 4 minutes to get thru introductions and confirm there’s a problem, it will still take almost 7 hours to get thru all the calls. if 100,000 are out…

      and thats assuming they stacked enough phone banks to that callcenter.

    • mszabo says:

      Certainly they could have had a more helpful message than “experiencing a major outage” they could easily have said to open i.e. and goto 68.87.60.144/xxxx for a way to fix your problem.

    • TasteyCat says:

      I got a busy signal the first time I called. The second time I called, they apologized for the wait and said maybe I could find my solution on Comcast.com. If only they proposed a way for me to access the Internet.

  2. Robofish says:

    My comcast went out last night. And I kept getting DNS errors. Funny enough I was going to call them to see about getting a HDMI box but couldn’t get through since their phone lines were busy. Seems like everyone, their mother, and the dog called.

  3. XianZomby says:

    In Northern Virginia. Last night Comcast internet went out for about 30 minutes. I kept resetting the router to get it to reattach. Later, I got the 75.75.75.75 and 75.75.75.74 DNS IP addresses in there. Then it all went back up and it was fine. I usually don’t ever have a problem with Comcast.

    • RyGuy1152 says:

      I’m in the Richmond area and we had an issue with our Comcast internet as well. It went down about 8:30pm, and after letting it sit for a few hours I tried to connect and was able to get online.

      I did, however, call Comcast several times to report the problem, both at the national number and my local branch. All I got was an automated message that said they were experiencing issues in my area.

    • Griking says:

      Same here in Connecticut. My Internet went down for between 30-60 minutes.

      As bad of a rep as Comcast has they’ve been pretty reliable for me. I’ve had them for about five years now and can probably count one one hand the amount of times that I’ve had service outages.

  4. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Yep. Around 8 pm, I started getting tweets about Comcast being fried. A lot of my friends figured out the DNS thing, but were extremely frustrated at not getting any help from Comcast. Tech support was basically crowdsourced last night, thanks to Comcast’s ineptitude.

  5. NashuaConsumerist says:

    I had REALLY slow internet, but cable was working just fine. Located in NASHUA NH

  6. Mr. S says:

    Northern VA, here. Was getting issues resolving IPs, so I plugged in the Google DNS numbers and was back up and running in no time.

  7. d0x360 says:

    No issues in Manchester NH.

  8. HoJu says:

    I was so confused for about a half hour by this. I thought it was my router because everything was down except VoIP. Then I learned how all that shit works. :)

    • Hoss says:

      I frigged around with the router, the computer modem, the laptop AND the voip modem — reset them all. Then I called comcast and got a busy signal.

  9. phira says:

    I’m right outside of Boston, MA, and I think my internet stopped working around 7:30 or 8.

    I’m not extremely tech savvy, but being in my mid-twenties, I’m in the generation of people who are savvy enough to check for the usual suspects with my devices before giving up. So I rebooted my computer, my modem, and my router, with no results. I spoke with a similarly savvy friend using my smartphone, and explained to her that my computer and phone were insisting that I had WiFi. My Macbook Pro showed full bars, and even told me I was connected everywhere I checked. I was unfamiliar with DNS, so I just figured that one of my roommates would knock on my door eventually and we’d troubleshoot together.

    But then I started getting tweets on my Droid from a programmer friend, and I noticed the term DNS. So I went and looked it up on my phone, found the info for OpenDNS, and changed my settings. Lo and behold, internet worked.

    I noticed that very few sites were reporting on the outage, and that Comcast had no helpful information online. On the few blogs mentioning the outage, many people commented that they had called Comcast hoping for, at the very least, some kind of recorded message acknowledging the problem. I do not think Comcast handled the outage well; while they can’t be expected to have a million customer service reps, they could have had a recorded message explaining the problem and offering Google DNS or OpenDNS info. Maybe they preferred unhappy customers to encouraging the switch in DNS?

    • Dont lump me into your 99%! says:

      If you switch DNS, they cant trap you with there search engine when you type in a domain that dont exist, so no, they dont want you to switch.

  10. tomwilliams134 says:

    It definitely hit me in Kittery, ME.

    I work in tech support, and realized that DNS wasn’t resolving (I’d ping “www.google.com” and I would get no response. Changed my router to 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 and I was all good, less than an hour after fhe problem.

  11. Hoss says:

    There’s no excuse not to have multiple redundant systems. And there’s no excuse not to have senior IT folks jumping on something like this even if it is a holiday weekend.

    Yes, I was affected and of course I spent more than a few minutes trying to figure out the damn problem

    • El Soze says:

      They probably were, but it’s not always as simple as you might think.

      First they have to see it as an issue. This one is a given. This would be quickly picked up by the NOC (network operations center) and passed on to the Tier 1/2 system administrators. Once contacted the system administrators generally have a reasonable required response time of about 1-2 hours depending on how “mission critical” support is, and who on-call is paying attention, or a myriad of other possibilities.

      Once contacted, the system administrators would have to determine 1) What the issue is and 2) attempt to fix it. Depending on *what* was changed it could be a simple fix or a long and complex one.

      If it takes any amount of time to fix the issue then everyone gets called because the boss said “get it fixed, now.” I’m sure your thinking “well they should have gotten all hands on deck from the start!!!” and I can understand how that initially makes sense. Let me be clear though, this is *not* what you want.

      As soon as the bosses, the bosses bosses, and their bosses are involved, then you get dragged into lengthy email chains that even the most veteran email forwarder wouldn’t touch with a fake alias. And if you are *really* lucky, you are required to join a lengthy conference call where you must spend the next 45 minutes telling the bosses bosses boss the status of “I don’t know what’s wrong yet” because you haven’t actually had time to work on the dire issue at hand.

      Did that become a rant? I think it became a rant. Please forgive the rant :)

      • Hoss says:

        I know where you’re coming from — I’ve been in those conference rooms (as a senior finance person, not IT), and viewed the mostly useless email exchanges. But I also know that cutting costs is great fun these days

        Despite this recent issue, I happen to think that Comcast is a much, much better enterprise than they used to be. At least that’s the case in my area (west of Boston) and I know service probably isn;t the same all over

  12. JDnCT says:

    It was out in CT as well. After about 30 minutes of tinkering with the router and modem, I got on my droid and found the twits people were posting, changed my DNS settings to Google DNS and was back up in no time.

    Generally am pleased with Comcast service, last night was a surprise.

  13. HaveSomeCheese says:

    At least netflix gives you a credit on your account.

  14. Hamish says:

    My net went down around 8pm in the Baltimore area and local Comcast phone lines were responding with “all circuits are busy” for that period of time, the 800 number was out to lunch as well, was up shortly after 11pm. Never had a problem with Cable TV that I noticed during that time.

  15. Harry Manback says:

    My friend and I had issues (in VT). Thankfully google talk was working, because my Droid X had stopped working 2 days prior and I didn’t know the addresses for OpenDNS or Google’s DNS service, but I was able to get it from him. After that I had no more problems getting online. Happened last night some time after 7 or so.

  16. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    Mine went out in Boston, called comcast got a busy signal, called again and it kept trying to transfer my call over and over again then it gave up and said “We’re sorry we’re unable to transfer your call, please check comcast.com for more information” Uh thanks….

    Was definitley a DNS problem as I could renew my IP address no problem and the modem was online. I switched over to google DNS and things were fine after that.

    I just moved and just had my cable installed Tuesday so naturally I assumed it was something wrong on my end. A message on their website noting the outage, or an automated message in the phones system would have saved me about 45 minutes of debugging my router and wireless systems.

  17. leprofie says:

    In Maryland (south of Baltimore) we had an outage starting around 8. Rebooted modem twice, router once, calls to Comcast either hit busy signal or disconnect. Twitter is how I got reconnected, changing DNS to Google.

  18. Hoot says:

    We called around 9:30 and they didn’t tell us about this issue. They went through the usual motions, treating us like we had no idea what we were talking about (shut off the modem, leave off for 30 seconds, etc, like we hadn’t tried that already). When we tried to call back, the line was busy over and over. We eventually gave up and tried again at 11:30 or so and it was working.

    I wish they would have just told us. Assholes.

  19. Big Cheese Make Hair Go Boom says:

    Leesburg, VA resident here! I was watching Human Centipede lastnight and boom…internet died. Oddly enough, my Ooma VOIP phone worked for about 20 minutes after my Xbox and computers connections were severed. The outage effed up my router some how…to the point that I had to do a factory reset to the damn thing and reconfigure it.

  20. tenthplanet says:

    Upper Marlboro, Md – no connection for about an hour – did all the usual disconnect stuff – no go. Called – busy – then “please call back later.” Recording wanted info about what was on screen – nothing, baby. Like how they encourage you to e-mail them when they’re dead in the water. Have no big beef, actually – usually pretty good service. Was Sunday after turkey day – but, then, Sunday before work on Monday – probably should have had the “area wide problem message” up a little sooner. That’s life in the tech age.

  21. Hoss says:

    Does anyone have a moment to explain how you change your “DNS”? Tx

  22. suez says:

    Yes, I internet connection went out. So did their customer support hotline. I tried to call multiple times and couldn’t get through all the pre-recorded crap before it would tell me I couldn’t be connected and to try again. I finally gave up and watched a DVD the rest of the night.

  23. CFinWV says:

    I’m in the metro DC area and I had a brief total outage yesterday but lots of patchy, slow connections both yesterday and today. This would explain what was going on!

  24. dcww says:

    I live in Boston, and my Comcast internet went out for a few hours. Their lack of addressing the issue – last night and today – speaks volumes about their lack of interest in being open with customer and consumer issues.

    I finally got through to their support phone number after a bunch of tries, waiting through the long moments of silence, random beeps, and pressing “0.” The person I spoke with said that it was a “nationwide outage” and that internet would be back up in the hour. It was finally up about 3 hours after that, and while the outage doesn’t appear to have been nationwide, it was absolutely larger than Comcast’s damage control that it was just the local Boston and local DC area. In fact, internet service outage was rampant along most of the Eastern seaboard.

  25. dolemite says:

    Ours was out last night with DNS errors. It started working again around 11pm.

    What sucks is we had just upgraded to a new cable modem Friday, so we were thinking it was something to do with that, and had been trying all kinds of “fixes” for that.

  26. Newsgrrl says:

    Ours went out (in New Hampshire) last evening. The boyfriend hopped on his phone and found himself #400-and-something in line for a live chat person at Comcast. Concluded that it must be some sort of outage, did a quick search (also via phone) and discovered the DNS-how-to. We were back online in no time.

    It’s annoying, and without the boyfriend’s level of dedication/know-how to getting us back to the interwebs ASAP, I would probably have sat around mumbling “stupid Comcast” until it came back on its own.

    Side note – I never, ever thought I’d say anything nice about the cable company that billed me twice four months in a row, but we did wait to see how long it would take to get through 400ish people in the live chat help line. It only took about 15 minutes – I guess that’s sort of impressive.

  27. dae says:

    Lost it in my area of Vermonth (south of Rutland) around 7:30 or 8:00. Tried calling a couple of times only to get busy signals. Once I started hearing grumbles from friends that are scattered around, I realized why the line was busy. I gave up and read a book for the night.

  28. Silverhawk says:

    And this is why I go with Google & openDNS for my DNS servers. I’m not on Comcast, but my previous cable company had DNS outages a LOT. I’m on AT&T now, and I still use 3rd party DNS, which is actually faster than AT&T’s (for me) and a heck of a lot more reliable.

  29. JoeDawson says:

    I make my own DNS at home… seriously though, i put the GOOGLE dns servers in my router, so that i dont need mac or windows instructions!

  30. Shadowfire says:

    We couldn’t do any surfing last night. World of Warcraft worked great, though. ;-)

  31. Alter_ego says:

    I’m in Boston, and this made me really glad I chose rcn instead of comcast. And even more glad that i had a choice at all.

  32. mcs328 says:

    Same here in MD. I rebooted my laptop, router and cable modem. Called them and got a busy signal and all circuits are busy. I turned off wifi on my iphone and googles comcast. The first hit was a stream of twitter complaints. So I knew there was not much I could do but wait for them to fix it or use 8.8.8.8

  33. u1itn0w2day says:

    This is news???

    I’m not in Boston and my comcrap stops working on a daily basis. It might only be seconds but I frequently get pixalization and lost/frozen internet connection.

  34. chucklebuck says:

    Switching to the Google DNS servers cleared it up immediately. Honestly, I probably won’t bother switching back unless those go down.

  35. gjones77 says:

    Nope, I stopped using Comcast’s DNS servers years ago, I’ve been using Google’s, much faster.

  36. Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

    I noticed the problem as DNS related and fixed it myself in about thirty seconds. What are people so upset about? It’s not like it’s hard to fix.

  37. DD_838 says:

    Mine went out last night (Allston, MA) and since I was to tired to call it restored by itself this morning. If I had called for help, it would be out for a week.

  38. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    I thought that said “Comcast OutRage Hits Parts Of East Coast” and I was wondering what took them all so long out east.

  39. Posthaus says:

    Yes, it took a pretty big dump yesterday evening for me in MD, but it was up and running by early ( like 4 AM) morning coffee.

  40. tape says:

    the last time I used Comcast’s DNS was about 10 years ago, right when I got the service. even back then, it was slow. I changed it to mu university’s DNS servers and boom, nice and snappy. Ever since I left college, I’ve used MIT’s and recently switched to Google DNS.

    They’ve had a long time to fix their DNS and apparently haven’t. I guess I’m not really surprised.

  41. twonewfs says:

    Didn’t come back until about 6 pm Monday here in Groveland, northeastern MA close to NH and Maine. NECN, owned by Comcast, was chirping cheerily that all service had come back at midnight, Sunday – hah.

  42. Mike Zeidler says:

    I too was hit by this yesterday morning. I got up around 2am to find my comcast internet was down. Went to work, and when I came home for lunch at 7:30am and it was still down, called Comcast and was told it was part of the previous day’s outage.

  43. agent211 says:

    It was 9:00 by the time I noticed. Ruled out all of my other network gear so assumed Comcast was out. I went to bed. It was working the next day.

  44. pot_roast says:

    Google DNS is not always the fastest.

    I’d use OpenDNS instead. And if you have Windows, the Symantec Norton DNS service has been doing a pretty good job of blocking malware.

  45. paoloacca says:

    go figure…comcast online support told me there was no known outage’s…i see what you did there comcast

  46. ksweeley says:

    Comcast went out on October 28th at 8 pm in my area (live in Baltimore) as well, dialed 1-800-Comcast on my cellphone, rang busy the first three times, finally got through, automated voice asked me for my 10 digit number where I have service, entered my 10 digit home phone # then pressed 1 for a service outage then pressed 2 for the option of high speed internet and got the typical automated message saying that my area was experiencing an outage and that their “technicians” were working on it and that I did NOT need to wait on the line for a person then something new to me was said, the automated voice then gave me the option for an automated call back once service is restored and if I wanted that to press 1, or press 2 for a person but I wanted to speak to a person to at least get an estimated time on when the internet would return because I was working on something important at the time the net went out so I pressed 2 and I wish I recorded the automated messages that followed, the first said that due to the high call volume due to the service outage in my area the wait time would be higher than usual so I thought “That’s ok, I’ll stay on the line and wait.” then a second message came on and this is completely new to me and this hasn’t happened to me with other customer service numbers I’ve called before and this is why I wished I recorded the call. The second message said that due to the high call volume, Comcast was unable to keep me on the line then the voice said “Goodbye” and I was promptly disconnected, I redialed and got an immediate busy tone and kept getting a busy tone and thought “WTF?!?!? What kind of customer service is this Comcast… Disconnecting a customer because of high call volume… You’re extremely lucky that you are the ONLY company that offers high speed internet AND cable TV in Baltimore city…”