back to article Verizon outage borks phones, TVs, internet for hapless East Coast folk

All of US carrier Verizon's services have been struck down by an outage across Delaware, New Jersey, and New York since 5:27am EDT. Down Detector has recorded a spike in complaints since this morning, and its own commentards have tracked the outage by offering their experiences and referencing them with their area codes. …

  1. Matt Piechota

    I'm solidly in the middle of the blob and I haven't noticed any outages with Verizon wireless or FIOS this morning. I'm at work now, but I'm sure I would have heard of FIOS outages from my wife.

    The storm that rolled through last evening (5-7PM EDT) was pretty hairy, lots of downed trees and power outages.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon


      "but I'm sure I would have heard of FIOS outages from my wife."

      How? Do you keep trained carrier pigeons to hand?

      1. Matt Piechota

        Re: Sir

        "How? Do you keep trained carrier pigeons to hand?"

        Good point, but I've been getting fairly regular text messages from her. Even if that didn't work, she's pretty clever and would get word to me via non-Verizon neighbors or just drive to somewhere were VZW works.

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge

    That press release

    Would be a lot more useful if they just said Verizon customers can't make emergency phone calls. Would they like everyone to test if their phone makes emergency calls?

    1. Hud Dunlap

      Thats why I pay for a land line

      It is only for emergencies.

  3. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    "Thats why I pay for a land line

    It is only for emergencies.


    Except, in FIOS markets, your landline would be via th FIOS service -- which is down.

    When my parents had "a certain company" for landline -- I name names, it's CenturyLink, formerly Qwest -- and Verizon Wireless cell phone, CL had several outages while VZW had none. In addition, CL would get fast busies like clockwork around 4 or 5 in the afternoon (which they did, after some years, eventually clear up...), while with VZW I think I got one "all circuits are busy" over like 10 years. I assume as a former part of the Bell system, CenturyLink has the usual huge bank of 48-volt batteries for battery backup, but VZW also has battery and generator backup on their cell sites around here. The cell phones here are more reliable than the landlines. Plus, of course, for an emergency where seconds matter, my cell phone is on me, while the landline, I'd have to find where it's sitting.

    1. swschrad

      loss of backup does NOT take down networks

      VZ is disseminating.. if a fiber cut took out their 911 wireless capability, they had both primary and redundant communications in the same fiber duct. even for 911, the cost and complexity of engineering full redundant alternate path communications, in which nothing in the stream at all is ever within a shovel cut of any other part of the primary path, means it isn't done.

      911 centers connect to 911 routing services, which are connected to phone companies, which you connect to when you grab the phone. to cut costs, increasingly, the routing services are contracted out to whomever. whomevers are not required to be as robust as phone companies.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Inability to call emergency services

    Apparently a small portion of the general public are of the belief that when you dial the emergency services (000, 112, 911, etc…) your otherwise terrestrial GSM phone magically transforms itself into a satellite phone.

    No one seems to be able to explain how this happens… and the telecommunications engineer in me remains sceptical.

    About the only thing that is true is that if you're in an area serviced by a carrier, and you call emergency services, the phone will use any network's tower that it can reach… handy one day when a bushwalker slipped and broke his ankle down in Lammington National Park. My phone service is with Telstra who didn't have coverage where I was standing but I managed to get through to a foreign tower (probably Optus) to get the chopper in. (Had to stand bolt upright too, move 6" and the phone would drop the call.)

    1. raphidae

      Re: Inability to call emergency services

      National roaming is also available as a service from some providers for emergency services. I absolutely need maximum coverage for my work, so my phone w/ national roaming always picks (and gets to use) the strongest/nearest tower, regardless of the network.

      It *is* expensive as hell (but work pays, so who cares), but coverage is excellent and the battery in my phone lasts at least twice as long since it needs less power to transmit.

      The telco's could easily offer everyone this service if they could agree on a traffic swap as with internet peering. But noooo, they all need to invent the imperfect wheel apparently.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Inability to call emergency services

        Yeah, this has nothing to do with roaming. My phone was unable to make regular calls, but 112 (and 000) are special: they get priority and so the foreign tower routes the call regardless since it's an emergency situation.

        The call centre I reached was unable to call me back because I was out of coverage, they had to rely on me calling back on a schedule.

  5. OrneryRedGuy

    Not just Verizon

    The storm was bad enough my wife's T-Mobile connection also went south. Although it bounced right back up quick enough. FIOS, which is a completely separate infrastructure, was unsurprisingly unaffected. Shocker.

  6. the_stone

    ISPs aren't telcos?

    Makes Verizon's lawsuit against FCC for Net Neutrality somewhat farcical.

  7. Vineslave

    ...And still no power

    so unless you have a generator to charge up your phone you can't make a call anyway. Yep that's why I'm in the office: electricity, internet, and COFFEE. No electricity for 2 - 3 more days they say. (What happened to the big discussion about burying cables that happened after Hurricane Sandy?)

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