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Verizon Outage Affects Internet Users In The Northeast

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

For some of you, the Internet might be your classroom now or your workplace. For a lot of people in the Northeast yesterday, Verizon FiOS Internet suddenly wasn't working.

SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

Genevieve Cruz (ph) is a designer in Silver Spring, Md. Her son, who's in ninth grade, was on his lunch break.

GENEVIEVE CRUZ: He started experiencing, I guess, lagging on his computer. So I'm looking on Verizon. And then I notice on my end, 'cause I work remote, my server to my company went down.

MCCAMMON: Cruz says her son's online learning software would not work. He missed his last two classes. She found a way to work, but the outage was worrying.

CRUZ: I was just hoping that it wasn't going to put all of us down. That's all we rely on now with the virtual classes, me working remote.

MARTIN: So how big was this? Travis Wright is vice president of products at Ookla. The company's website Downdetector tracks outages through user reports. Wright says it was clear Verizon's service was having a problem.

TRAVIS WRIGHT: You know, at sort of the peak of user complaint volume - I'm just double-checking here - you know, we were seeing, you know, 15 to 20,000 reports a minute, which is quite a large number for this particular company.

MARTIN: Large, but he has seen bigger. Wright thinks this outage got attention because of how much we've come to depend on Internet service providers.

WRIGHT: We're all our own IT support now (laughter) at home, for our kids and families and everything else. And so it's different. We pay a little bit more attention to it.

MCCAMMON: Mariely Lopez-Santana is a political scientist in Annandale, Va. Yesterday, she was also IT support for her first-grader. After two hours of class time, the school district sent a message to have her son work on his own.

MARIELY LOPEZ-SANTANA: Well, he had a meltdown. You know, he's pretty independent. But of course, he needs some type of guidance, and suddenly there's no guidance. So in the end, we read a book, and that was that.

MARTIN: In a statement to NPR, Verizon said the issue affected service throughout the Northeast. It is resolved now, but the company is still trying to figure out what caused it.

(SOUNDBITE OF DATA REBEL'S "AS IT FADES") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.