By Gillian Friedman and William P. Davis
An internet outage disrupted work from home and remote learning on the East Coast on Tuesday, with some Verizon Fios users unable to rely on popular services such as Zoom and Slack that have become essential during the pandemic.
The outage was first reported on social media around noon and started to clear up about 90 minutes later, though it was not fully resolved. The website Down Detector showed users had reported problems all along the Northeast corridor and into Western Pennsylvania, and the outage attracted the attention of the Federal Communications Commission.
The commissioner of the F.C.C. said on Twitter that the “Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau is working to get to the bottom of what is going on.”
Verizon said on Twitter that a fiber optic cable had been cut in Brooklyn, but it was not clear if that was the only cause of the outage. The company did not immediately return a request for more information. Zoom said its services were “degraded,” but other companies, including Google, said their systems weren’t experiencing any issues.
With many workplaces and schools operating remotely, commonplace internet outages now raise new complications for parents and workers.
Jesse Friedman, 37, tweeted at Verizon asking the company for an official statement acknowledging the problem. His son, a seventh grader in Warwick, R.I., has been unable to log in to his virtual classes because of the disruption, and Mr. Friedman said he needed an official explanation to give to the school.
“I don’t know that the school necessarily has a mechanism for understanding when something is down, so we have to provide some level of proof that something occurred that’s out of our hands, to prevent him from being absent,” he said.
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