3 min read

CenturyLink, one of the largest American telecommunications provider, suffered a major outage  that lasted for almost two days, affecting internet, television, and 911 services across the US. The outage started at 17:18 UTC on Thursday and got resolved at 19:49 UTC on Saturday, as per the Century Link’s status page. CenturyLink team was working on fixing the issue and also updated its customers on Twitter about the outage:

As far as the cause of the outage is concerned, CenturyLink might post a detailed analysis on the outage later, however this has not been confirmed by CenturyLink yet. As of now,  Brian Krebs, an independent investigative journalist, posted a copy of a notice on his twitter that was sent to CenturyLink’s core customers. The post gives an insight into what the cause could possibly be.

The post blames a “card” at CenturyLink’s data center in Colorado for “propagating invalid frame packets across devices”. Therefore, to restore the services, the card had to be removed from the equipment along with secondary communication channel tunnels between specific devices. Additionally, a polling filter had to be applied to adjust the way the packets were being received by the equipment.

The outage crippled CenturyLink’s internet, phone, television, and home-security services affecting its customers across several states in the US. Moreover, 911 services were also affected by the outage across several states in the US including Seattle, Washington, Arizona, Minnesota, and Missouri. In this case, the outage affected only cellular calls to 911, and not landline calls.

Emergency alerts were sent to the residents across several states warning them of the outage and an alternate number to 911 was also tweeted out by different police departments.

The US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has launched a public investigation into this outage with FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, calling the outage “completely unacceptable”, and one whose “breadth and duration are particularly troubling”.

“I have spoken with CenturyLink to underscore the urgency of of restoring service immediately. We will continue to monitor this situation closely to ensure that customers’ access to 911 is restored as quickly as possible,” added Pai.

At 1:44 UTC on Saturday, the company updated on its status page that “all consumer services impacted by this event, including voice and 911, have been restored”.

It took more than two days for CenturyLink to give a green signal about the outage getting resolved. The company updated at 19:49 UTC on Saturday, stating that “the network event experienced by CenturyLink Thursday has been resolved. Services for business and residential customers affected by the event have been restored. CenturyLink knows how important connectivity is to our customers, so we view any disruption as a serious matter and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that resulted”.

For more information, check out CenturyLink’s official page.

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Tech writer at the Packt Hub. Dreamer, book nerd, lover of scented candles, karaoke, and Gilmore Girls.