Countywide Internet Outage (Shallow Thoughts)

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.

Mon, 12 Dec 2022

Countywide Internet Outage

Yesterday we had an event that really brought the community together: the entire county lost internet.

When we woke to discover our internet was out, the first step was to pull out a phone and try to load the CenturyLink outage page. But it wasn't loading ; nor was anything else. Apparently both CenturyLink and the Verizon cell network were down, though the phone showed one to two bars, as good as we ever get here at the house without going upstairs to the north deck where we can see the tower directly.

Dave and I tried texting each other; my text to Dave went through after about a twenty-minute delay, but his reply never got to me.

Eventually we grabbed our laptops and hit the road to see if the outage covered all of White Rock. The last time we had an outage, we used the Senior Center's wifi, which has a nice strong signal you can use from their outside picnic area. But they were down too, so we headed to the library. The White Rock library is closed on Sunday, but one of the librarians was there chatting with the growing crowd outside the door. The library's connection, part of the LANet system used by the county, was still up. She was very apologetic that she couldn't let us in, but fortunately, the library seems to have upgraded their wifi router, and the signal was plenty strong outside the door, so we were able to check email and check whether either of the local online papers or the county's website had anything about the outage (no).

We compared notes. Both Comcast and CenturyLink were down. T-mobile was down as well as Verizon, but AT&T phones still had full service.

Sunday is our normal R/C flying day at Overlook, and a good chance to hear people from a wider area. Los Alamos was down too, but folks from the valley weren't having any problems. Also, cellphone service was much better at Overlook: I was able to send and receive texts, and even got a short voice call (but the connection quality was poor). And even the Lab had apparently lost internet.

The best theory we came up with was that something had damaged the fiber link that serves the whole county. The county's own internet is separate, via a microwave link, which is why the libraries were still up when everyone else is down. And Verizon and T-mobile 5g apparently depends on the same fiber link that brings our home internet services; but without that, I suspect we were falling back to old unmaintained 3g or even 2g equipment, which mostly don't work but can occasionally let a call or SMS slip through.

Monday morning, everything was back to normal. There's still nothing in the local papers (Update: a few minutes after I wrote that, this story appeared in the LA Reporter, describing the outage as "a severed fiber-optic cable north of Santa Fe") and rumors are flying on social media: the breakage was in the valley, in Albuquerque, in Santa Fe, somewhere else. It'll be interesting to see how much detail we eventually hear -- and whether this does anything to spur the county's anemic movement toward making broadband available to residents.

Tags: ,
[ 10:54 Dec 12, 2022    More misc | permalink to this entry | ]

Comments via Disqus:

blog comments powered by Disqus