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East Coast hit with massive internet outage, disrupting remote work and virtual school

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Many people living on America’s East Coast were without Internet for part of Tuesday because of Verizon Fios service issues.

Tens of thousands of people reported outages from Boston to New York to Washington and locations in between, according to, a website that tracks complaints about service disruptions. People also reported outages on several other services, including Gmail, Zoom and Slack as well.

Verizon acknowledged the disruption to its service, although it didn’t say whether problems with Fios were the root cause of customers’ unreliable access to various internet services. Google, Slack and Zoom did not report any outages.

“We are aware of an issue impacting the quality of Fios service throughout the Northeast corridor,” said Rich Young, spokesman for Verizon. “Our network team is fully engaged. We are working through the root cause and have already seen service levels start to restore.”

The US Federal Communications Commission said it was investigating the outage.

“We have seen reports of internet-related outages on the East Coast, making it difficult for people to work remotely and go to school online,” said Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a tweet. “The FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau is working to get to the bottom of what is going on.”

Although Verizon did not explain the cause of the outage, Verizon noted on its verified Twitter account shortly before noon ET that a fiber had been cut in Brooklyn, New York, with no estimated time for a fix.

Fiber cuts can happen for a number of reasons, including accidents during construction, fires or utility problems. It’s not clear what the cause of Tuesday’s fiber cut was.

Internet service companies typically have multiple redundancies built into their network, so when customers lose access to part of the network, other locations will make up for the loss. But the extra, rerouted traffic can make internet speeds slower — particularly when traffic is high, such as when millions of people are working from home.

— CNN’s Brian Fung contributed to this report

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