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Emergency 911 services knocked out due to this ISP’s massive data outage

Are you having problems contacting your local emergency services? If so, you’re not the only one. Major outages were reported all across the U.S. since Thursday, and people seeking 911 assistance were met with busy tones instead.

Not only that, but people were having problems with their internet, phone and TV connections, too. These services were down for hours.

What’s happening? Read on and see what this latest widespread outage is all about.

CenturyLink is down

Emergency 911 services across the U.S. have been offline since Thursday due to the widespread outages reported at several CenturyLink data centers.

Local counties all over the country reported 911 call center outages for hours, affecting multiple states including Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and even parts of Canada.

Data outages for Internet Service Providers (ISP) are not uncommon, but since CenturyLink provides the backbone for many U.S. emergency services, a prolonged outage like this one can have a significant impact throughout the country.

And aside from 911 services, the outage impacted data, phone and TV services for many areas. Many CenturyLink residential subscribers were left without internet access due to the outage. The downtime even affected Verizon customers in areas where CenturyLink handles network data traffic for wireless carriers.

ATMs were reportedly down throughout Idaho and Montana, and Wyoming had to postpone the announcement of the state’s winning lottery numbers. The North Colorado Medical Center had to go old school and took notes with pen and paper due to the outage.

What caused the CenturyLink outage?

CenturyLink has not provided any details about the source of the outage but it did update its customers via Twitter.

By the end of Thursday, the company tweeted that its engineers have identified a “network element” that was impacting customer services. At that time, they estimated that their services will be restored within four hours.

However, CenturyLink tweeted early Friday morning that its technicians discovered “additional technical problems” while their service restoration was underway. This meant that some areas still had service disruptions through Friday.

As of this writing, there is still no definite timetable to when CenturyLink services in all areas will be fully restored.

That unknown “network element” is troubling, though. Was it just an internal network glitch? Or was it a deliberate and malicious cyberattack? Well, until CenturyLink discloses more details about this incident, we’ll never know for sure.

How about you? Were you affected by the CenturyLink outage? Drop us a comment!

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