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Networking The Internet

CenturyLink's Nationwide Outage Affects Millions 105

Posted by timothy
from the experiencing-seems-a-gentle-verb dept.
halfEvilTech writes "CenturyLink, the nation's third largest telco network, is experiencing an outage of its broadband service nationwide, leaving its support systems overwhelmed and even causing its website to hit a few snags this morning. The company, which at last count has 5.8 million broadband subscribers, has no estimates yet on how long it will take to restore service." CenturyLink is the company that will be providing the Defense Department with the equivalent of Internet2.
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CenturyLink's Nationwide Outage Affects Millions

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  • Once upon a qwest (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reverand Dave (1959652) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @01:03PM (#43655687)
    After CenturyLink "partnered" with Qwest they pretty much became a pariah in my book. Qwest was just a terrible terrible mess and apparently CenturyLink is keeping their spirit alive.
    • by sl3xd (111641) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @01:21PM (#43655941) Journal

      It's Qwest's famouse Spirit of Service

      For CenturyLink, it was probably a good deal: They get to be a Tier-1 peer, instead of having to pay extortion fees like TIER-2 and 3.

      It was a very good deal for Qwest's customers. They went from being limited to 1.5 Mbit to being able to buy "up to" 40 Mbit...

      I dumped CenturyLink/Qwest long before then, but my brother supposedly got close to 30 Mbit measured.

      Like most telecom idiots, CenturyLink has a 12-month "introductory rate", and they won't negotiate. Since all of their competitors do the same, the practice has become switching networks every year, after the introductory rate expires. The same applies if you have Cable or Satellite TV; customers just switch every year for a lower rate.

      I really don't see how being so boneheaded helps either company, but that's telecom in the USA.

      • by Nyder (754090)

        It's Qwest's famouse Spirit of Service

        For CenturyLink, it was probably a good deal: They get to be a Tier-1 peer, instead of having to pay extortion fees like TIER-2 and 3.

        It was a very good deal for Qwest's customers. They went from being limited to 1.5 Mbit to being able to buy "up to" 40 Mbit...

        I dumped CenturyLink/Qwest long before then, but my brother supposedly got close to 30 Mbit measured.

        Like most telecom idiots, CenturyLink has a 12-month "introductory rate", and they won't negotiate. Since all of their competitors do the same, the practice has become switching networks every year, after the introductory rate expires. The same applies if you have Cable or Satellite TV; customers just switch every year for a lower rate.

        I really don't see how being so boneheaded helps either company, but that's telecom in the USA.

        I had Qwest, then Centurylink took over and they kicked me off the service because I "download" too much.

        I was pissed, but in hindsight, i got the better of the deal.

      • CenturyLink jacked my rates up, but I called them, they gave me a new deal. What's surprising about it is, in my BFE town, they are the only game in town, unless I pay over $100 a month for cable plus internet from Suddenlink.

      • by ahoffer0 (1372847)

        I saved a bundle switching from Comcast to Century Link. I get 8 Mbps/down which is fine for my Netflix and other streaming needs. If the price goes up, I'll just switch back to Comcast on one of their introductory plans. Then again, in a year from now, it is likely that HSPA+ and LTE wireless broadband will be competitive with Comcast and Century link in terms of price for my personal bandwidth needs.

        It's a good time to be a customer.

        PS: I'm lucky. My Century Link connection is still up.

      • People tend to switch every 2 years, as that's when the contracts expire. Other than that, you're totally right.
        • by sl3xd (111641)

          I suppose it depends on the area; the contract lengths for home Internet service are actually zero in my area - from both Comcast, and CenturyLink. The introductory rates are still good for 6 months to a year.

          State & local regulations, maybe?

    • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @01:27PM (#43656061) Journal

      Qwest was the only telco to refuse warrantless wiretaps during the Bush era. I was happily a Qwest customer until they got bought out by CenturyLink. I would switch immediately to any telco that guaranteed refusal of any unwarranted requests. Unfortunately, none exist.

    • by Jawnn (445279)
      Our data networking and VOIP service were spotless while QWest was running the show. After the move to CenturyLink customer service (which, to be fair, was never great) because a joke. I do not exaggerate, it took weeks to have simple issues resolved. Stability and reliability of their network has, clearly, also suffered, but it's the useless customer service that has us moving all of our traffic to a new carrier soon. Today's mess is just an underscore.
      • by Obfuscant (592200)
        As an anecdote on the other side of the coin, Qwest installed my DSL on the wrong (second) phone line, and lied to me about getting a static IP to get me to sign up. They then lied to the PUC when I complained, saying they never told me any of that.
    • by Sperbels (1008585)
      Well, I've been nothing but happy with Qwest/Century Link. Have very fast DSL through them. My experience with Comcast has been: promised speeds that were never achieved (although, still generally faster than DSL), frequent service distruptions, and I feel like I'm talking to a car salesman whenever I talk to them. I recently had to go back to Comcast after moving. It took me 10 seconds to tell them exactly what I wanted, then it took another 10 minutes to tell them I didn't want all the extra stuff the
      • When you have one master that punches and kicks you, then you get a master that just punches you, they do seem like a much more benevolent master despite the fact that they are both mistreating you, it's just a matter of degree.
    • by hurfy (735314)

      Can't tell the diference here....

      Outage didn't affect us...as far as i know...
      We were down due to local problems at the same time but the line next door worked.....until they fixed this line then the other went down...sigh. Somehow fixing and rebooting my line down the street killed the modem for next door...whatever.

      Generally been fine up until this year when they alternate breaking the dialtone and internet (never both,wtf) each month. 5 service calls this year between 2 accounts...not impressed.

  • My DSL is up. It's either fixed or didn't involve my part of the system.

    CenturyLink (formerly Qwest in my case) has been very reliable during the past year. You get the rate you pay for as well.

    • by tilante (2547392)
      Mine was down this morning, but I can ping my home box and SSH to it now from work. Looks like it's fixed in my area (Tallahassee, Florida). My past experience is that CenturyLink is reliable - at least, more so than Comcast, which is my only other broadband option that doesn't involve satellite or the like.
    • My DSL is up. It's either fixed or didn't involve my part of the system.

      My DSL is up. It's either fixed or didn't involve my nation of the system.

    • by jerk (38494)

      Same here. I was streaming video last night as I went to bed and have been logged on to my VPN from work all morning. If it went down, it was between 11:30pm and 8am MST.

    • by tipo159 (1151047)
      Mine is up as well. No sign that there was a problem today.
  • No estimates (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rich0 (548339) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @01:21PM (#43655945) Homepage

    Having dealt with having to provide estimates on service restoration at work, my experience is that by the time you can figure out what it would take to restore service, it won't be long before service is actually restored.

    I'm not saying that providing status updates isn't good practice. However, it is usually rare that you'll get an ETA on something being fixed. Maybe if they discover it is a broken line and they actually have to dig it up and fix it and that will take hours you might get an ETA. Usually root cause analysis is 95% of the work in problem solving.

    Reminds me of a story at work when some developers decided to actually try to embrace the outsourcing model that was being pushed by management. They sent a list of bugs to the outsourced development team and asked for estimates to fix them. They replied, "no problem, just tell us which lines of code to modify and how and we'll take care of it." Now, THAT is a value-add!

    • Odd. When I called the support line (which I always do in the case of an outage, to see if the recording tells me it's a known issue) at around 9AM Eastern, the Estimate restoration was 7PM. Obviously, they beat that by several hours.

      Maybe it's a regional thing, but I usually get estimates, even if they do go a little heavy on the Scotty coefficient.

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        Well, they can always make something up to keep you from calling back.

        A manager in our operations support group once explained the situation to some internal customers - if the system is down, do you want everybody available to be fixing the problem, or do you want them to spend their time telling people that it is under control? (Mind you, this was only for internal customers.) The ultimate decision was that for very short outages they'd just deal with it, and once it was taking more than 15min they'd st

  • by johnlcallaway (165670) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @01:21PM (#43655955)
    .. they didn't promise the same access!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @01:26PM (#43656045)

    Western states in the former Qwest footprint seem to be up and running ok. East Coast Legacy Centurylink seems to be not having a good time of it though.

    Suffice it to say, the sky is not falling and Centurylink is not pulling a "u-verse" on it.

  • I don’t know exactly what is causing the problem, but when I used to be on Time Warner, we once went down for 4 days due to a DNS issue. I just modified the router settings to go to Google’s DNS servers and my problem was solved.
  • I had CL DSL for over 10 years.
    I'm only 2600' from the CO, but the best they would sell me was 7mbs.
    So I switched to Comcast and get 22mbs, *and* native IPv6, for less than I was paying CL.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I didn't notice any downtime.

    Centurylink keeps raising their prices and lowering their bandwidth. I started out at 25 mbit fiber to the house. Then it went to 20, then 15, finally 10.

    Prices went up in the meantime so I downgraded to 3 mbit. However they implement the cap seems to work worse than I'd expect. They also require a 1 year contract to get the "discount" rates and it has a $200 cancellation fee even though I don't lease a router and I've been a customer for 5 years.

    Overall the local office has top

  • Sounds like it might be more like Internet0.

  • by rot26 (240034)
    That always happens when they turn up the pipe to Bluffdale.
  • CenturyLink is the company that will be providing the Defense Department with the equivalent of Internet2.

    Sleep Tight!

    • by Keruo (771880)
      Maybe they were trying to implement security by air-gap and unplugged the wrong cord, accidentally achieving it.
      Security by accident - now there's new sales pitch for their sales team to use.
  • I've used them for years and years (only broadband in my area). In general it's been a good service, but when they screw the pooch they go above and beyond. I'll never forgive them for leaving me with huge latency for 3 months. If I ever have a choice in broadband they will be gone.

    http://ask.slashdot.org/story/12/03/06/175223/ask-slashdot-what-is-an-acceptable-broadband-latency [slashdot.org]

  • I have been working since 8 AM Eastern Time as a telecommuter and my CenturyLink DSL has been up without so much as an SSH session disconnecting all day. I live in SW Florida and my colleagues tell me they're having problems but perhaps the outage is not as widespread as publicized or it's affecting DNS and I use OpenDNS instead of my ISP's DNS for filtering sites I don't want my kids to browse such as adult content.

    In my experience, Cable modems were far less stable than DSL. I had Comcast for a while and

  • Wow. Then I wonder what service I'm using if not CLink in the PNW? I'm not experiencing the outages so I guess `nationwide' is a bit over-the-top.
  • I am complainimng to Centurylink for about a week about their service overwhelmed. Latency times of 700+ ms right out my door - countless emails with traceroute logs bring no change - clueless customeer support. With Qwest nthing like that happpened!!!
  • That caused the Three-Mile Island disaster. They should have learned their lesson.

  • I can't even get Qworst ... I mean Century Link DSL at my home office in a major suburb of Denver not 5 miles from downtown! WTF???

  • The media reporting of this outage as occurring on May 7 is flat wrong. They're off by 4 days. Centurylink's network outage began at ~12:25 CST May 3 and ended at ~01:00 CST May 4. Following are the entries from my mail server log that show the start, end, and duration of the outage. Note the flurry of queued deliveries occurring after IP routing was restored at 01:02 May 4. You can clearly see there are no client connections between 12:20 CST May 3 and 01:02 CST May 4, about 12.5 hours. I called the

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