Digital subscriber line customers in the Northeast have been plagued with
network problems that have left many without services for nearly a month.
At one point, DSL business and residential customers in almost 75 percent
of Massachusetts and cities throughout the Northeast couldn’t establish a
connection, and those that could, reported sluggish download speeds.
That, coupled with a reported spam attack which crippled five of Verizon’s
email servers Wednesday morning, has many customers wondering what
officials are doing to keep the networks up and running.
As these systems come back online, many customers are wondering whether
future incidents will take as long to resolve. Affected customers said
Verizon officials were slow to even acknowledge a breakdown of its network.
Larry Plumb, Verizon spokesperson, said that as of Monday there had been no
network outages in the Northeast region, just some slow throughput
problems. This, despite a voice mail message at its main customer support
number telling customers to remain patient until technicians resolved the
Repeated requests for information were ignored.
In a letter obtained by internetnews.com from one affected customer, dated
Nov. 17, Verizon tech support staff acknowledged a problem in its network:
“…I do apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused
you. Unfortunately, we are not able to contact you via the telephone
because we do not have the facilities to contact you with. We are
currently experiencing a network outage in your area. At this time,
network engineers are actively working on the issue and are taking step to
prevent a similar outage in the future.
We realize that, because of the overwhelming response of our customers, our
level of quality has not kept pace with the growth of our business. We are
constantly working to improve the quality of our service, and I am sure
that any future issues will be resolved in a timely and efficient manner.”
The slow throughput problem refers to the speed at which DSL customers
upload and download pages while surfing on the Internet. While the speed
rates vary, Verizon DSL promises download speeds between 256Kbps and 7.1Mbps.
Customers have been experiencing 90 percent slow downs in some areas, with
many getting download rates of 34Kbps, a speed considered slow for most
dial up connections. The problem, which reportedly began with a technician
in the Jamaica Plains area of Boston, has since expanded to New Jersey, New
York and Pennsylvania.
Craig Bolon, president of Brookline, MA-based software development company
Planwright Systems Corp., said the outages have been ongoing and spreading
throughout the Northeast.
“This is a really long-running problem with Verizon, although they are
working very hard to fix the problem, it’s clearly a major problem,” Bolon
said. “One of the Verizon techs said three-fourths of Massachusetts area
was down and that it’s spreading to New Jersey and New York.
“From what I understand, (Verizon’s) techs are literally working around the
clock to solve the problem,” Bolon continued. “They’re even giving rebates
for two months off of billing, but if you’re a business depending on DSL
service that doesn’t mean much. They’re obviously trying to do the right
thing, but the problem is gotten out of hand.”
The problem could be indicative of a network-wide malaise throughout
Verizon’s coverage area, which covers much of the East Coast, Midwest and
West Coast. A look at Verizon Online’s DSL system status Web
site shows connectivity issues throughout its coverage area, with no
repair time in sight.