Internet Outages Throughout the U.S.


Photo Credit: abc.net.au

Sanampreet Kaur Bhullar – Perspectives Writer

Internet outages by leading internet service providers, such as Xfinity and AT&T, have been reported these past few weeks. With a majority of individuals at home, the means to stay connected and informed has turned digital, but as a result, outages have become increasingly common.

 In a survey published by the Pew Research Center*, it was reported that nine out of ten U.S. adults believed that an interruption to their internet and cellular service would be a significant interruption to their daily life.

This same survey also determined that 27% of individuals found digital connections to be an effective alternative to in-person contact. It was also roughly reported that about three-fourths of Americans have used email and messaging services to communicate with others; thus, outages in internet services create severe implications for those navigating a digital lifestyle. Earlier this year in March, the Federal Communications Commission** had granted T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon temporary access to more airwaves to keep Americans connected during the pandemic. However, this hasn’t been the most effective due to network congestion. The most common reason why an outage occurs is network congestion.

 Network congestion is caused when there are too many people trying to access a network at once, within a specific area. These issues have mainly been reported on college campuses, public libraries, college dorms, and wireless networks.

Benedictine reported its first outage of Fall 2020 this past week on September 23rd through September 24th. The outage lasted around a day, and the internet circuit, along with resources such as MyBenU, VPN, wireless, and a wired internet connection, were affected.

As a result, slower than usual speeds for D2L were noticed among students. This issue impacted students to a degree, as most courses are conducted online and rely on a stable internet connection. However, students that live on campus suffered little to no issues as WiFi in the dorms was not affected. While we continue to stay at home these next few months, stable internet must be accessible to those that need it.

*https://www.pewresearch.org/methods/2019/02/27/growing-and-improving-pew-research-centers-american-trends-panel/

**https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-grants-att-and-verizon-temporary-spectrum-access-during-pandemic