Verizon outage strikes nationwide

Users of phones such as the Droid and the BlackBerry are reporting a widespread Verizon outage. The company says it is working on the problem.

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    Verizon outage? You're not alone. Verizon says it is working on fixing widespread outages on its data network.
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Hundreds of consumers are flocking to online discussion boards to report a Verizon outage across the carrier's network, a problem that Verizon says it is working to fix. Outage time appears to vary, but some Verizon users say they have been unable to access the Web or email for hours. Crucially, the issues center on faulty Internet and data connections – Verizon phone service appears to be unaffected.

"I haven't had Internet or email access all morning (4:30 am EST when I woke up). How sad that this could happen," a user in Cincinnati wrote today on a Droid forum. "How pathetic that Verizon doesn't post something up on their site." Judging by the message boards, the Midwest and South seem to have been hit harder by the outages than the coasts. "Mine started going haywire last night," an Indiana Droid fan posted this morning.

Tim Stevens at Engadget confirms that Verizon is aware of the outages, although the company has not said how soon the issues could be resolved. "We'd advise not calling and bothering the support folks about this – based on how long we were on hold we're guessing they have their hands full at the moment," Stevens counseled. Many forum participants seem to agree, although that hasn't stopped others from flooding switchboards with complaints.

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The outage comes at a time when Verizon is jostling with AT&T for shares of the US market. AT&T, of course, has outage problems of its own: Heavy traffic from iPhone users has bogged down the AT&T data network. Meanwhile, there are widespread concerns that the forthcoming Apple iPad, which will utilize a 3G connection, could bring AT&T data speeds to a screeching halt.

Another take on this story: Keeping modern, networked systems up and running is tough. As features grow, so does complexity. Just look at the Sony PlayStation Network problem that crippled PS3s Sunday night. A simple clock bug temporarily turned many consoles into fancy bricks. More on that story here.

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