Comcast outage hits Boston, east-coast cities

East coast cable Internet users hit by outage, Twitter suggests DNS problem

Comcast's cable Internet service on the U.S. east coast was hit with problems late Sunday that left many users unable to access the Internet.

The outage affected at least Boston, the company said, but comments on Twitter pointed to service being down in several other cities including Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.

"Our engineers are working very aggressively to fix the problem," said Doreen Vigue, a Boston-based spokeswoman for Comcast. She said she didn't have any specific information about the cause of the fault or the cities affected beyond Boston.

Twitter postings point to a DNS (domain name system) server problem.

DNS is the system that converts human-friendly Internet address like "" into a numeric Internet address, which are vital to Internet communications. If the DNS servers go down there's no way for a user's PC to address data correctly and so communication stops.

Several users said their connections returned to normal when they switched their PC's settings from Comcast's DNS servers to those of Google or the Open DNS project.

Comcast's website doesn't have any information about the outage, but the latest posting on a customer care Twitter account said, "Engineers still working to resolve, unfortunately I do not have an ETA for the issue at this time."

The outage comes on the eve of "cyber Monday," one of he busiest days for electronic commerce in the U.S.

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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