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Lower Manhattan’s Internet Is Down

"It's affecting multiple layers of government," one City Council staffer told us.

12:42 PM EDT on June 5, 2023

Lower Manhattan skyline

A look at just a few of the people who don’t have internet (Jordan Merrick / Unsplash)

If you're one of the hundreds of thousands people in Lower Manhattan right now that can read this blog post: congratulations! You're one of the lucky ones.

According to Charter Communications, Spectrum's parent company, there's been a massive outage in Lower Manhattan since around 10 a.m.

"We are aware of an issue affecting our Internet, phone and TV customers in Southern Manhattan," Charter spokesperson John Bonomo told Hell Gate in an email. "Our engineers and technicians are working to resolve the matter as soon as possible."

Bonomo couldn't precisely define the outage area other than "well below 14th Street," or say how many customers are affected. Did a rat chew through something? What's the actual problem? "Researching that now," he replied.

One big customer that is currently without internet: City Hall.

"It's affecting multiple layers of government," one City Council staffer told us, who asked not to be named because they weren't authorized to talk to us. 

Brooklyn City Councilmember Lincoln Restler tweeted about the outage, but has not yet responded to our request for comment. Nor has the Mayor's Office. Working from your outerborough home looks pretty sweet right now, except that Microsoft Office's Outlook is also experiencing outages.

Internet at Hell Gate's HQ has also crapped out, but we're making do with some hotspots.

Thanks to a Board of Estimate decision dating back to 1965, a handful of telecom companies have carved the city up into domains: Optimum (whose parent company is Altice) provides service in the Bronx and Southeast Brooklyn, Spectrum covers the rest of the city, and Verizon has slowly expanded their coverage areas across town, following a 2020 legal settlement with the de Blasio administration. Reps for Optimum and Verizon say they're checking whether their customers are affected.

It's also worth noting that late last year, the Adams administration cancelled a $157 million plan laid out years ago to build infrastructure that would provide free or low-cost, high speed internet for more than a million New Yorkers.

We'll update this story as more information trickles in.

[UPDATE / 2:33 p.m.] The internet is still out but Spectrum now says they know why.

"We have identified the problem as a street cut impacting hundreds of fiber-optic strands," spokesperson John Bonomo wrote in an email. "We appreciate our customers' patience while we make the necessary repairs."

No word on when the problem will be fixed.

[UPDATE / 4:11 p.m.] Another update from Bonomo: "We are making good progress on splicing the fiber optic cables. And we are already starting to see recovery of services to our customers. We should be mostly complete by early- to mid-evening."

[UPDATE / 6:08 p.m.] A Council source writes to say that City Hall's internet is back on, but not all customers have been addressed: Hell Gate HQ is still without juice.

[UPDATE / June 6, 9:54 a.m.] Per Bonomo, everything was fixed around 11 p.m. on Monday night. Still no word on who or what caused the "street cut."

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