Comcast, Charter, Cox see services go down on Level 3 error

Screenshot of geographic locations from which users reported outages on Level 3's transport network, as of Oct. 21, 2016. (
Image: Down Detector

Level 3 Communications is blaming a configuration error for the backhaul stall that affected the networks of Comcast, Charter, Cox, Verizon and other broadband service providers.

"Our network experienced a service disruption affecting some customers with IP-based services," Level 3 said in a statement. "The disruption was caused by a configuration error.”

Level 3 said its technicians were able to fix the issue, which began at around 1:00 p.m. EST, in about 90 minutes. 

Comcast broadband customers from San Francisco to Boston were impacted on Monday afternoon. Comcast Business Services tweeted, “Some customers are having issues with their XFinity Internet service. We apologize & appreciate your patience while we work to fix.”

For its part, RCN told Wired that it worked around the problem by simply routing traffic to a different backbone. 

According to Wired, the Level 3 problem was the result of a “route leak,” which affects the efficient routing of traffic to the correct IP addresses. Wired reported that Monday’s problem seems to have been the result of human error and not malicious intent. 

The problem could have stemmed from CenturyLink’s attempts to integrate its networks after the recent acquisition of Level 3, the tech pub speculated. Or it could have stemmed from typical network efficiency work.