Widespread internet outages hit northeast U.S.

FILE - In this Aug. 11, 2019, file photo, an iPhone displays the Facebook app in New Orleans. Users across the northeast U.S. reported widespread internet outages Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. Verizon reported a fiber cut in Brooklyn via Twitter, although its not clear if that issue is responsible for the entire outage. According to DownDetector and user reports on Twitter, the problem appears to extend from Washington to Boston, and is affecting internet and cloud providers as well as a number of Google services, Facebook and other major sites. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 11, 2019, file photo, an iPhone displays the Facebook app in New Orleans. Users across the northeast U.S. reported widespread internet outages Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. Verizon reported a fiber cut in Brooklyn via Twitter, although its not clear if that issue is responsible for the entire outage. According to DownDetector and user reports on Twitter, the problem appears to extend from Washington to Boston, and is affecting internet and cloud providers as well as a number of Google services, Facebook and other major sites. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Internet users across the northeast U.S. experienced widespread outages for several hours Tuesday, interrupting work and school because of an unspecified Verizon network issue.

“An internet issue impacting the quality of our Fios service throughout the Northeast has been resolved," said spokesman Rich Young in an emailed statement Tuesday afternoon. He said service levels “are returning to normal" and the company is investigating what happened. The service interruptions were unrelated to a cut fiber in Brooklyn, New York, which caused problems for people in the area.

There are about 6.5 million Fios internet customers.

People posting on Twitter reported having issues connecting with various online services in the region stretching from Washington, D.C., to Boston. That densely populated area includes key U.S. government services as well as major financial companies such as Fidelity Investments.

Disruptions to internet services are always a hassle, but have become even more excruciating as the pandemic forces millions of people to work from home and students to attend school remotely.

Diana Gaspar's daughter in New York couldn't connect to her online classroom because their home internet was spotty for a couple of hours in the afternoon, although her daughter was able to log in with Gaspar's phone.

“We didn't see it as a major issue," Gaspar said. “The only inconvenience was me not having my phone.”

For the Fairfax County Public Schools in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, teachers and students found workarounds, such as switching to another instruction platform if one wasn't working, said spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell. When her third-grade daughter's teacher couldn't log on to the education software they were using, a gym teacher came on to tell kids to do independent learning instead, said Fairfax parent Tracy Compton.