On March 27, 2016 ANP noticed an older article receiving an unusual amount of attention, which generally highlights that Internet users are searching for a specific event that was similar to something that happened previously and what we found was a number of Internet/Cable/Phone providers were seeing an uptick of reports on outages, from just one service or in some cases a small number were reporting total blackouts.
Strangely enough these outages were not just coming in one particular area or even a specific location for an individual provider but reports were coming in across the country, from east to west, north to south, shown by DownDetector maps for Verizon, Cox, Charter, AT&T with a Sprint report indictaing interruptions in voice and data services on the 28th, throughout the Northeast U.S., in Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
Screen shots of the outage maps below for each company except Sprint were taken at approimately 8am ET on March 29, 2016, corresponding links below the maps.
Granted all providers receive outages reports at one point or another, but some of these issues in overlapping areas from one service to the other have been occurring since Easter day and we are talking multiple service providers, with many of the comments on the linked map pages indicating there has been no answer forthcoming as to what is happening, why they are seeing outages or when their service will be back up without interruptions.
It is noteworthy that Comet 252P, also known as LINEAR, and Comet P/2016 BA14, also known as PanSTARRS, being referred to as "twins" both made their closest approaches to Earth last week, according to Accuweather, but no indication of whether the comets, which reportedly "maintained a safe distance" from Earth could have affected our communications abilities.
Via the Accuweather report we see the following:
With two comets passing within a close proximity of the Earth and both leaving behind a trail of debris, it is possible that they could produce a minor meteor shower around the globe.
"This is highly uncertain, but a very interesting possibility," Samuhel added.
According to EarthSky, if the comets do produce meteors, it will likely be between March 28 and 30.
While there is no indication or official notification that debris from these "twins" are responsible for any of these outages, in the absense of a stated cause we are left to guess.
Another possibility is that the increase of outages being seen not just over the weekend and into the present week, but over the last couple of years, could be indicative of infrastructure slowly and steadily breaking down.
According to Gizmodo from March 2015, "Most of America's telecommunications infrastructure relies on outdated technology, and it runs over the same copper cables invented by Alexander Graham Bell over 100 years ago. This copper infrastructure—made up of "twisted pair" and coaxial cables—was originally designed to carry telephone and video services. The internet wasn't built to handle streaming video or audio."
Whatever the reason is for the increasing frequency of Internet outages, our analytics tell us that more and more people are searching for information on Internet outages across America,most likely because it is A) Affecting them or B) They are worried it will affect them.
Below an interesting, quick description of how the Internet actually works.