& cplSiteName &

Charter Internet Outages Blamed on DNS Problems

Mari Silbey
8/26/2014
50%
50%

At a time when broadband is replacing video as cable's core service, Charter Communications suffered major Internet outages in several markets throughout the US over the weekend, based on what appears to have been a domain name server issue.

There were more than 8,000 reports of Charter Communications Inc. Internet failures on Saturday on the website Downdetector, with more customers posting outage stories through additional online forums including Reddit and DSLReports. There has been speculation that the problem may have resulted from a distributed denial-of-service attack. Network World reported that a subscriber in North Carolina claimed that a Charter customer service representative confirmed that the company's DNS servers were hacked. Charter has not yet responded to a Light Reading request for comment.

Whether or not the outages were the result of an attack, many customers were able to restore Internet access by changing DNS settings and connecting to a domain name server not maintained by Charter. Google Public DNS was a popular choice, while OpenDNS was cited as another alternative.

The Internet outage was half the problem for Charter, but the other half was its customer service management. Many customers complained that they could only get a busy signal when trying to call customer support. Plus, while Charter filled up its Twitter stream with commentary on the Emmy awards, there was no statement posted about the Internet issues until Sunday evening. At that time, Charter posted the following on Facebook and Twitter.

"Our teams report services have been restored following an Internet outage that affected multiple markets across our operating area on Saturday, August 23. Our technical teams are monitoring the network closely and continue to investigate the cause of the issue. Thank you for your patience. If you continue to experience issues, please call our 24/7 support team at 888-438-2427."


Get the latest updates on Internet outages and other broadband issues by visiting Light Reading's broadband services content channel.


Charter's unfortunate outage is magnified at a time when cable operators are being hammered in the press for poor customer service. The Verge recently published a multi-part series of stories based on interviews with more than 150 present and former Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) employees. One big takeaway from that series was that Comcast's organizational structure and sales policies make it difficult for the MSO to improve service performance. That conclusion is a serious indictment when Comcast is proposing to expand and complicate its management system even further through its proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC). (See Comcast's TWC Coup: 3 Things to Know.)

At the same time, Charter is also planning to take on several new cable markets when Comcast divests itself of customers and swaps markets with Charter in a follow-on agreement to the Time Warner Cable acquisition. (See Comcast to Send Subs to Charter if TWC Deal Closes.)

Making the timing of Charter's outage even worse is the fact that Internet service is arguably becoming more important for the cable industry than traditional TV offerings. For the first time in the industry's 65-year history, the number of cable broadband subscribers now exceeds the number of cable video subscribers in the US. (See For Cable, Broadband Is the New Video.)

Separately, Charter announced on Monday that it is doubling Internet speeds in southern California, along with adding more HD video channels, and other advanced video and voice features. In a press release announcing the news, Charter President and CEO Tom Rutledge said the MSO "is committed to improving the customer experience. That starts by providing the best voice, TV and Internet services possible at the greatest value to our customers."

But, given the weekend problems, many Charter Internet customers might be a bit skeptical about that right now.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

(12)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
AllKindsOfThings
50%
50%
AllKindsOfThings,
User Rank: Light Beer
2/4/2015 | 4:48:41 PM
Re: Outed
Were you yourself typing this up, and if yes (or you are real close to matters here)  did you intend to say someone was typing up an RFP to replace Nominums DNS suite or did you inted to say that an RFP was typed up for Nominum to go, rip and replace the existing setup by their suite of stuff??

I would like to understand this since at least three organisations I am working with use Nominums stuff on a larger scale. 
sowen557
100%
0%
sowen557,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/27/2014 | 3:10:25 PM
Re: Outed
Nominum rip&replace RFP being typed up right now.
Atlantis-dude
100%
0%
Atlantis-dude,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/27/2014 | 2:37:59 PM
Re: Outed
Can they respond to the outage by re-directing to another DNS such as OpenDNS
kq4ym
100%
0%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/27/2014 | 9:33:59 AM
Re: Outed
It's amazing that providers have yet to figure out how to respond to customers when service problems arise. One would think that the PR departments would have pre-planned just how to react to large outages like the recent DNS problems.
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/27/2014 | 9:28:17 AM
Re: Time Warner Cable OUT
Other reports suggest an outage of at least 90 minutes -- which would have been huge in the era of five-nines reliability. Now, maybe, not so much, although it does make me wonder about how something like this would affect the coming IoT world we are starting to create.
msilbey
50%
50%
msilbey,
User Rank: Blogger
8/27/2014 | 9:22:13 AM
Re: Time Warner Cable OUT
Yes, I'm following that. It appears to be largely resolved, but I've asked for comment.
mendyk
100%
0%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/27/2014 | 8:08:52 AM
Time Warner Cable OUT
Reports this morning of a major nationwide service outage at Time Warner Cable.
Atlantis-dude
50%
50%
Atlantis-dude,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/26/2014 | 2:10:47 PM
DNS
Does Charter run their own service or do they oursource to a third party?
jabailo
50%
50%
jabailo,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/26/2014 | 1:18:24 PM
Re: Outed
I've been with at least two ISPs in the past where their DNS servers went offline, changed addresses, and there were outtages and resulting in my having to do a manual change, or restart to grab the dynamic DNS IP.  
thebulk
100%
0%
thebulk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/26/2014 | 12:41:39 PM
all possible
I think these are all possible, and even if a customer service rep did say the servers were hacked I would not put much faith in that. A lot of misinformation gets thrown around in call centers. 
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Documentaries
YouTube Takes on Facebook Live-Streaming

2|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Popular 'YouTubers' will be the first to get the new service on their smartphones. You have been warned.
LRTV Custom TV
Open Source NFV/SDN Automation

2|17|17   |   05:54   |   (0) comments


AT&T ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy) code is transitioning into the Linux Foundation for placement into open source. In this video, Carol Wilson provides an update on the maturation of open source ECOMP and meets with industry leaders from AT&T, Bell Canada, Orange, Linux Foundation and Amdocs to discuss what this means for the ...
LRTV Documentaries
Uber & NASA Collaborate on Flying Car Project

2|16|17   |     |   (0) comments


Is Uber for real? Well, it's hired NASA engineer Mark Moore to lead the project, and he wouldn't come cheap.
LRTV Documentaries
Zuckerberg Tries Out the Oculus Rift VR Glove

2|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Facebook CEO shows off a new way to interact with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset: an Oculus glove.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Digital Transformation Forum 2017

2|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Here's a preview of the upcoming Huawei Digital Transformation Forum taking place in Barcelona with trending telecom topics like cloud, IoT, 5G and much more!
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Dan Sahar of Qwilt on Open Edge Cloud Platform

2|8|17   |   08:38   |   (0) comments


Dan Sahar, Qwilt's co-founder, sits down with Steve Saunders of Light Reading for a conversation about Qwilt's Open Edge Cloud platform and the new role of service providers in application and content delivery.
LRTV Documentaries
ZeroStack's 'Self-Driving Cloud'

2|7|17   |   01:09   |   (0) comments


Its Z-Brain tech automates day-to-day management and long-term planning for hybrid clouds.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Nominum's Craig Sprosts on DNS & Cybersecurity Trends

2|7|17   |     |   (0) comments


Nominum's Craig Sprosts talks about the fast-changing landscape of cybersecurity with Steve Saunders of Light Reading. Sprosts touches on the trend of the rise of ransomwares, rivals of IoT base attacks, and mobile network security. He also discusses the realization of the importance of IoT security after a recent cyber attack that paralyzed several major ...
LRTV Documentaries
China Moves Towards Mixed Ownership of Telcos

2|1|17   |   01:10   |   (0) comments


Chinese authorities are promoting new ownership models in order to raise capital.
Shades of Ray
What to Expect at MWC 2017

1|31|17   |     |   (0) comments


5G is set to dominate as the key buzz term at this year's Mobile World Congress but there are other pressing 4G matters to address.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa: A Lot More Than SD-WAN

1|31|17   |     |   (0) comments


Kelly Ahuja, the new CEO of Versa Networks, speaks with Steve Saunders of Light Reading about how Versa offers much more than just SD-WAN, and its plan to grow market adoption in 2017.
LRTV Documentaries
Facebook Gets Physical With Its Security Strategy

1|31|17   |   00:48   |   (0) comments


Facebook has introduced new measures that will enable users to secure access to their accounts using a physical 'key' application.
Upcoming Live Events
March 21-22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
T-Mobile CEO: M&A Coming but Not Quite Yet
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/14/2017
Is the Time Right for a Cisco/Ericsson Wedding?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 2/17/2017
Nice to See at Least One CSP Taking My Advice
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 2/17/2017
Time to Invest in Virtual Reality?
P. Tracy Currie, CEO and Co-Founder, Capto Consulting, 2/13/2017
Charter Launches 5G Field Trials
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/16/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.