BOISE — A massive internet outage Thursday disrupted day-to-day operations of CenturyLink customers across the country, including in the Boise area.
The outage began early in the morning and was ongoing through the evening, affecting people from New York to California, according to the Associated Press.
Cheryl Dearborn, director of telecommunications for Idaho’s Department of Administration, estimated that roughly 30 percent of state offices in Idaho were having issues. Others operated as usual.
“We have redundant internet services, so the state internet is up,” Dearborn said.
The outage disrupted the Idaho Department of Correction’s inmate phone system and JPay system, according to the department’s Facebook page. JPay is the department’s system that allows inmates to communicate with individuals outside of the prison as well as exchange money and make payments.
The Idaho Department of Education was also affected. In a post on Twitter, the department said its phones were down but it could still be reached via email. A release from the department said it expected the internet to be down anywhere from 24 to 48 hours.
The Idaho Lottery is unable to sell draw game tickets or validate and pay claims on winning tickets until the service outage disruption is solved, according to a tweet.
Due to the outage, Idaho Central Credit Union’s call center and some ATMs were out of service, according to the organization. A post on its Facebook page listed ATMs still in service but warned of some limited transaction availability.
The Boise Public Library initially reported an internet outage for their public computers in an Instagram post earlier Thursday, followed by a post two hours later saying the city of Boise’s IT team had fixed the issue and computers were available again for public use.
CenturyLink officials did not respond to a request for comment Thursday. The company posted on social media at 10 a.m. Thursday that their “network is experiencing a disruption affecting customer services,” but did not provide details about the cause. A post six hours later acknowledged the issue was persisting and that “CenturyLink engineers and technicians are working to address the issue”.
Our network is experiencing a disruption affecting customer services. We understand some customers are currently unable to generate tickets through the CenturyLink help portal. We know how important these services are, we are working to restore services as quickly as possible.— CenturyLink (@CenturyLink) December 27, 2018
Dearborn said some small rural offices in Idaho may be affected if they don’t have additional internet contracts, but many do.
“We specifically designed our network and our service because of issues like this,” said Jeff Weak, administrator of IT Services for the administration department.
“For us it’s not a huge impact,” he said.
CenturyLink, based in Monroe, Louisiana, has roughly 4.84 million customers in over 60 countries, according to its 2018 third quarter report. The number of customers affected was not clear Thursday.
The outage created issues in other parts of the country regarding medical and emergency services, the Associated Press reports.
At North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, Colorado, doctors and nurses for a time had difficulty accessing patient records. Rather than using digital devices, they had to take notes with pencil and paper, according to the Greeley Tribune.
WyoLotto officials said they would postpone announcing Wyoming’s winning state lottery numbers and winnings for the day until after the outage was over.
Washington media outlets reported 911 difficulties in western Washington. Similar reports of 911 difficulties were made in other states including Montana and Arizona.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.