Comcast Doesn’t Know Why The Outage


If you are the leading broadband company in the planet – nearly 7 million customers – then it doesn’t look good when you say we don’t know what is the real reason why there has been an outage in your broadband network. Excuse me… what kind of a shop are you running? reports Comcast spokeswoman as saying “We want our customers to know we are making every effort under the sun to address these issues.”

Though they don’t know exactly what the problem is, they know where it is, Comcast said: in a collection of computer hardware and software that directs Web surfers to their desired location. That system – called a domain name server – exists in two locations: Philadelphia and Denver.

The system was conked out for between three to six hours last Thursday night, and earlier on Tuesday. GigaOM readers are reporting more outages even now. “The very least we can do is withhold their outrageously high daily rates until they fix the problem and/or learn to shape up in the area of customer service,'” David W. Zuckerman, a research coordinator for an educational group in Baltimore, wrote in an e-mail to Associated Press.



I would love to change from comcast, problem is that they have a MONOPOLOY in my area. I could alway’s go back to AOL.


People love using the word Monopoloy and don’t understand, Natural monopolys are legal, maybe you need to take a business class to understand the diffrence, Go into your modem diags make sure your foward signal on your internet frequency is (Probably 693mhz) -8 or higher make sure your return power level is 55 or lower if it is not then get the cable tech to make it so.



Haha doesn’t have 100% uptime? Tell you what, if you can show me 30 seconds or more when they were down, I’ll give you 4 cases of your favorite beer. Hell, make it 5 seconds. If you can’t then you send ME the beer. Hope you have a big wallet as I don’t drink the cheap crap. In 4+ years they have NEVER had ANY DNS down time, Mr. Robertson. In fact, if entire continents sunk into the ocean, they’d still be providing DNS a they have 5 redundant name servers in use spread out across the globe. A for effort, F for execution, Mr. Robertson . Sorry it took so long to reply but I never actually read this site.

Bob Robertson

Yes DNS can be very complex, when you are managing something for THAT many people and connections. doesn’t have 100% uptime, that just shows that you are wrong. And as far as the service, as the other guy wrote, if you don’t like it, quit bitching and threarening and just switch. Switch or shut it up

Uneducated People

First, have any of you run a DNS solution for 7 million people? 1 million? What about a national provider (not one locality), with any significant customer base? If you are educated on DNS, and experienced with a national provider, you MAY understand the complexities involved. Sure, Comcast’s response, or initial lack thereof, can reasonably be subject to complaint.

Glithcy connection. I always hate the ‘coincidence people’… like as soon as Comcast bought AT&T Broadband ‘my connection went bad’ people. The problem was, not ONE change was made to the service/connection/network for some time after. These issues can be an RF issue. With DNS, you often won’t loose all your connections, just cannot establish new ones. Write down an IP address, and maybe your gateway IP… when you have a problem, ping them. RF/signal problems effect ALL services… DSL, satellite, wireless, cable, T1 and others.

I love people who ‘threaten’ to switch (regarding anything). Just do it, IF it’s really the best option. Comcast is a GREAT service, overall. No one really offers what they do, price/performance – for residential. There ARE other options, DSL, satellite, wireless, POTS and in some areas other cable (overbuild) providers.

As far as slow update times… you obviously don’t understand how DNS works. DNS is a distributed database. Comcast, or any provider, doesn’t get “updates” at any interval. Each domain (zone) / DNS record has an ‘expiration’ (time to live) time. DNS caching is crucial to DNS working efficiently, or just plain working (in today’s environment). When a provider has a lot of customers, more than likely a record will be cached (due to another person already requesting it). When that record is updated, it will only be seen once the cached entry expires and a new resolution takes place. On smaller DNS servers, since no one else may have requested (resulting in a cached entry) a record, the initial lookup would therefore find the latest record. This is ALL controlled by the ‘hostmaster’ of the domain in question.

The two primary locations for DNS are redundant, either are setup to take over for the other. There are many additional complexities involved.

Complain, complain, complain… before doing so, become at last somewhat educated. There was a definite problem here, a huge problem… DNS resolution was extremely slow, and timed-out for most people.


Hey Sam, I bet Ann Arbor is well served by DirecTV… and you can probably get DSL from your telco for your IP.

Gary Lerhaupt

i’ve quickly become a frustrated comcast customer. they’re probably getting hacked and don’t want to admit it.

Sunil Chhaya

I just wanted people to know that it’s noon on Friday the 15th and I’m still having a glitchy comcast connection. It has been off every evening for the last week, and this is a real annoyance. Once you start taking broadband for granted, you start relying on it for a whole number of things.

Someone said they use a different DNS server – how does one go about doing that?

Sam Abuelsamid

I called comcast yesterday to complain, and threatened to switch to DSL. The rep transferred to someone else who gave me credit on my current bill for the outages, reduced my monthly rate to $35 and then gave me a real shock. Unprompted by me, she informed that “Comcast is not a monopoly”. After trying to explain to her what the definition of monopoly is, I have spent hours scouring my yellow pages for another cable tv provider that will service my area but have so far been unsuccesful. If anyone knows a cable provider in the Ann Arbor, MI area besides comcast, please let me know so I can switch.

Steve Stroh

When I was a Comcast customer, they had DNS issues continuously. When I was doing work in transferring web content to a new server, I discovered that their DNS was very slow to update to changes that the rest of the Internet picked up very quickly. When I started using another DNS, then use of Comcast became pretty pleasant. Dealing with their billing is an exercise is frustration, though.


I have Comcast, and I haven’t had a blip of a problem whatsoever lately, and it occurs to me that I haven’t been using Comcast’s DNS servers for ages.

They’ve had DNS issues in the past, this is not the first time. I’ve had pointed my router box at the DNS servers at my work this whole time and thought everyone else was insane.

Thanks for reminding me :)

Yes, Comcast is completely clueless. I don’t know if Verizon FIOS is any better, but that’s supposed to be activated sometime this year in these parts. The fiber is on the poles running by my house already…


I don’t understand the technology behind my broadband connection very well, but I have to say that at least they are honest about the situation.

Here in Australia the largest ISP is Telstra, and they never admit there is even a problem most of the time. That is truly frustrating!

Om Malik

yeah… the funny thing is the media is not calling them on it. i have a better idea and am working on a biggish piece and should be able to finish it tomorrow – just surprised by it all.

Glenn Fleishman

How is it possible that a) they have just two locations for DNS servers; b) they can’t just reroute IP addresses to new DNS servers that work; c) they are this clueless? I was just explaining this outage to my wife and said if half the country were destroyed by a bomb, DNS would still probably work in the other half without a glitch. As far as I know, this hasn’t happened.

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