Internet outages, issues plaguing customers, school districts

Internet outages, issues plaguing customers, school districts

PITTSBURGH — At least two local school districts are dealing with internet outages and issues as they try to hold classes remotely.

Officials with the North Allegheny School District reported a network issue that was preventing students and staff from connecting to the internet at home or at school. The outage was also affecting the district’s web content filter, Securely.

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Early Tuesday afternoon, the district sent out another message that their internet provider was working on the issue and said things should start improving through the afternoon.

Pittsburgh Public School District officials also reported issues with internet connections. Students, staff and parents were asked to stay patient as they worked to fix the connection.

The district sent us the following statement Tuesday Night:

"Today, Pittsburgh Public Schools experienced internet connectivity issues when one of the District’s Internet Service Provider’s bandwidth maxed out, causing the District to manually switch with bandwidth to our secondary internet service provider.

As a result, the District experienced outages and slow, unreliable connection to District-provided web resources, including Schoology and Microsoft Teams. Both learning applications are top resources for E-Learning.

Verizon is an Internet Service Provider for the District but did not cause today’s max out.

Also, today, Blackboard, an educational technology company which hosts the PPS website, also experienced outages causing families and staff to not have access to Clever and Microsoft 365 Tools.

The patterns of back to school usage exceeded what Blackboard anticipated, resulting in some latency and unavailability for some sites, including PPS. The Blackboard technical team continues their research to understand this change in usage and the impact.

Both outages lasted about two hours, and usage was restored around 11:15 AM. Families and staff were notified via email, automated phone calls, and social media. PPS families who missed classes today will not be penalized.

We want to thank the skilled professionals in the Office of Technology who worked quickly to identify the problems and restore service, all while distributing laptops today to hundreds of PPS families."

According to Downdetector, which tracks reported digital outages, systems impacted Tuesday included SNAP EBT, Google, Twitter, Zoom, Madden, Verizon, DirecTV Now, Signal and Squarespace.

It’s not clear what caused the outage or when it began. With students at all levels and many companies now moving to working remotely, there has been a massive surge in internet bandwidth usage around the world.

A spokesperson for Verizon sent Channel 11 a statement:

“We have confirmed there are no issues with the Verizon wireline or wireless network in the area. We encourage anyone with connectivity issues to call customer support.”

Families and students were thrown for a loop in many areas as they just keep adapting to a changing school year.

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