A massive Xfinity internet, phone and cable outage hit tens of thousands of customers from coast to coast this week.
While Chicago area customers started reporting the outages around 7 a.m. Tuesday, outages were reported in California as early as Monday evening.
Many Illinois customers reported restored service by 9 a.m. on Tuesday.
The problem exposed a critical communications challenge with police departments and municipalities that had to alert Xfinity customers to use their cell phones in the event of an emergency to get in touch with police.
Meanwhile, the Bartlett Police Department’s non-emergency line went down for at least an hour, forcing all affected residents to use the 911 emergency line for all matters.
Radio stations like WBBM 780 AM and 670 The Score were knocked off the air for around 30 minutes due to the outage.
Chicago customer Alan Osinski says the experience was humbling.
"Callers couldn’t call in and they couldn’t complain about the Bears, so my morning was all thrown off this morning," said Osinski. "I have my alarm set up through the Alexa home system. The alarm didn’t go off."
Osinski said some of his friends couldn’t work from home.
"You almost have to take a step back and realize how much you rely on and just the whole economy relies on the internet itself to function on a daily basis," said Osinski.
Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal, released this statement on Tuesday afternoon:
"Earlier, some customers experienced intermittent service disruptions as a result of a network issue. We have addressed the issue and service is now restoring for impacted customers, as we continue to investigate the root cause. We apologize to those who were affected."
Professor Randall Barry, the Electrical and Computer Engineering Chair at Northwestern University, suggests having more than one provider but admits it may not be practical for the average consumer.
A cell phone with a hotspot feature is another option when the internet goes out.
“At one point, you had separate networks. You had the telephone network, you had the internet, you may have had your cable TV network. Now, all of that is basically on the same infrastructure," said Berry. "There’s a lot more advantages of having this common infrastructure. We can run things a lot more efficiently, but it does expose this to that type of problem."