If the internet is the lifeblood of Mountain View, then the city is in bad shape.
Much of Mountain View is facing the second day of a citywide internet outage affecting Comcast customers. The outage, which started on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 9, is reportedly impacting more than 13,000 households and businesses throughout the city, and it has disrupted the full suite of Comcast services, including internet, cable TV, and some cellphone lines.
The outage was caused by a traffic accident on Sunday afternoon in Mountain View's Sylvan Park neighborhood. A vehicle crashed into a utility pole between Highway 85 and Moorpark Way, bringing it down along with several spans of wire.
The crash caused a power outage for about 50 households. As of 6 a.m. this morning, PG&E said they had restored power.
For Comcast, the accident also severed a critical fiber optic line mounted to the same utility pole. Under normal circumstances, Comcast officials say they would reroute their services through a redundant line, but this breakage seems to have hit a weak point in their network. The company's representatives could not give a time estimate on when services would be restored.
"This is our hugest priority right now and we're working diligently to get it fixed," Joan Hammel, Comcast senior director of communications, told the Voice. "We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused, and we're doing our best."
The internet outage may be the worst in recent memory for the city. The hardest-hit customers appear to be those who bought bundle deals for Comcast TV, internet and phone service. All of those digital services are currently offline.
Among those customers is the Mountain View Whisman School District. On Monday morning, school district officials sent out a notice to parents warning that nearly all their communication methods were offline. District staff were resorting to walkie-talkie radios to stay in touch across campuses. Similarly, internet and email are also kaput at the Mountain View City Hall, although the city's phone lines remain operational.
A total of 12,716 residential customers and 1,246 businesses were impacted in the outage, according to Comcast. Despite the internet blackout, many of these customers still found a way to vent their frustrations online.
Tom Anderson, a Mountain View resident, said he was particularly irritated that Comcast had initially portrayed the outage as a quick fix. Throughout Sunday, the company kept pushing back their estimates on when service would be restored: first it was 12:30 p.m., then 6:30 p.m. he said. By Monday, Comcast was no longer giving any time estimates.
For Anderson, the internet outage was hitting his pocketbook, severely limiting his ability to manage his short-term rental property. He suspects scores of other businesses were also impacted.
"People have businesses and livelihoods that depend on this." he said. "This is having a massive impact to the city."
As of 6 a.m. Monday morning, Comcast officials say their line workers were reportedly allowed to access the utility equipment along Highway 85 for repairs.