Image: DownDetector

A major Internet outage is affecting a large number of Verizon Fios customers on the East Coast, preventing them from accessing key websites and apps.

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The trouble seemed to start Tuesday morning, according to the Washington Post. As many people were trying to log into certain sites for work or school, they found themselves unable to access Google, Gmail, Slack, Zoom, and other websites. A series of tweets have been flooding the Verizon Support Twitter account, with users complaining of no internet access.

A Verizon outage map provided by the website DownDetector indicated a growing stream of reports that spiked to more than 22,000 shortly after noon. The site pointed to New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Arlington, and Alexandria as the most reported locations.

A tweet from Verizon Support suggests the cause: “There is a fiber cut and it has been reported, our technicians are aware; therefore working to resolve it as soon as possible. You can use the My Fios app to check for updates.” The only problem with Verizon’s tweet is that customers wouldn’t be able to use the My Fios app to check for updates if their internet is down.

Occasional disruptions are a frustrating fact of life for internet companies and their customers. However, an outage like this one is especially problematic. Not only is it affecting a larger number of users but it comes at a time when people are more dependent than ever on the internet due to the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.

“As millions of K-12 and university students return to classes—in many cases virtually—there will inevitably be added strain on cloud infrastructure and services, layering on top of already record-high usage for business,” Bobby Beckmann, CTO at communications provider Lifesize, told TechRepublic. “As critical as cloud communication and collaboration tools have become to getting remote work done and facilitating distance learning, organizations must acutely understand their technology providers’ architecture, scalability, and commitment to reliability as well as have a backup plan in place for when outages occur.”

Verizon did not immediately respond to TechRepublic’s request for comment.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with comment.