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Comcast working on fixing widespread internet service outages caused by fire and snowstorm

Xfinity outage map, photo via Comcast

(Updated 3:40 p.m.) Internet service is down for many Alexandrians as Comcast works to get its network up and running again after yesterday’s snowstorm.

According to the Xfinity outage map, there are several thousand Alexandria affected by the ongoing internet outage, most of them in Del Ray and Arlandria.

Yesterday, Alexandria emergency services were hit with downed power lines city-wide, closing streets and causing localized power outages. Kristie Fox, vice president of communications for the Comcast Beltway Region, said that the internet service is dealing with a combination of local power outages and damage to a fiber cable in the area.

“Separately from the overall winter storm power outages, there was a power line that fell on our fiber today as a result of the storm and that caused a fire that is also impacting our service,” Fox said. “We’re having multiple crews on-site working to restore service.”

Del Ray resident Mark Stephenson said that last night around 8:30 p.m. one of the power lines between Rosemont and Del Ray was damaged. Stephenson noted that work crews from Dominion Energy responded quickly and have been working on repairs.

“Around 8:30 p.m. there was a huge boom and flash of light which we thought at first was a tree falling, but then I could see some flames on a line,” Stephenson said. “It seemed a heavy branch had fallen on the line. We called the fire department who came out almost immediately to rope off the street, along with APD. Then around 9:30 it happened again, and that’s when the internet went down.”

As of this afternoon, Stephenson said he was watching as a team from Xfinity was working to repair around 400 feet of cable.

In addition to the fiber damage, Fox said there can be some confusion about how power outages impact internet service.

“Once power is restored to home, internet can be restored, but power needs to come on first,” Fox said, “and even though power might be restored to an individual home, it might not be restored to a Comcast distribution point that serves a neighborhood. There could be instances where one person on a street and a neighbor down the block doesn’t because of a distribution point.”

Some locals on Twitter said they’ve seen 4 p.m. as an estimated restoration time, but Fox was hesitant to put an exact estimated time for repairs because it could vary from household to household.

“Some of it will be dependent on whether it was customers affected by fire in one area or the broader storm,” Fox said.

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