Published Tuesday, May 7, 2013 | 10:37 a.m.
Updated Tuesday, May 7, 2013 | 4:30 p.m.
A multistate Internet outage rolled through Southern Nevada on Tuesday, disrupting businesses, schools, governmental organizations and web surfers at home.
The problems left customers of Internet service provider CenturyLink without connectivity for several hours, taking websites offline and rendering email systems useless from Florida through the Southwest.
Among the Las Vegas businesses affected was Greenspun Media Group, publisher of lasvegassun.com, lasvegasweekly.com and vegasinc.com. Access to those sites was cut off from about 2 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and the company was unable to exchange emails outside of its building during those hours.
“We were alarmed and disappointed by this disruption, and we appreciated everyone’s patience as we worked through it,” said Ric Anderson, GMG managing editor. “Our goal now and always is to provide continuous access for our audience members and advertisers.”
The outage was triggered by a problem with CenturyLink’s core routers, company spokeswoman Lindsay Williams said, declining to elaborate.
Williams said as many as 1 million customers could have been affected, but said she didn’t know how many states were affected. Outages were reported along both coasts and in several other states, with Florida and Nevada being especially hard it. Tallahassee.com reported that CenturyLink customers in 22 states experienced disruptions.
In Las Vegas, MGM properties felt a minor impact from the Internet outage. Between 2 a.m. and 9 a.m., guests could not order show tickets and hotel workers could not check the status of rooms.
MGM uses an online program that shows whether a room is occupied or cleaned. But since the outage happened overnight, officials said the outage was not an emergency.
“The impact was very minimal, and service has been fully restored,” said MGM spokeswoman Yvette Monet.
Lori Nelson, spokeswoman for Station Casinos, said the company’s corporate headquarters lost Internet access. She would not confirm whether the connectivity problem extended to any of Station’s resorts.
“I think everyone was as patient as we could be and we’re thrilled to have it behind us,” she said.
Officials at Boyd, Wynn and Caesars Entertainment said the outage did not affect their properties.
The effects of the outage reached far beyond some of the valley’s biggest companies. At one Las Vegas preschool, for instance, parents dropping off or picking up their children normally have to press a thumb to a fingerprint reader and then enter a PIN that confirms their identity. On Tuesday, however, that security database was inaccessible due to the outage and parents had to show photo IDs.
The Clark County School District was hit by the outage, too. Melinda Malone, a school district spokeswoman, said access was lost sometime during the night but restored about 10:30 a.m.
“It might have inconvenienced some people, but it wasn’t a major problem,” she said.
Metro Police also experienced a loss of Internet access but were not seriously affected.
“The ability to police the community was not affected,” said Metro Officer Bill Cassell. “It never compromised our ability to protect the community.”
He said all critical systems are internal and do not rely on Internet access. Cassell said the outage did prevent citizens from accessing the Metro Police website and kept staff from updating the site with new information.
On social media sites, several individual CenturyLink customers nationwide complained of losing their connectivity.