A daylong internet outage slowed work for thousands of California state employees on Dec. 20, 2017. Jose Luis Villegas Sacramento Bee
A daylong internet outage slowed work for thousands of California state employees on Dec. 20, 2017. Jose Luis Villegas Sacramento Bee

The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

The State Worker

Internet outage crippled state business for a day. It’s not over.

By Adam Ashton


December 20, 2017 05:33 PM

A widespread internet outage slowed the business of state government at many downtown offices on Wednesday and state officials do not know when they’ll be back online.

Thousands of state workers lost internet service about 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday when a downtown construction project clipped a fiber optic cable that supports their offices. State officials did not know which project damaged the cable.

A state vendor and the California Department of Technology were not able to restore internet service during the workday.

The department “and the vendor have staff on the scene to determine what level of repairs could be necessary. At the moment, we do not have an (estimated time) on full restoration of service,” said California Department of Technology spokesman Bryce Brown.

The department did not know how many offices had lost internet service.

Aside from slowing the pace of office work, the outage also affected public services. It shut down a web page Cal Fire uses to distribute information about wildfires. It also crippled the customer service call center for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

The CAL FIRE website, including the Incident Information page is currently experiencing technical difficulties. For more details on the #ThomasFire please see the latest factsheet. More info will be posted on here as available. Thank you as we work to resolve the issue. pic.twitter.com/XOgRjNQCtc

— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) December 20, 2017

Cal Fire is sharing information about wildfires in Southern California through social media, news outlets and local fire departments, Cal Fire spokeswoman Janet Upton said.

Workers from the Treasurer’s office, Employment Development Department, Department of Food and Agriculture, Department of Health Care Services, Department of Parks and Recreation, Department of Public Health, Department of Social Services, Department of Toxic Substances, Department of Water Resources, Cal Fire, Caltrans, Cal Vet and the Office of Legislative Counsel told Bee reporters over social media that their offices were affected by the outage.

Some state workers from the Department of Public Health and the Department of Water Resources said the outage also affected offices outside of the Sacramento region. Websites for several of those departments also were down and inaccessible to the public.

The Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines to undo 2015 Obama-era “net neutrality” rules that guaranteed equal access to internet on Thursday.


Adam Ashton: 916-321-1063, @Adam_Ashton. Sign up for state worker news alerts at sacbee.com/newsletters.