Missoula government, Internet affected by widespread CenturyLink outage

An outage tracking website shows the extent of CenturyLink’s outage on Thursday afternoon.

If you tried calling a city of Missoula office number on Thursday and couldn’t get through, just know it wasn’t you.

CenturyLink on Thursday experienced a widespread outage across much of the U.S., with the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain interior among the areas hardest hit.

“Our network is experiencing a disruption affecting customer services,” CenturyLink stated on Twitter. “We are working to restore service as quickly as possible.”

CenturyLink had yet to say how large the outage was or what caused it. It acknowledged the outage on Facebook at 11 a.m., though the network was down several hours before that.

The outage prompted the city’s office phones and Internet to stop working. Outside calls were dropped and didn’t ring through. The county was also impacted.

“We know that it’s at least national, if not an international outage on the part of CenturyLink,” Ginny Merriam, the city’s communications director, said on a call to her cell phone. “Our telephone system is hooked into our Internet system as most phone systems are now, which means people cannot call us.”

An outage tracking website showed a loss of service in the Pacific Northwest, western Montana, the central Rockies, the upper Midwest and Washington, D.C., among others areas.

“They keep saying they’re aware and they’re working on it,” said Merriam. “People were wandering in the wilderness with no Internet. We take it so for granted now. You don’t think about how you’re virtually paralyzed without it.”

Adriane Beck, director of Disaster and Emergency Services at Missoula County, said the 911 system was functioning, though 911 dispatchers were unable to return calls to customers.