Clearwire Outages Hit Six Markets Overnight

Clearwire's wireless broadband service went offline Tuesday night for about five hours in Texas, Oregon, Las Vegas and Boise, Idaho -- while single sites in Chicago and Seattle were also knocked out -- and the outages potentially affected subscribers of the high-speed mobile data services offered by Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

"During network maintenance we encountered a software glitch that impacted service for Clear and MSO customers alike in certain markets," Clearwire said in a statement to Multichannel News. "The issue has since been resolved and service has been restored. This was a network issue and customer equipment was not affected."

Last week, Comcast launched High-Speed 2go in Seattle and Chicago, after debuting the service this summer in Portland, Ore., while TWC went live in Dallas with Road Runner Mobile. The cable operators hold equity stakes in Clearwire, which is majority owned by Sprint Nextel, and have a wholesale arrangement to offer WiMax-based services.

Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas said subscribers in Oregon, Seattle and Chicago would have been affected by the Clearwire service disruption. A TWC representative was checking whether any mobile broadband subscribers were affected.

Clearwire informed customers of the outages on via its technical-support Twitter feed.

At around 10 p.m. (ET) Tuesday, the company tweeted: "Folks, we do have some outages: Parts of Texas, Oregon, Washington, and Chicago. No ETR [estimated time of resolution] to announce. We are aware & are working to fix this." About four hours later Clearwire's Twitter feed said the network should be up and functional in most areas.

Clearwire said its automated phone system was not listing any issues, and told subscribers that symptoms of an outage would be "scrolling or slow blinking lights" on their WiMax modems.

According to Clearwire, there were two different technical issues that affected different markets.

In Texas, Oregon, Las Vegas and Boise, the network issue was related to a software upgrade Clearwire was performing on certain Motorola equipment. "We are working through the issues with Motorola, but service has been restored in these affected markets," Clearwire said. Motorola did not respond to a request for comment.

In Seattle and Chicago, the disruptions were "isolated to single cell sites and limited to the area those sites serve" and were unrelated to the Motorola issues encountered elsewhere, the company said.