Since Thursday morning, Dish Network has been experiencing a major outage that’s taken down the company’s main websites, apps, and customer support systems, and employees tell The Verge it’s not clear what’s going on inside the company. The company’s Dish.com website is completely blank save for a notice apologizing for “any disruptions you may be having” while promising that “teams are working hard to restore systems as soon as possible.” The Boost Mobile and Boost Infinite sites display a similar message.
When we called each brand’s customer support lines, there were no humans on the other end — each call automatically hung up after delivering a recorded message about the outage.
In an ironic twist, the outage started around the time that Dish was set to release its earnings for Q4 and fiscal year 2022. CEO Erik Carlson addressed it during the company’s earnings call, saying the company was experiencing an “internal outage that’s continuing to affect our internal servers and IT telephony.” While Carlson claimed that Dish, Sling, and the company’s wireless networks were operating normally, he admitted that “internal communications, customer care functions, Internet sites” were knocked out.
Internally, frontline employees have been kept in the dark about what’s going on. Two sources tell The Verge that they are being told to stand by for information from their leadership teams, which haven’t yet been forthcoming. They say it hasn’t even been made clear whether they’ll be paid. Employees have also been told that they won’t be able to connect to their VPN, keeping remote workers from logging in to work.
One Dish technician shared with The Verge what looks like an email Dish sent to employees on Friday, which indicates the company doesn’t yet know the cause of the outage, but that its IT team will continue to investigate and “restore” the system’s “key elements and core functions” throughout the weekend. The email also warns employees not to use their Dish-issued laptops if they’ve been connected to the company’s network or VPN after 11PM MT on Wednesday, while adding that it expects employees to return to their work locations on Monday, February 27th.
A regional installer contracted with the company also showed The Verge a message that appeared to be from Dish saying that all of its systems were down. Continuing the theme of murky communications, other messages shared by the employee said that “many systems” were down but that some technicians were able to do at least part of their jobs. However, they also noted that receivers would have to be activated when the systems came back online.
Despite Carlson’s comments that Dish’s services should be working normally, Downdetector shows an increase in reports of issues using Dish Network’s services, which include satellite TV and Boost Mobile’s wireless network. Customers are reporting on social media that they’re unable to activate new equipment or SIM cards received from the company, and alleged technicians say they can’t complete installs and upgrades for customers.
Customers have also said that the outage is preventing them from paying their bills. Dish’s site doesn’t address this issue, but Boost Mobile’s says that if your account is affected “your service will not end due to non-payment.” Dish’s customer service Twitter account is also telling customers they won’t lose service if they can’t make a payment during this time. For those whose accounts aren’t affected, the company says they can “pay your bill by dialing 611, using the App or by visiting a store.”
Some of the company’s sites, like dishwireless.com and launch.5gmobilegenesis.com, are currently completely down and don’t even display an error message. (The Project Genesis rewards app is also showing a variety of error messages.) Those sites are the landing pages for Dish’s efforts to build out a nationwide 5G network, which it’s legally mandated to do following the T-Mobile / Sprint merger. The company has to cover 70 percent of the US population by June 14th. Dish claimed it was on track to do so in yesterday’s earnings call.
The Desk reports that the outage doesn’t seem to be the result of a cyberattack, citing “a person familiar with the issue,” though Dish likely hasn’t concluded its investigation yet. The company didn’t respond to The Verge’s requests for comment or repeated requests by Light Reading — but it’s unclear if the representatives we contacted have access to their email.
Update February 24th, 6:59PM ET: Added screenshot of the email announcing Dish’s outage.
Update February 26th, 12:06PM ET: Added information related to an internal email from Dish.