About 3:30 PT this afternoon, GTE warned its California customers through its Web site that they "will experience connectivity issues" if they try to log on to their DSL service. About 10:30 this morning, the Irving, Texas-based company indicated that the problem affected just some Los Angeles-area customers.
The company blamed the Los Angeles problem on router troubles. In a second message, it said the statewide problem was because of a hardware failure at the local telephone company.
GTE has about 45,000 DSL subscribers in California.
"Engineers are aware of this issue and are working toward resolution," the company said on its Web site. "There is no estimated time for repair."
The problem may be more widespread and longer-lasting than the company's Web page suggests, however. A recorded message on GTE's technical support line indicated that customers in Washington state also were experiencing connectivity problems. GTE has about 15,000 DSL customers in Washington state.
One Los Angeles-area customer said he had been having problems accessing his DSL connection since about 2:30 this morning.
Stephen Gornick, a computer programmer who works from his home in Torrance, Calif., said he had been able to connect intermittently today, but only for short periods of time. After about 30 seconds to 5 minutes, his DSL connection would go down again.
"It's been down basically all day today," he said.
GTE spokesman Bill Kula said the outage has been affecting the majority of the company's California DSL customers and a "small number" of its Washington customers since about 3:30 p.m. PT. The problem appears to be linked to a router issue, he said.
Although the outages in California and Washington appear to be related, Kula said the earlier problems reported in the Los Angeles area seemed to be a separate issue.
"We're working quickly to resolve the situation and restore service for all of our customers," Kula said.
No estimate was available for when service would be restored.