We all knew the internet was going to turn into a glacially paced mess, but we didn’t think it would be happening so soon. On Dec. 18, everyone got a nasty little preview of a slow-internet world, when outages across the country brought everyone’s service to a stuttering halt. So if you’re wondering why the internet is so slow, that’s why. It’s a buffering nightmare.

UPDATE: A representative of CenturyLink, the parent company of Level 3, said via email that reports that their network was suffering an outage were inaccurate. “The CenturyLink network is operating normally. We are aware of Downdetector reports about our network,” D. Nikki Wheeler tells Elite Daily by email. She cited Downdetector’s disclaimer which notes that it collects Twitter reports of issues, but does not itself make judgements about outages.

EARLIER: On Monday afternoon, two major “backbone” internet service providers (ISPs), Level 3 and Cogent, were hit with huge outages, according to Slate. ISP monitor Downdetector showed the outages hitting basically every major metropolitan area in the United States, including the Boston / New York / Washington D.C. chain, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, Chicago, Atlanta, and Dallas. There were also smaller hot (or, more accurately, not) spots in the areas of Miami, Houston, and Minneapolis. So basically, a whole lot of people were feeling the pain.

Because of the interconnectedness of the internet, though, you might have been hit with limited access or slower service even if you don’t recognize either of these names as the one that shows up on your wifi bill. Customers who use Verizon or Comcast could feel the effects too of the outage, Slate notes.

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