Vermont state websites experience widespread outage

Published: Jun. 28, 2023 at 10:04 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 28, 2023 at 5:38 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Critical Vermont state websites are back online after experiencing an outage early Wednesday. State officials say all “” sites went dark after an error with a state IT vendor out of state. Key websites including DCF, Labor, and DMV were out of commission for about 10 hours.

Customers at the Montpelier DMV Wednesday morning were among those out of luck.

“We tried to use the computer in there that’s accessible to do your payments online. As she stood there four times trying to get through, it wouldn’t accept it. It would go back to the beginning,” said Mike, who stopped by to renew his registration.

The widespread outage hit around 1 a.m. Wednesday. Vermont Agency of Digital Services officials discovered the issue around 5 a.m. Deputy Secretary Denise Reilly Hughes says the contractor, Tyler Technologies, inadvertently cut an AT&T fiber cable at their facility in the Washington D.C. area. “Our failsafe plan was in place and it should have worked, but this was Tyler’s system,” she said. The Texas-based company did not respond to a request for comment.

During the blackout, some government bodies that meet remotely, including the Green Mountain Care Board, were not able to conduct business.

By noon, about 95% of state websites were operating again. “Our engineers really need to work closely with our partner to see what we can do, but this was out of our hands to a great deal,” Hughes said

The outage follows a similar one on April 20th when websites were down for hours. From renewing a driver’s license to applying for food and housing benefits, Vermonters depend on countless services through the state’s websItes. Hughes says the state contract with the company requires the websites to stay up 99.99% of the time. She says the state is looking for ways to make IT infrastructure more resilient. “We’re going to ensure that we’ve put parameters in place that look beyond what we’re doing today,” she said.

Lawmakers on the joint legislative IT oversight committee say they will be looking into the outage at their next meeting.