Much of the Maine state government’s computer network was down for about three hours today because of a mistake by a vendor providing system maintenance, a state spokeswoman said.

Jennifer Smith, spokeswoman for the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, said FairPoint Communications was doing maintenance on the system when “human error” caused the system to go down. Initially, there were reports of sporadic outages at 11 a.m.

The problem was rectified by 2 p.m., she said.

The widespread outage affected several branches of state government, including the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and state websites accessed by the public.

“There were multiple sites on the wide area network,” Smith said. “I  know we had some external websites that were down. The Department of Labor was there, and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles,” but she could not say specifically how widespread the computer outage was or gauge its impact.

A FairPoint spokesman said he was researching the situation.

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