Sony has finished fixing up the PlayStation Network and is now in the process of bringing it back.

Sony has announced that the PlayStation Network is finally going back online after a downtime of more than three weeks. Restoration of PSN services has begun to rollout in most areas of the world by region, and in the U.S. by state.

While users wait for the PSN to come back in their area, Sony has made PlayStation 3 firmware update v3.61 available for download. This update requires customers to change their PSN passwords for security purposes. You might as well go get it.

Sony’s Kazuo Hirai took to the PlayStation Blog to reveal that this first phase of network restoration will provide access to online gameplay, services such as Netflix, friends lists, chat, trophy comparison, and PlayStation Home. The PlayStation Store, on the other hand, will be back “as soon as possible.”

Hirai reaffirmed that Sony worked hard to strengthen its network security measures during the downtime by adding “advanced security technology, increased levels of encryption, additional firewalls, and early warning systems.” He believes that no company is 100% safe from cybercrime, but that Sony did exactly what it should have by upgrading its systems and making the protection of consumer data a “full-time, company-wide commitment.”

Further, Hirai announced that Sony’s “Welcome Back” package somewhat detailed earlier will be fully revealed in the coming days. The package has already been confirmed to include rewards such as a 30-day subscription to PlayStation Plus.

Sony has made a restoration map available here so that U.S. customers can see when the PSN is back up in their state. The service may not be up for everyone quite yet, but it should be very soon.

*Update*: Sony Online Entertainment properties such as Everquest and DC Universe Online are also being brought back online, with these rewards for customers.

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