AT&T Hardest Hit in Nationwide Cell Outages, 911 Network Remained Online

By Hamodia Staff

An AT&T retail store in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

Tens of thousands of cell phone users nationwide reported a lack of service Thursday, with AT&T customers – including NYPD phones – being hit the hardest.

Police say 911 emergency services run by AT&T remained operational, ABC News reported.

Between 5:15 a.m. and 6:15 a.m., AT&T phones used by the NYPD were not able to make calls or connect to mobile data.

By 1:30 p.m., AT&T said that three-quarters of its affected mobile network had been restored, according to Bloomberg News. At 4 p.m. AT&T said that their entire network was back online, the Associated Press reported.

AT&T runs FirstNet, a network used by emergency services including police and fire departments. The phone carrier advertises FirstNet as more durable and reliable than its general network.

It uses a mix of its own infrastructure plus AT&T’s broader network. Its customers include police and fire departments, as well as first responders during natural disasters.

“I spoke to the NYPD, NYPD says they are getting their calls into 911, including from AT&T customers. That’s what they know about, what’s working,” Intelligence Analyst John Miller told ABC News. “There is no way to gauge who is not getting through. They also say their systems, their phones are working.

“So even in a crisis, even when things aren’t supposed to have priority. So, first responders and emergency services can communicate in a crisis,” Miller said.

Miller says that the FBI does not believe the outages are due to any foul play.

“According to NYPD at least, that’s working. I spoke to an FBI, their cyber people are monitoring this, but they don’t know that there is anything nefarious going on. It’s just something they would monitor.”

Later Thursday, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said in a press conference that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security were investigating the outage.

Spokespeople for the nation’s other two major carriers, T-Mobile and Verizon, told ABC News that they are not affected by the outages, but several thousand users have reported outages to the website DownDetector.

For AT&T customers, the hardest hit areas are Houston and Dallas in Texas, and Atlanta Georgia, according to DownDetector.

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