AT&T said in a statement that it has now resolved the day's massive service outage.
"We have restored wireless service to all our affected customers. We sincerely apologize to them. Keeping our customers connected remains our top priority, and we are taking steps to ensure our customers do not experience this again in the future," the company statement said.
As of approximately 12:30 pm ET, some 25,000 AT&T customers were still reporting outages, per data compiled by tracking site DownDetector. (DownDetector, notably, only tracks self-reported outages).
Still, the latest figure is a steep fall from the peak of some 74,000 AT&T customers reporting outages at around 9 am ET.
The DownDetector data indicates the widespread outage began around 4 am ET.
While Thursday's AT&T outage grabbed national headlines, outages do happen and usually for mundane reasons, several telecom experts told CNN.
Common causes include construction-related digging that punctures fiber optic cables and software misconfigurations that can lead to interruptions, said TJ Kennedy, a public safety communications expert.
"I can't think of every incident in the last few years, but I can think of things related to routers, things related to backhaul, things related to software," Kennedy said. "This has happened across all major carriers, multiple times in the past few years alone."
Thursday's outage could have been caused by human errors in AT&T's cloud-based networking system, said Lee McKnight, an associate professor at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies.
"The dirty secret of telecom networks these days is they are just a bunch of wires and towers connected to the cloud," McKnight said. "Someone making a mistake, and others on their team — and their automated tools — not catching it, is quite common in cloud computing."
The Federal Communications Commission will almost certainly investigate this week's incident, multiple experts said. The FCC requires carriers to report information linked to network disruptions.
"The carriers are required to report their outage numbers over time, and the commission can track the number of consumers and cell sites down and things like that," said a former FCC official.
Telecom carriers have every reason to fix any outages quickly, said the former FCC official, "because it creates black eyes for the brand."
"Everybody's incentives are aligned," the former official said. "The FCC is going to want to know what caused it so that lessons can be learned. And if they find malfeasance or bad actions or, just poor quality of oversight of the network, they have the latitude to act."
Florida Governor and former GOP presidential candidate Ron DeSantis opened an unrelated press conference on Thursday with comments regarding the ongoing AT&T network outage, affecting thousands of customers.
The governor said his office had been in touch with AT&T, who told them they were working to put customers back online, but were focusing on restoring emergency services. DeSantis said AT&T did not speak about what had caused the outage.
“You think about just your daily life, like having cell phones, honestly, it's like, imagine if we had like an EMP attack or something like that would end up happening this country,” DeSantis said. “It’s not necessarily a good thought, because you think you're just so naturally reliant on having cell service (…) so it's a little bit jarring and think about the implications if something like that happened on much grander scale.”
The federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is “working closely with AT&T to understand the cause of the outage and its impacts, and stand[s] ready to offer any assistance needed,” Eric Goldstein, the agency’s executive assistant director for cybersecurity, said in a statement to CNN.
More updates will follow around 6 P.M C.D.T 11:14 AM Update
From FoxNews: 10:59 am CDT
Tens of thousands of AT&T customers have been reporting outages this morning for their home phone, internet and mobile phone services, according to Downdetector.
The outages started popping up just before 3:30 a.m. ET, according to a graph shown on the website that tracks outages. As of 11:15 a.m. ET, the number of reports has declined to nearly 59,000 after spiking at more than 74,000 just after 9 a.m. ET.
Most users still impacted, 51%, say they are having issues with mobile phone service. More than a third of customers reporting being affected say they have no signal at all, and 8% of users say their mobile internet is down.
"Should get a stimulus check for this," one man wrote on the website.
"I lost my cell service at 5:56 a.m. est! I was in the middle of working when I lost it," another commented.
"Some of our customers are experiencing wireless service interruptions this morning. Our network teams took immediate action and so far three-quarters of our network has been restored. We are working as quickly as possible to restore service to remaining customers," AT&T said in a statement to Fox Business. No cause for the outage was given.
Most reported locations of customers impacted are in the south and southeast U.S.
Downdetector also showed a spike in reported T-Mobile outages around 4 a.m. ET. A T-Mobile spokesperson told Fox Business they did not experience an outage and that their network is operating normally.
"Down Detector is likely reflecting challenges our customers were having attempting to connect to users on other networks," the T-Mobile statement reads.
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"Verizon's network is operating normally," a statement from Verizon to Fox Business said. "Some customers experienced issues this morning when calling or texting with customers served by another carrier. We are continuing to monitor the situation."
"UPDATE: Texts to 911 from affected AT&T users are now being received. If you have an emergency, and cannot dial out, send a text message to 911," Flagler County Sheriff's Office in Florida posted in a subsequent post to X, after alerting people nearly an hour and a half prior about the outage.
From cnn.com: 10:30 Am CDT
More than 74,000 AT&T customers reported outages on the digital service tracking site Downdetector.
The site records self-reported outages and is not meant to be a comprehensive number. But with people often wondering why they can't access a service or a network, it's a quick and dirty tool for customers to determine whether a service is down or if it's just them.
The Downdetector service is powered by Ookla, a network insights brand that performs speed and performance metrics for customers.
Downdetector offers “real-time status information for over 12,000 services across 47 websites representing 47 countries,” the company's website says.
AT&T has encountered sporadic outages over the past few days, including a temporary 911 outage in some parts of the southeastern United States. Although outages happen from time to time, nationwide, prolonged outages are exceedingly rare.
Although AT&T provided no official reason for the outage, the issue appears to be related to how cellular services hand off calls from one network to the next, a process known as peering, according to an industry source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
There’s no indication that Thursday’s outage was the result of a cyberattack or other malicious activity, the industry source said.
Verizon believes the nationwide outage involving AT&T customers “is close to being resolved,” according to Richard Young, a Verizon spokesperson.
Carriers are notoriously mum about why their networks go down. In the past, there have been construction accidents that have cut fiberoptic cables, incidents of sabotage or network updates filled with bugs that became difficult to roll back.
AT&T late Thursday morning said most of its network was back online.
“Our network teams took immediate action and so far three-quarters of our network has been restored,” the company said. “We are working as quickly as possible to restore service to remaining customers.”
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said the city is “actively gathering information to determine how the City of Atlanta can assist in resolving this issue,” as local officials scramble to respond to the ongoing outage Thursday.
“Atlanta’s e-911 is able to receive inbound and make outbound calls,” Dickens said in a statement on X. “We have received calls from AT&T customers that their cellular phones are in SOS mode. Please direct all inquiries to restore service to AT&T.”
As the widespread outage persists, AT&T is encouraging users to use Wi-Fi calling until full service is restored. Wi-Fi calling lets users call and text using a wireless internet connection.
To set up Wi-Fi calling, users can go to their Settings app on their phone. iPhone users should tap “Cellular” and Android users should click “Connection” and then users will be prompted to turn on the Wi-Fi calling feature.
AT&T says on its website that there is no extra cost for this feature. Once set up, Wi-Fi calling works automatically when you’re connected to a Wi-Fi that you choose.
- AT&T acknowledged a widespread network outage across the United States Thursday morning, leaving customers unable to place calls, text or access the internet.
- The company said some parts of its network are beginning to recover but it did not have a timeframe for when its system would be fully restored.
- T-Mobile and Verizon said their networks were unaffected by AT&T’s service outage, and customers reporting outages may have been unable to reach customers who use AT&T
Are you effected? Check https://downdetector.com/