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AT&T Outage Triggered by Company Network Expansion


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, AT&T Inc. attributed a widespread outage on Thursday to “an incorrect process” during the expansion of its wireless network, causing disruptions for hundreds of thousands of subscribers and prompting investigations by the FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security.

According to an AT&T spokesperson, initial assessments indicated that the outage resulted from errors in the application and execution of a process during the network expansion, rather than a cyberattack. The company assured customers that it was conducting a thorough review of the incident to ensure the delivery of reliable service.

After several hours of disruption, AT&T announced that all wireless services had been restored by Thursday afternoon. The outage, which began in the early hours of the morning, led to over 1.5 million reports of service interruptions on the Downdetector website.

The federal government initiated investigations to determine the cause of the network failure, with the FCC also engaging AT&T in discussions. DHS and the FBI collaborated with the tech industry to enhance investigative efforts into the incident.

The impact of the outage was widespread, affecting mobile-phone users across various cities, including New York, Houston, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, and Dallas. Emergency responders faced communication challenges, prompting officials to advise AT&T customers to utilize landlines for 911 calls.

With approximately 87 million subscribers, AT&T is the third-largest retail wireless carrier in the US, trailing Verizon Communications Inc. and T-Mobile US Inc. Both Verizon and T-Mobile confirmed that their services were operational during the outage.

The disruption forced individuals to resort to alternative means of communication, reminiscent of simpler times, with some struggling to conduct work-related tasks. Even FBI employees encountered difficulties, with some Google Pixel devices unable to connect to cellular coverage nationwide.

While the public safety network FirstNet experienced an outage, service has since been restored, ensuring continued communications for public safety agencies.


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