AT&T outage disrupts cell service, and access to 911, for thousands : NPR

AT&T says it has restored about three-fourths of its cellphone network after tens of thousands of customers in cities across the country lost service overnight, causing frustration and concern about disruptions to 911 dispatches.

Around 3:30 a.m. ET Thursday, outages reported by suddenly spiked from just a handful, peaking at more than 73,000 by around 8:20 a.m. ET. By late morning, however, the number of reports to the website appeared to be trending down.

In Virginia’s Prince William County, emergency services officials said early Thursday that the AT&T service outages had caused “a disruption in receiving 911 calls,” according to the Prince Williams Times. Also, police in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area in North Carolina said that customers were “briefly unable to contact 9-1-1. There are no disruptions to our call center’s ability to receive 9-1-1 calls. Service should be returning shortly.”

Full story: AT&T outage disrupts cell service, and access to 911, for thousands : NPR

3 Replies to “AT&T outage disrupts cell service, and access to 911, for thousands : NPR”

  1. The AT&T outage disrupting cell services and access to 911 poses a significant problem for all their users. An individual relies on their cell phone as their main source of communication especially during modern times. Therefore having a reliable cell service is imperative, 911 phone calls were put in place in order to have fast and effective communication with law enforcement, but having outages like these defeats the purpose. Not only affecting an individual but thousands of users and the community to an extent. This could cause a significant amount of backlash for the company as a whole if the situation continues to happen and does not find an effective solution as soon as possible.

  2. Does the privatization of communication companies pose a threat to individual rights and wellbeing? Whilst many, if not most industries in the U.S are privatized, some sensitive ones may not be. Police departments, militaries, and agencies like them are owned by state, local, and federal governments. The backbone of first responders and many of these agencies are communications systems, yet not all of them are owned by them. It is almost always the case that first responders and police will receive calls through cell phones or landlines, both of which operate via private companies service, power, and other utilities. Whilst the same arguments could be made for powering a phone to call 911, it still begs the question of whether or not a cell company can be a specific threat toward public wellbeing due to its impact on law enforcement and first responders.

  3. With the recent outages with AT&T, this poses a huge problem for law enforcement and personnel. Cell phones are taking over globally, and not having reliable service can pose problems within the world. Not having access to 911 can potentially lead to more crimes, and even more accidents to occur. How are we trying to prevent this from happening again? Will we make alternative means of contacting law enforcement in the future? The recent outages pose a huge concern for law enforcement in the future and ethical concerns for AT&T. How do we know something like this won’t happen again? Especially from AT&T?

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