Nationwide Outage for AT&T Wireless Customers
Early Tuesday morning, 9-1-1 PSAPs began posting to their respective social media accounts about a 9-1-1 outage for AT&T Wireless customers. Citizens with AT&T cellular service were unable to call 9-1-1 for emergency assistance for at least 2 hours. As early as 06:30am CST, social media accounts for 9-1-1 PSAPs were alerting their followers of the outage.
The company says it’s since fixed the problem. “Earlier this morning some wireless customers may have been unable to connect to 911,” an AT&T spokesperson said in a statement. “This has been resolved and we apologize to anyone who was affected.” This statement was released by the company at approximately 08:20am CST.
The outage affected PSAPs in several states including Texas, Minnesota and Washington, Indiana and Wisconsin. During the outage PSAPs provided updates to their community to either use a wireline telephone to call 9-1-1 or use a cell phone from a different cellular carrier.
If you are an AT&T cell phone customer and need police/fire/EMS in NRH please use our direct line in to dispatch 817-281-1000. https://t.co/hEPFhLlbnA— North Richland Hills (@CityofNRH) July 2, 2019
Approx an hour ago Minneapolis was made aware that AT&T is experiencing a 911 outage resulting in their customers unable to be directly connected to 911. The alternate number during this time for Mpls is 612-348-2345. We are working with our service partners to fix this issue.— Minneapolis Police (@MinneapolisPD) July 2, 2019
There is a nationwide issue with AT&T customers not being able to call 911. If you try to call 911 and cannot get through, please call our non emergency line at 360-426-4441 and state it is an emergency. Thank you for your cooperation and we will update as soon as we get any word pic.twitter.com/TBSLR1xvYV— Mason County Sheriff (@MasonCoSheriff) July 2, 2019
Similar AT&T Outage in 2017
Tuesday morning’s outage is not the first time that AT&T customers have experienced problems calling 9-1-1 due to a service outage. In March 2017 and again in May 2017, AT&T’s wireless customers experienced an outage of 9-1-1 services on the carrier’s Voice over Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) network. In both months, AT&T conducted planned network outages for maintenance; however, those planned outages had an unanticipated impact on 9-1-1 services. The Federal Communications Commission investigated the consumer complaints and determined that AT&T failed to properly notify impacted PSAPS on at least the March incident when 9-1-1 services were unavailable for up to 5 hours.
As a result, the FCC levied a fine in the amount of $5,250,000 against AT&T Mobility. Additionally, AT&T was ordered to ” implement a compliance plan to adopt proactive risk management principles designed to reduce the likelihood and impact of future 911 outages, ensure reliable 911 call completion, and enable the provision of timely 911 outage notification to PSAPs.”
While no cause has been provided yet for this latest service outage; due to the wide-scale impact, it is likely that the FCC will investigate and determine if AT&T acted accordingly as directed in the FCC’s 2017 consent decree.