Investigation Underway


( – AT&T Inc. experienced a significant service disruption that affected hundreds of thousands of its wireless subscribers.

The company attributed the outage to a software issue that occurred while trying to enhance the network.

An AT&T spokesman clarified “Based on our initial review, we believe that today’s outage was caused by the application and execution of an incorrect process used as we were expanding our network, not a cyber attack.” This statement came amidst concerns and investigations by the FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security into the possibility of a cyberattack being the cause.

The outage which started early Thursday morning New York time was resolved by the afternoon. However it caused considerable inconvenience with AT&T customers reporting over 1.5 million outage complaints on the service-tracking website Downdetector.

The situation prompted federal investigations with two US officials speaking on the condition of anonymity confirming to the media that the network failure’s cause was being explored. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also engaged with AT&T to determine the cause of the outage as stated by White House spokesman John Kirby “DHS and the FBI are looking into this as well, working with the tech industry, these network providers, to see what we can do from a federal perspective to enhance their investigative efforts to figure out what happened here.”

The service disruption led to widespread reports of outages in major cities across the United States affecting emergency communications and daily activities. Customers like Emma Smits a public relations account executive expressed their frustrations as the outage disrupted their work routines. “I couldn’t cross anything off my work to-do list,” Smits recounted.

In response to the crisis individuals found creative workarounds with some resorting to methods reminiscent of an earlier era before ubiquitous mobile internet access. Vanessa Stowe for example had to screenshot directions to a meeting while Sarah Kittel a communications strategist needed to connect to a restaurant’s Wi-Fi to pay for parking.

The outage also impacted government services with the FBI issuing guidance to its staff on how to reconnect their devices to the network. The public safety network FirstNet which partners with AT&T to provide communications services to public safety agencies was the only government entity reported as impacted though service was quickly restored.

Reflecting on the broader implications of the outage David Heger an analyst at Edward D. Jones & Co., noted “In my experience, this type of outage can negatively impact financial results in the quarter in which it occurs and cause short-term lost goodwill with customers. However, it does not have a longer-term impact on the business.”