How nationwide AT&T outage impacted 911 services in New York City

WABC logo
Friday, February 23, 2024
Massive AT&T outage leads to investigation
Janice Yu has the latest developments.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Widespread AT&T outages impacted customers nationwide, but the NYPD said that 911 is operating normally and was not affected by the major outage early Thursday morning.

But just like everyone else, police department phones on AT&T service were disrupted.

Between 5:15 a.m. and 6:15 a.m., the department's AT&T phones were not able to make calls or utilize email. The phones operated when connected to Wi-Fi.

Suffolk County put out a preemptive post on the cellphone outage, telling residents to text 911 if there is a problem. But there were no 911 problems reported in Suffolk County either.

TechRadar's editor-in-chief Lance Ulanoff talks about AT&T's software update that caused the outage.

The city's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications cyber command was monitoring the AT&T situation and said city services were continuing.

By 3:30 p.m., AT&T said that wireless service was restored for all customers.

AT&T runs the FirstNet network that remained up the entire time. FirstNet provides coverage for first responders and is advertised as a more robust network than the AT&T commercial network.

It uses a mix of its own infrastructure plus AT&T's broader network. Its customers include police and fire departments, as well as first responders during natural disasters.

"I spoke to the NYPD, NYPD says they are getting their calls into 911, including from AT&T customers. That's what they know about, what's working," Intelligence Analyst John Miller explained. "There is no way to gauge who is not getting through. They also say their systems, their phones are working."

Miller explained that AT&T is interesting among the characters because it runs FirstNet.

"So even in a crisis, even when things aren't supposed to have priority. So first responders and emergency services can communicate in a crisis," Miller said. "According to NYPD at least, that's working. I spoke to an FBI, their cyber people are monitoring this, but they don't know that there is anything nefarious going on. It's just something they would monitor."

Additionally, both Verizon and T-Mobile say they are completely unaffected. The DownDetector website did report outages for both services, but neither had them. instead, their customers were likely reporting problems reaching AT&T customers

"We did not experience an outage," T-Mobile said in a statement. "Our network is operating normally."

"Verizon's network is operating normally," Verizon also said. "Some customers experienced issues this morning when calling or texting with customers served by another carrier. We are continuing to monitor the situation."

Verizon believes the nationwide outage involving AT&T customers "is close to being resolved," according to a Verizon spokesman.

RELATED | AT&T customers report massive outage, disrupting phone service across America

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.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More New York City news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.