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Federal Agencies Investigate Cause of Major AT&T Network Disruption

WCTU - The federal government has initiated an investigation into a major outage of AT&T's 5G network that left millions of Americans, including essential emergency centers, without cellular service. The disruption, which began overnight and peaked at around 9:15 AM Eastern time, rendered AT&T customers across the country unable to access cellular services, receiving only an SOS notification on their devices.

Downdetector map image of AT&T Outage
Map Source: Downdetector

AT&T, which serves approximately 290 million people nationwide, reported that service was partially restored for about three-quarters of its network by 11 AM Eastern and fully restored by the afternoon. However, the lack of transparency from AT&T regarding the cause of the outage has prompted federal involvement, with agencies including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) launching inquiries into the matter.

The outage notably impacted emergency centers in several states, hindering the ability of individuals to make emergency calls. Local government agencies, police and fire departments, the FirstNet nationwide public safety network, and even the Department of Commerce experienced limited or no service, escalating the situation to a critical public safety concern.

In a brief statement, AT&T apologized for the inconvenience and assured customers that measures are being taken to prevent future occurrences, though specifics were not disclosed. The company has also indicated to government officials that there is no current evidence to suggest the outage was the result of a cybersecurity breach or hacking attempt.

The federal investigation aims to uncover the root cause of the outage and assess the adequacy of AT&T's response and preventative strategies moving forward. The involvement of national security agencies underscores the serious implications of telecommunications failures on public safety and national security.

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