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AT&T outage: Internet, 911 disrupted, planes grounded after Nashville explosion

( Tennessean )


Widespread 911 issues in the Nashville area were reported after AT&T wireless and internet service were disrupted on Friday hours following a massive explosion downtown.


AT&T internet and phone service were disrupted in the area about 12 p.m. Friday. The outages continued into the evening.


Users around the country reported disruptions in service, but there was a concentration in the Nashville area and Middle Tennessee, growing in reach from Kentucky to Alabama as more reports came in.


911 access, flights grounded


A handful of local police departments reported the outage was disrupting 911 access, including some non-emergency lines, in their jurisdictions. Most took to social media to share landlines and alternate access numbers where residents could seek emergency assistance.


Rutherford County locations, including the Sheriff's Office and Smyrna Police reported 911 coming back online around 7:10 p.m. Officials said there remained issues with getting the names and location of callers through the 911 system.


"911 has been re-established, but your name and location may not be seen by dispatchers," Smyrna Police posted on Twitter. "Please give your name and location to dispatchers immediately."

  • LaVergne - 615-471-1103

  • Smyrna - 615-930-2067

  • Murfreesboro - 629-201-5056

  • Rutherford County Sheriff - 615-546-5793

  • Middle TN State University - 615-898-2424

  • Williamson County - 615-790-5555

  • Brentwood - 615-371-0160

  • Overton County - 931-871-0292

  • Pickett County - 931-871-0292

  • Cannon County - 615-563-4322

  • Mt. Juliet - 615-406-5849

  • Gallatin - 615-561-2080

  • Wilson County - 615-449-7610, 615-449-7243, 615-443-4255

  • Lebanon Police Department- 615-444-2323

  • Sumner County - 615-712-4335

  • Putnam County - 931-261-6219

  • Springfield - 615-384-8422, ext. 3

  • Goodlettsville - 615-851-2216

  • Coffee County - 931-728-2991 or 931-455-3411

  • Clay County - 931-243-3266

  • Cumberland County - 931-484-2203

  • DeKalb County - 615-215-3000

  • Fentress County - 931-752-0911

  • Hickman County - Police/Sheriff: 931-729-6143, ext. 2018 or 2017. For ambulance: 931-994-8943, 931-729-4922 or 931-670-0454

  • Jackson County - 931-239-7524

  • Smith County - 615-735-2121

  • Trousdale County - 615-374-3994

  • White County - 931-738-7111

  • Trigg County, KY - 270-522-4636

  • Christian County, KY - 270-852-2731

  • Calloway County, KY - 270-753-3151

The Federal Aviation Administration halted flights leaving Nashville International Airport temporarily around 2:30 p.m. Friday after "telecommunications issues" affected the airport.

A statement said most flights were resuming just before 6 p.m. but the issues continued to impact flight service. Officials recommend travelers check with their airlines for flight status.


AT&T did not immediately respond to a request for further information on when the outage would be resolved.


The company said in a public statement around 5 p.m. that they were bringing disaster recovery efforts into the Nashville area in response to the explosion, including regional resources and National Disaster Recovery teams.


The statement indicates there was damage to the facility and access to power was an issue.


"Power is essential to restoring wireless and wireline communications, and we are working with law enforcement to get access to our equipment and make needed repair," the statement said. "There are serious logistical challenges to working in a disaster area and we will make measurable progress in the hours and days ahead.


"We're grateful for the work of law enforcement as they investigate this event while enabling us to restore service for our customers."


Outage linked to explosion


The outages were reported several hours after an explosion in downtown Nashville that took place near an AT&T facility.


An AT&T spokesman confirmed the outage was linked to the explosion.


"Service for some customers in Nashville and the surrounding areas may be affected by damage to our facilities from the explosion this morning. We are in contact with law enforcement and working as quickly and safely as possible to restore service," said Jim Greer, an AT&T representative.


Nashville authorities said investigators think the explosion was an "intentional act" and sparked by a vehicle blast.


Police came across a suspicious RV parked outside a nearby AT&T building near Second Avenue and Commerce Street before 6 a.m., when initially responding to calls of shots fired in the area, said Metro police spokesperson Don Aaron.


There was no immediate evidence of any shooting, but officers alerted the department's bomb squad, which was en route when a "significant explosion" happened about 30 minutes later, Aaron said.


Comcast hot spots available free


Comcast reminded Nashville residents Friday that the public Xfinity WiFi hotspots throughout the potentially impacted areas are available for anyone to use, including non-Xfinity customers, free of charge.


Comcast opened its network across the country at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March and has already committed to keeping it open through June 2021, according to a Friday release from the company.


For a map of public Xfinity WiFi hotspots, which are located both indoors and outdoors in places such as shopping districts, parks and businesses, visit Xfinity.com/wifi. Once in range of a hotspot, select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser.


Xfinity internet customers can sign in with their usernames and passwords, and they will be automatically connected to Xfinity WiFi hotspots in the future. Non-Xfinity internet subscribers should visit the “Not an Xfinity Internet Customer” section on the sign-in page to get started, the company said. Non-customers can renew their free sessions every two hours.

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