Massive AT&T Outage

Massive AT&T Outage

I fell asleep last night while watching a movie and intending to respond to a client’s text at 11:48PM. I’m an attorney and sometimes my clients call or text at all hours. I have an EPO hearing this morning at 9:30AM. I also am a writer and was fortunate enough to get my article out to at around 10PM. I woke up this morning at around 5AM to use the restroom. I always look at my phone to make sure that I didn’t miss any calls, text messages, or the occasional voicemail. My dad is also 99 and living at rehabilitation facility for the time being so I’m constantly looking at that to be sure that my mom, sister, or other family hasn’t called. In fact, I’m supposed to fly out tomorrow. So anyways, I look down at my phone and all it says is SOS. It has no internet and it can’t call. So of course, I start to panic.

I switched it to airplane mode and off. That didn’t work. I restarted it. That didn’t work. I went outside. That didn’t work. This has never happened before. No one was outside, no alerts on the phone either. There was no activity since that 11:48 text message.

I got dressed, brushed my teeth, (no I didn’t shower) and went and got ready. I didn’t see anything strange outside. Everyone was fast asleep. I live in a pretty big complex so if something had happened, I’d think word would have spread. Not to push the panic alarm, but if our country ever came under attack, the cell grids would probably be the first that would get hit. If we can’t communicate it’s a whole different kind of SOS. Then again, maybe it could have been an “Act Of God” (e.g. a tornado or a bad storm). In any event, I was convinced maybe it had something to do with a single tower. At least that was my coping mechanism.

Since SOS is all I could use, I dialed 911 and told them immediately it was not an emergency. They let me know I was calling the emergency line and I let them know that’s the only thing my phone would let me call out. They told me there was an AT&T outtage. Interesting.

My next move was to then drive to Panera, my usual haunt for coffee. When I got there I met another AT&T patron who told me his signal was out also and all he had on his device was SOS. He lost phone signal at 12:30AM. The last text I got was from that client so maybe I lost it right around the same time. It’s now 7:11AM and nothing has changed. I can understand an outage for a few seconds, maybe a couple of minutes, but hours? Seven hours? And from the news reports I’ve read thus far, major news services like Reuters have reached out to the big phone companies and they don’t give them an answer. If they can’t (or WON’T) give Reuters an answer, do you think they’ll give their customers one?

Let’s not move on from that point just yet. As it turns out, the outage has affected AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. None of the companies are giving any explanation even after being off for as much eight hours. Let’s say that it’s not that they can’t or don’t want to. What if they just don’t know? That would spell real disaster because while Emergency Services may still be online somehow, what does that mean for millions of other situations? If we’re reduced to just being able to dial 911 what does that say for us as a society being deprived of the ability to communicate with each other?

While the U.S. government probes Tiktok, Facebook, and other social media apps, I really wish they would summon the cell phone carriers to Senate and House committee meetings and consider some ACTUAL governmental oversight insofar as issues such as these. I have a feeling they’re absolutely clueless and seeing as no one ever holds them accountable this will just be a blip on the radar. Quite frankly it makes me miss landlines. It also makes me wonder if what I should really invest in is a satellite phone. The fact that this even happened and that as I sit here penning this article at 7:21AM my phone remains only able to call emergency services, shows me how powerless and helpless we really are. This is 2024! We don’t fix tech issues in seven hours, we’re so much more advanced, right? We fix things in seconds. We roll our eyes at minutes. This is the digital age, 5K, fiber optics, and in reality our entire communication grid can be turned on and off right before our eyes.

Us regular people (in some cases sheeple) just wait it out. What else can we do? If clients need us, oh well, you hope they’ll email. If loved ones need us, maybe they’ll email too. Then again, how many use email anymore? And a lot of people use the same cell phone carrier for their internet. Assuming they can get online, they might be able to use social media to get messages out. I guess they could also drive to you.

Imagine driving to someone to tell them something. That’s a great sign of how advanced we are as a society. “Hey I just drove thirty minutes to tell you I was planning on skipping lunch today because I have another engagement.” LOL. I guess you could also mail a letter. After all, we know how reliable the USPS is. Mail it on a Monday to get to another part of the same city and the letter arrives on a Saturday all mangled up like a dog had been gnawing on it for fun. LOL

As 7:30AM approaches, I suppose I’ll just get a coffee and head over to the office. When phone service returns, people will be elated and grateful. So what if we were off the grid for 7, 8, maybe it’ll be 10 hours by then. The politicians won’t do anything. Most of them are prostitutes anyways. And what are consumers going to do? This affected AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. And these companies probably offer service to the smaller companies like MetroPOS, Cricket, and Wally World phones. So you can’t go anywhere. You can’t “take your business elsewhere.” There’s nowhere to go.

And it’s 7:30AM and no service. Good stuff.

And, I just did a final proof (I’m a perfectionist); it’s 7:47AM and still no service.