AT&T outage resolved, authorities investigating

By Aditi Sangal and Catherine Thorbecke, CNN

Updated 5:29 p.m. ET, February 22, 2024
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12:07 p.m. ET, February 22, 2024

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is “working closely with AT&T"

From CNN's Sean Lyngaas

The federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is “working closely with AT&T to understand the cause of the outage and its impacts, and stand[s] ready to offer any assistance needed,” Eric Goldstein, the agency’s executive assistant director for cybersecurity, said in a statement to CNN.

11:19 a.m. ET, February 22, 2024

AT&T says 75% of its network is restored

From CNN's David Goldman

AT&T late Thursday morning said most of its network was back online.

“Our network teams took immediate action and so far three-quarters of our network has been restored,” the company said. “We are working as quickly as possible to restore service to remaining customers.”
11:05 a.m. ET, February 22, 2024

How to set up Wi-Fi calling on AT&T phones

From CNN's Catherine Thorbecke

As the widespread outage persists, AT&T is encouraging users to use Wi-Fi calling until full service is restored. Wi-Fi calling lets users call and text using a wireless internet connection.

To set up Wi-Fi calling, users can go to their Settings app on their phone. iPhone users should tap “Cellular” and Android users should click “Connection” and then users will be prompted to turn on the Wi-Fi calling feature.

AT&T says on its website that there is no extra cost for this feature. Once set up, Wi-Fi calling works automatically when you’re connected to a Wi-Fi that you choose.

11:11 a.m. ET, February 22, 2024

Atlanta mayor says city actively gathering information to help resolve cell outage issue

From CNN's Catherine Thorbecke

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said the city is “actively gathering information to determine how the City of Atlanta can assist in resolving this issue,” as local officials scramble to respond to the ongoing outage Thursday.

“Atlanta’s e-911 is able to receive inbound and make outbound calls,” Dickens said in a statement on X. “We have received calls from AT&T customers that their cellular phones are in SOS mode. Please direct all inquiries to restore service to AT&T.”

10:29 a.m. ET, February 22, 2024

AT&T recently applied for a waiver to allow it to stop servicing traditional landlines in California

From CNN's Samantha Murphy Kelly

The AT&T corporate headquarters in Dallas is pictured on March 13, 2020.
The AT&T corporate headquarters in Dallas is pictured on March 13, 2020. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images/File

Just a few weeks ago, AT&T applied for a waiver that would allow it to stop servicing traditional landlines in California.

An AT&T spokesperson cited a "precipitous decline" in demand for landlines and told CNN it wanted to be fully operational on newer infrastructure within the next few years.

That’s part of a sweeping move by phone service providers to replace older copper wire-based telephone systems lines, also known as Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS), with faster and more advanced technology that doesn’t work with landlines.

Consumers will have to decide whether to give up their landlines or potentially face higher costs because of complex, expensive workarounds from the phone companies. Currently, the cost for fixed wireless access typically runs about $69 per month, while ethernet costs about $100.

The alternatives might not be as reliable as old-fashioned landlines either, and the process of switching the old equipment for the new could be a massive undertaking.

The shift away from copper landlines will most likely impact people over age 65, small business owners and rural areas, experts say.

Read more about the move away from landlines and its impact here.

9:57 a.m. ET, February 22, 2024

Massachusetts police: Do not call 911 to test your cell service

From CNN's David Goldman

The Massachusetts State Police warned people not to test their phone service by placing 911 calls.

“Many 911 centers in the state are getting flooded w/ calls from people trying to see if 911 works from their cell phone. Please do not do this,” the state police said in a post on X. “If you can successfully place a non-emergency call to another number via your cell service then your 911 service will also work.”
11:15 a.m. ET, February 22, 2024

What is Downdetector?

From CNN's David Goldman

More than 74,000 AT&T customers reported outages on the digital service tracking site Downdetector.

The site records self-reported outages and is not meant to be a comprehensive number. But with people often wondering why they can't access a service or a network, it's a quick and dirty tool for customers to determine whether a service is down or if it's just them.

The Downdetector service is powered by Ookla, a network insights brand that performs speed and performance metrics for customers.

Downdetector offers “real-time status information for over 12,000 services across 47 websites representing 47 countries,” the company's website says.

9:43 a.m. ET, February 22, 2024

AT&T says its first responder network remains operational

From CNN's David Goldman

An AT&T spokesperson said the company's FirstNet network has remained operational throughout the nationwide outage of the carrier's commercial network.

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.

The customers include police and fire departments, as well as first responders during natural disasters.

11:15 a.m. ET, February 22, 2024

Why AT&T went down

From CNN's Melissa Alonso and Brian Fung

AT&T has encountered sporadic outages over the past few days, including a temporary 911 outage in some parts of the southeastern United States. Although outages happen from time to time, nationwide, prolonged outages are exceedingly rare.

Although AT&T provided no official reason for the outage, the issue appears to be related to how cellular services hand off calls from one network to the next, a process known as peering, according to an industry source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

There’s no indication that Thursday’s outage was the result of a cyberattack or other malicious activity, the industry source said.

Verizon believes the nationwide outage involving AT&T customers “is close to being resolved,” according to Richard Young, a Verizon spokesperson.

Carriers are notoriously mum about why their networks go down. In the past, there have been construction accidents that have cut fiberoptic cables, incidents of sabotage or network updates filled with bugs that became difficult to roll back.