AT&T outages stretch into third day, with 911, cell, Internet services around Nashville affected

Nashville bar owner on explosion

Nashville bar owner Joey DeGraw says Nashville explosion ‘knocked us right out of bed.’

AT&T said it made “significant progress” Saturday night and early Sunday as it worked to restore cell and Internet communication services after a bomb in downtown Nashville did significant damage to its infrastructure Friday.

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That meant that for a third day, the aftermath of the explosion near an AT&T central office continued to impact customers and hamper emergency services. The company confirmed that the office lost its commercial power connection and that it is working with the local power utility on coming back online.

Nashville Fire Chief William Swann said Sunday that AT&T expects to be at full capacity by Sunday night, though the company has not confirmed that yet.

Police emergency systems in Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama, as well as Nashville’s COVID-19 community hotline and a handful of hospital systems, remained out of service.

Counties like Christian County in Kentucky, which is about 70 miles from Nashville, were directing residents to use alternative phone numbers for emergency calls. The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office in Tennessee put out a similar advisory.

AT&T said Sunday morning that 65% of mobility sites affected by the blast have been restored.

NASHVILLE BAR OWNER: EXPLOSION 'KNOCKED US … OUT OF BED'

“We are bringing in additional resources to support the recovery of wireline voice and data services and expect to have a fleet of 24 additional trailers of disaster recovery equipment on site by the end of the day,” the telecom giant said in an update.

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The damaged building contained a telephone exchange, with network equipment in it – but the company has declined to say exactly how many people have been impacted.

Asked whether the AT&T building could have been a possible target, Douglas Korneski, the special agent in charge in charge of the FBI’s Memphis field office, said Saturday, “We’re looking at every possible motive that could be involved.”

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AT&T confirmed ”significant damage to the building from the blast, including to the elevators, some beams/columns, and the building’s façade.”

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Federal agents on Saturday searched the suburban Nashville home of a possible person of interest, and said they have received more than 500 tips related to the incident.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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