911 outage affects AT&T customers again; third time this year - WSMV News 4

911 outage affects AT&T customers again; third time this year

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MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -

The News 4 I-Team has been digging deeper into the 911 outage that affected AT&T customers Tuesday morning in Rutherford County.

It’s the third time this year that thousands of people have been unable to call 911 in the case of an emergency.

The I-Team’s Lindsay Bramson went to the state to find out who's holding AT&T accountable to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Each time this has happened, it's been an issue with AT&T. When a spokesperson with AT&T refused to answer our questions, we went straight to the state to find out what they're doing to get to the bottom of why this keeps happening.

Customers throughout Rutherford County received an automated message just after 8:30 a.m. Tuesday warning them of the outage. AT&T customers were unable to dial 911 from their cell phones.

“We understand that the outage was because of some AT&T mobility issues,” said Kevin Walters with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

The issue was fixed 12 minutes later.

But why does this keep happening?

In June, News 4 reported how customers were unable to call 911 for nearly six hours. In March, people throughout the country couldn't get through. Last year, 7,000 AT&T customers were out of luck if they needed help when a fiber line was accidentally cut.

The I-Team has learned the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board is now also asking questions. The board’s director was unavailable Tuesday for an interview, but we did speak with the Department of Commerce and Insurance, which oversees that board.

“Is the board concerned that this keeps happening?" Bramson asked.

"The board is always concerned when there’s an outage of any length,” Walters said.

The I-Team wanted to know what AT&T is doing to resolve the issue. They declined an on-camera interview and a spokeswoman refused to answer any of our questions. All the spokeswoman would say in a statement via email is:

We are aware of an issue that briefly affected 911 service for some customers this morning. The issue has been resolved.

“As you said it's a problem that's occurred in the past. Hopefully it’s something that can be addressed by all of our partners and AT&T so this doesn’t happen in the future,” Walters said.

A spokesperson for the Rutherford County Emergency Management Agency said it's unclear how many people tried to call 911 from their cell phones during that time and couldn't get through.

News 4 plans to stay on top of this and keep pushing AT&T for more answers.

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