HUNTSVILLE, Ala – Countless families lost the ability to call and text their loved ones on Christmas after an explosion rocked Nashville, damaging an AT&T facility. Saturday, service outages remained as the phone and internet provider worked to repair the facility and direct services to other locations.
As families in Huntsville took advantage of the long weekend, taking advantage of the outdoor space, some had technical difficulties reaching their relatives for planned outings.
“It’s hard to coordinate the timing because we can’t text or phone,” said Huntsville resident Lynne Starnes.
DownDetector, a self reporting service and power outage website says they’ve received upwards of 7,000 service reports regarding AT&T, likely only a small fraction of the actual impact felt across parts of the south.
Walmart, which is handling returns from Christmas told News 19 Saturday that many of their stores are cash only as debit and credit machines are down, affecting stores in north Alabama.
Chick-fil-A in Florence also told customers on social media that they cannot process gift cards or mobile orders through their app for the time being due to the AT&T outage. Countless businesses across the Valley are dealing with the same problem.
As the FBI and other law enforcement agencies go on a blitz for answers in Nashville, residents are starting to come to their own conclusions.
“This all seemed quite strategic to me,” said John Rajn, a Madison resident. “They are going to figure out who knows what because these guys who planned this, or the people behind this… do they have contact with people who know the power networks and all these things?”
AT&T is deploying portable cell towers in Nashville and across the region without a clear timeline for normalcy. In the meantime, the public is reflecting on just how fragile the feeling of normal can be.
“It shows that we are very dependent on our electronics. If one thing happens it can ripple and impact millions of people,” said Starnes.
AT&T says Saturday morning they began the process of re-routing services to other facilities while they work to get the Nashville location secure and fully powered.