"The cell phones tie back to the wired world,"
-John Britton, AT&T
RENO - Most AT&T customers have had their cell phone service restored after a massive outage Monday night.
AT&T's west coast representative tells KOLO 8 News Now the company has started restoring service to northern Nevadans affected by a massive service outage Monday night.
But numerous KOLO viewers are telling us their AT&T Internet is still down. We are working to get some answers about the outage.
The outage began around 5pm Monday. KOLO 8 News Now first received reports of cell phone usage being disrupted through the region. The problem is mostly with AT&T and Virgin Mobile, according to those who have contacted our newsroom, but we're also getting reports of problems with Sprint and Verizon.
The City of Reno and Washoe County also notified KOLO 8 News Now that the phone issues are translating to 911 calls as well. Dispatch centers noticed the problem in land lines attempting to dial 911. In fact, regional dispatchers had asked those with an emergency to use cell phones to call for help.
AT&T regional representative John Britton says the problem stemmed from a software related issue at an AT&T central office located in Reno. Britton says he was originally warned of the outage affecting areas east of Reno, namely Winnemucca, Ely and Hawthorne. However, he says the issue is obviously widespread throughout northern Nevada.
"The cell phones tie back to the wired world," Britton said. He indicated while most customers are seeing the issue on their cellular devices, it is a land line issue. "When you make a phone call from your cell phone, it goes to the nearest tower, and then it goes to a land line infrastructure." Britton says the main focus Monday night was to restore service to all customers, but once the service is restored AT&T will conduct a complete investigation into what caused the software problem. When asked if he thought it was related to hackers, Britton said he wouldn't speculate on that.
KOLO 8 News Now also learned this disruption caused problems for at least one local supermarket, the Scolari's on Sharlands Avenue. The employee we spoke with says that the issue is posing problems with debit card transactions.