The majority of AT&T’s services have been restored after an RV exploded across from the company’s transmission building in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, on Christmas morning, AT&T officials said today.
“Our mobility network is now operating normally, nearly all home internet and video customers have been restored and our business customers are back online,” a prepared statement from the carrier reads.
As of late Sunday evening, adequate power was available on most floors of the building with the help of the generators supporting the equipment. Twenty-three disaster recovery technology and support trailers arrived in Nashville on Sunday, which will allow AT&T to maintain service and make repairs in the days ahead.
Although AT&T is beginning to turn off the portable sites that are no longer needed, given the recovery of service, the carrier has 11 portable cell sites running in the region to support customers and first responders.
The explosion caused significant damage to the AT&T building on 2nd Avenue, which includes connection points for regional internet services as well as local wireless, internet and video, according to Jeff McElfresh, CEO of AT&T Communications.
“In the hours that followed the explosion, our local service remained intact through temporary battery power,” McElfresh said in a prepared statement. “Unfortunately, a combination of the explosion and resulting water and fire damage took out a number of backup power generators intended to provide power to the batteries.” As a result, service disruptions were experienced across parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama, and, more than 48 hours later, some customers were still experiencing outages.
“What has made network restoration so difficult is doing it while maintaining the integrity of an active crime scene in cooperation with federal and local law enforcement,” McElfresh said. “Hundreds of employees – our own AT&T employees as well as first responders – have stepped in over the last two days to restore service. We’ve restored power to multiple floors in the building and deployed over 25 temporary satellite cell towers and 24 additional trailers of disaster recovery equipment across the impacted area.”
AT&T prioritized restoration of wireless service, which is 96 percent restored; 60 percent of business services are restored, and 86 percent of consumer broadband and entertainment services are restored.
“I am proud to work with so many dedicated individuals who left their family holiday celebrations and willingly answered the call to work non-stop over the last few days to restore service under some extremely challenging conditions,” McElfresh said.
Although not as well publicized, the explosion in Nashville also cause service issues for T-Mobile in certain areas of Louisville, Nashville and Knoxville, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; and Atlanta. The day after Christmas, T-Mobile continued to see service interruptions but was working around the clock to restore it.
On Sunday, Neville Ray, T-Mobile president of technology, reported “strong progress on restoration this morning as we continue our efforts to bring service back to all areas impacted by this event.”