AT&T outage, flights disrupted due to downtown Nashville explosion

Flights at Nashville International Airport resumed after about an hour, but connectivity issues persisted in Tennessee and other parts of the region on Friday evening. Some localities reported disruptions with 911 systems.

AT&T confirmed that one of its network hubs was damaged in the Christmas blast.

“We continue to work to restore service for customers in Nashville and the surrounding areas who were affected by this morning’s explosion,” AT&T spokesman Jim Greer said as night fell in Nashville.

“We have mobilized additional resources including our National Disaster Recovery team and are bringing in multiple portable cell sites to assist in the recovery efforts,” Greer added.

T-Mobile said it was seeing some service issues due to the explosion but was working “diligently with our partners” on restoration.

According to a tweet from technology chief Neville Ray, the carrier was seeing service issues in areas of Nashville and Knoxville in Tennessee, parts of Louisville, Kentucky, and Birmingham, Alabama, and in areas of metropolitan Atlanta.

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Earlier in the day, AT&T confirmed that the company was “in contact with law enforcement and working as quickly and safely as possible to restore service.”

When one network hub is disrupted, typically by a hurricane or other natural disaster, some internet traffic can be rerouted, but not all.

That’s why customers across Nashville and other parts of Tennessee reported losing wireless phone service and other connectivity.

Network hubs rely on commercial power with battery and generator backups. The damage to the facility may have impacted these systems and caused service to degrade later in the day on Friday.

“Power is essential to restoring wireless and wireline communications and we are working with law enforcement to get access to our equipment and make needed repairs,” AT&T said Friday night.

AT&T is deploying portable cell towers to Nashville to support law enforcement and improve wireless service. CNN’s parent company, WarnerMedia, is owned by AT&T.

The disruption at the downtown network hub had cascading effects at the airport and elsewhere.

Nashville International Airport said telecommunications issues associated with the blast caused the Federal Aviation Administration to briefly halt flights from Nashville.

The FAA said the ground stop was lifted after about an hour. “Pilots never lost touch with air traffic control,” the agency said in a statement.

The FAA website shows that the ground stop was issued due to a ZME Frequency Outage.

ZME is an FAA air traffic control facility in Memphis that is responsible for controlling aircraft in the area at higher altitudes.

Flight service at Nashville International Airport “continues to be impacted by telecommunications issues,” a tweet from the airport said around 3:30 p.m. CT.

On Friday evening the airport said in a tweet that “most flights are resuming, but there may be some delays.”

CNN’s Pete Muntean and Kay Jones contributed to this report.

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