07/22/10 — AT&T goes silent

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AT&T goes silent

By Aaron Moore
Published in News on July 22, 2010 1:46 PM

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Local AT&T customers spent Wednesday without cellular service. The lack of service angered some customers. Service was interrupted.

AT&T customers in the Wayne County area had their cell phone coverage fully restored shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday after going all day without service.

According to sales representatives at the AT&T store on Parkway Avenue, the loss of service was due to a power plant in Raleigh losing power early Wednesday morning. Maintenance crews began working on the problem about 6 a.m., they said.

A crowd of angry customers gathered inside AT&T's store around 11 a.m., hoping they could find a way to get service back faster.

"I can't get anything," Washandra Oliver said. "I can look at my old text messages, but I can't send any out. It's very inconvenient because this is my business phone."

Other customers also reported that they could not send or receive calls or text messages, nor could they access their e-mail or Internet service via their smart phones.

AT&T sales representatives said they could not provide further information because they were not allowed to speak to the media about the problem.

Joe Chandler, executive director of corporate communications at AT&T, said only that the company had experienced a "service interruption" in Raleigh, leaving eastern North Carolina customers as well as some in Tennessee and Georgia in a lurch.

"We're doing the best we can to address the problem as soon as we can," he said about noon Wednesday. The outage, he said, was the result of an "equipment problem" in a switching office.

"Ain't nothing I can do about that," said Ernest Bloodworth, another customer, upon hearing about the power plant outage. "Nobody's getting any service. I've got to have my telephone. That's my lifeline."

Local businesses contacted today offered a mixed reaction to the outage. Some said it hurt business. Others said it did not affect them.

Ron Carter, service manager at Jackson and Sons Heating and Air Conditioning, said that the company had a few inconveniences trying to reach customers for service or maintenance calls.

"We were trying to contact customers, and we could not get up with them," he said.

Since the incident only affected AT&T customers, however, he said the inconvenience was limited.

"Due to an equipment issue, some customers in areas of eastern North Carolina may have experienced issues with their wireless service yesterday," AT&T announced in a public statement this morning. "AT&T technicians worked to resolve the issue, and service is now restored. We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers."