911 Services Temporarily Dropped in Four States

"911" on a phone | Image by releon8211/Getty Images

Several states nationwide experienced significant disruptions in their 911 emergency call services on Wednesday night, leaving residents unable to contact local authorities for hours.

According to officials’ statements, the outages occurred in parts of Nebraska, Texas, Nevada, and South Dakota, initially surfacing around 10 p.m. and continuing until service restoration occurred throughout the night.

As of Thursday morning, all outages had been resolved in the impacted cities, according to NBC News.

In Texas, the City of Del Rio Police Department attributed the issue to a major cellular carrier without specifying the exact company responsible. 

One outage incident involved Lumen Technologies, a key provider of emergency communications services. It reported that a third-party company installed a light pole, which inadvertently led to the physical cutting of fiber optic cables essential for communication services, per CBS News. 

Law enforcement agencies and emergency responders in the affected states were left scrambling to address the situation and provide alternative means for residents to seek help.

Police departments in Chase County, Kansas; Sarpy County, Nebraska; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Las Vegas, Nevada, were also affected, with each associated agency posting updates throughout Wednesday night.

The Las Vegas Police Department confirmed late Wednesday night that every resident who called during the outage had been called back and assisted.

Reports of cellular network outages specifically caused by issues with the wireless carrier, AT&T, started popping up Wednesday evening, per NBC. A spokesperson from AT&T said on Thursday the company’s network was functioning as usual and indicated that there seemed to be an issue with another carrier’s network that might have impacted 911 calls.

An investigation into the root causes of the outages is underway, with the Federal Communication Commission currently working to determine the extent of the disruptions and identify measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Law officials told NBC that initial findings suggest the outages were not the result of malicious intent or cyberattacks.

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