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AT&T: Works Toward Reduction of Network Data Outages

"We will continue to work aggressively to establish new network routes to increase diverse routes for these connections."

According to a call to AppleCare on Monday, February 2nd, the state of Texas experienced an AT&T data and 3G network outage that lasted for approximately five hours.

iPhone users in the state of Texas, according to the AppleCare representative, and based on our confirmation in the Houston Metro area were unable to use any of their iPhone data services. Neither email or Internet was accessible.

We contacted AT&T spokesperson,Mark Siegel, who advised us: "The outage was the result of a cable cut earlier in the day. It affected wireless data only. Voice services worked normally. Service was restored by 4 P.M. (Eastern).

Services were restored around 3:15 P.M. C.S.T. in the Houston Metro Area for iPhone Atlas staffer David Martin.

On February 2nd Gizmodo reported that the outage was also felt in Oklahoma and Louisiana.

Now, for the second time in less than a week, a damaged telecommunications cable has killed wireless data services for AT&T cellular customers in South Texas. According to a post by Dwight Silverman reporting for the Houston Chronicle:

"AT&T spokesman Dan Feldstein offered the following statement: "AT&T is currently responding to a suspected cable cut that is impacting wireless data services for some customers in South Texas. We will provide additional information as soon as it becomes available. ""

The outage on Wednesday, February 4th, was felt in Austin, Houston and San Antonio. Dwight also reported @ATTNews Twiter reports of of outages as they occured and reports of when outages ended. The only catch. Silverman says, "you'd have to be active on Twitter to get the news this way - but it's better than stony silence," which of course wasn't possible for iPhone users in the affected areas.

More recetnly, Dwight posted an interesting update to a message on his blog that he received from AT&T:

"We regret the inconvenience our customers experienced this week because of cable cuts caused by a third-party construction project. The damaged cables, which were clearly marked and reported, included backbone network connections that carry a substantial amount of mobile service traffic from customers in South Texas.

"We are taking several steps to help ensure that a similar situation is not repeated in the future. We have already begun planning and implementation for more diverse network routing for these connections, which will help to limit the impact of any future cable cuts along the route that was damaged this week. Our network is built from the ground up with extensive route diversity, and with 879,000 miles of fiber in our network, we are able to move quickly to expand route diversity when situations like this are encountered.

"We also are putting into place new, faster traffic rerouting techniques that will help to limit downtime from any future cuts along this fiber route. These techniques were developed during restoration of the first cable cut on Monday, and were used during the second cable cut on Wednesday to expedite service restoration. [Emphasis mine.]

"We will continue to work aggressively to establish new network routes to increase diverse routes for these connections. Again, we are sorry for any inconvenience our customers experienced and are treating this matter a top priority for the company. "

There is no clear answer regarding whether customers can expect faster resolution or not to the next cable cut since AT&T is still in "fully investigate" operation mode. Hopefully something will be determined to resolve these issues for data hungry iPhone 3G users.