By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Many local Frontier Communications customers, including the city police department and the local hospital, are still without telephone service this week due to a multi-state outage.
A company spokesman reported that the outage is “widespread, through many states,” and is possibly related to the Christmas morning bombing in Nashville, Tenn. The spokesman said “many are working on the issue” but admitted that the company has no idea yet when service would be restored.
Atmore Police Chief Chuck Brooks said APD’s non-emergency numbers quit working last Saturday, leaving citizens without a way to reach city police and making it difficult for dispatchers to relay messages to other dispatchers or to emergency personnel.
“It could be a very big problem,” Brooks said. “We’re the secondary 911 number, with Brewton as the primary, and the only way our dispatchers could communicate with county dispatchers was to use their personal cell phones. The 911 service is from AT&T, but if the emergency and non-emergency numbers were to go down at the same time, it could be a catastrophe.”
The outage is also affecting phone service at Atmore Community Hospital, The Meadows and Buster’s Restaurant, among numerous other businesses. Some businesses are unable to accept debit or credit cards, and most Frontier residential customers in the city’s southeastern sector remained without phone service this week.
The outage has affected different entities in different ways.
“It’s affecting a lot of people around here,” Brooks said. “Some had land line-to-land line service but couldn’t take calls from cell phones; some lost all service.”
Staff writer Josh Frye contributed to this article.