Baylor community affected by national cellular outage

Many members of the Baylor community woke up to the news of a nationwide cellular outage. Lilly Yablon | Photographer

By Luke Lattanzi | Staff Writer

The Baylor campus woke up Thursday to a nationwide cellular outage primarily affecting the phone carrier AT&T, as well as T-Mobile, Cricket Wireless and Verizon. As of 3 p.m., service has been restored.

Around 8:30 a.m., a Baylor Alert email detailed the Baylor Police Department’s monitoring of the situation.

“Some of the nation’s largest wireless carriers are experiencing outages or disruptions to their services,” the email read. “Restoration is not known at this time. This outage is affecting some users locally and on the Baylor University campus in Waco, Texas.”

The email also said students can still reach BUPD using its emergency phone number: 254-710-2222. In case calls did not go through, BUPD advised students to call 911, as calls would be redirected to a local call center. For those who may have trouble calling 911, cellular carriers advised people to enable “Wi-Fi Calling” as a temporary workaround, and BUPD recommended students use the Rave Guardian app if in need of assistance.

The email also told students to monitor their Baylor emails and the university’s website and social media for updates.

Waco Police Department spokesperson Cierra Shipley said via email that Waco emergency services were not affected by the outages.

Large numbers of outages from AT&T’s cellular service started being reported at 2:40 a.m. The reports peaked at 7:10 a.m., with more than 74,000 reported outages, according to DownDetector. By 11:32 a.m., DownDetector showed that most cellular service had been restored, but over 13,000 outages were still reported as of 11:47 a.m.

Cricket Wireless, a service provider owned by AT&T, also began experiencing outages at around 3 a.m., peaking at just over 13,000 reported outages. Reported outages declined to just under 3,000 by 11:46 a.m.

The Lariat reached out to AT&T for comment but did not receive a response.

T-Mobile and Verizon saw comparatively fewer outages. T-Mobile outages peaked at just over 2,000 reports at around 7:04 a.m. but declined to just under 900 by 11:49 a.m. Verizon outages peaked at 7:02 a.m. with over 4,200 reported outages but declined to just over 1,200 by 11:47 a.m.

According to DownDetector, the areas most affected in the U.S. were Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Chicago, New York, Miami, Dallas, Atlanta and Indianapolis.

Jon Allen, chief information officer and chief information security officer, said via email that Baylor has been in contact with AT&T representatives throughout the entire outage and has been receiving updates as they become available.

Allen also said Baylor has a “small number of university devices” on AT&T’s network, and the primary impact has been to faculty, staff and students’ personal devices.

Luke Lattanzi is a senior political science major with a minor in news-editorial originally from Monroe Township, New Jersey, now based in Houston. In his last semester at the Lariat, he is excited to learn more about what it takes to report for a daily news publication. Luke also serves as assistant editor for conservative digital magazine American Pigeon. He hopes to work for a publication as a reporter after graduation.