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You are here News Domestic (USA) AT&T outage just a preview of what can happen when cell service goes out: How to prepare

AT&T outage just a preview of what can happen when cell service goes out: How to prepare

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AT&T service outage

A widespread telecommunication outage that affected tens of thousands of customers in the United States on Thursday raised a question for many – What should I do when I can't use my cell phone?

While cell service in the U.S. is typically fairly dependable and Thursday's issues were limited in scope, there's a long list of potential emergency situations when cell phones could become unreliable, according to Alyssa Provencio, professor at the University of Central Oklahoma who oversees the disaster management certificate program.

Communication issues are the norm in a disaster, not an anomaly, Provencio said. Some scenarios like snow storms, strong wind, torrential rain, fire, and tornadoes may affect a small number of people. Others, like major earthquakes, solar flares or cyberattacks, have the potential to disrupt communications for millions of people for an extended period of time.

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