“Service for some customers in Nashville and the surrounding areas may be affected by damage to our facilities from the explosion this morning. We are in contact with law enforcement and working as quickly and safely as possible to restore service,” AT&T spokesman Jim Greer said.
Greer told CNN that a network hub was damaged.
When one network hub is disrupted, typically by a hurricane or other natural disaster, some internet traffic can be rerouted, but not all.
That’s why customers across Nashville and other parts of Tennessee reported losing wireless phone service and other connectivity.
Network hubs rely on commercial power with battery and generator backups. The damage to the facility may have impacted these systems and caused service to degrade later in the day on Friday.
The disruption at the downtown network hub had cascading effects at the airport and elsewhere.
AT&T is deploying portable cell towers to Nashville to support law enforcement and improve wireless service. CNN’s parent company, WarnerMedia, is owned by AT&T.
Nashville International Airport said telecommunications issues associated with the blast caused the Federal Aviation Administration to briefly halt flights from Nashville.
The FAA said the ground stop was lifted after about an hour. “Pilots never lost touch with air traffic control,” the agency said in a statement.
The FAA website shows that the ground stop was issued due to a ZME Frequency Outage.
ZME is an FAA air traffic control facility in Memphis that is responsible for controlling aircraft in the area at higher altitudes.
Flight service at Nashville International Airport “continues to be impacted by telecommunications issues,” a tweet from the airport said around 3:30 p.m. CT.
“Some flight corridors have been restored while others remain closed,” the tweet said.