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Major 911 outages in 4 states left millions with no way to contact local police.

What was originally believed to be a possible cyberattack left residents of four states – Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, and Texas – without any way to contact local police. Law enforcement scrambled to find a cause for the outage, deeply worried that a cyberattack was responsible for the major 911 outages. So far, there’s no indication that the outages were caused by a cyberattack or other malicious act, law enforcement officials told NBC News on Thursday. While the Federal Communications Commission is still investigating, it appears that a third-party company, Lumen Technologies, installing a light pole is to blame.

“On April 17, some customers in Nevada, South Dakota, and Nebraska experienced an outage due to a third-party company installing a light pole — unrelated to our services. We restored all services in approximately two and a half hours,” Mark Molzen, spokesperson for the company said. Lumen doesn’t provide 911 services in Texas, he added. “Our techs identified the issue and worked hard to fix it as quickly as possible,” Molzen said, “We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding.”

The entire state of South Dakota was impacted by the outage, but residents were still able to text 911 or call 122 if necessary. The duration of the outage was approximately 2 hours. Sioux Falls Fire Assistant Chief Mike Gramlick said in a news conference Thursday the outage was confirmed at 7:59 p.m. local time and was restored to full capacity by 10:38 p.m. The city also sent out an emergency alert to inform residents of the issue and assure them it was being investigated.

In Nevada, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said around 7 p.m. local time that “there is a 911 outage impacting your ability to contact us right now.” Locals were urged to dial 911 on mobile devices, which dispatch was able to see and call back, and said calls from landlines “are NOT working at the moment.”

As of Thursday morning, some agencies had yet to confirm service had been restored, including those in Del Rio, Texas, and Douglas and Chase counties, Nebraska – the former of which houses Omaha. While Lumen blames this on the installation of a light pole, the FCC is still investigating the cause.


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