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Trump sends nationwide alert, networks reports outages

Staff Writer |
Cell phone networks across the Pacific Northwest were hit by a mysterious disruption yesterday minutes after the inaugural “presidential alert” — although at least one cellphone provider insists the two events were not related.

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For several hours Wednesday, subscribers with several networks, notably AT&T and T-Mobile, reported being unable to download data or use their apps soon after the text alert, which was sent at 11:18 a.m. Pacific Time, Seattle Times reported.

“The presidential text alert went out and after that I lost all internet, Gmail, apps — everything stopped working,” said Sarah Mendivel, a medical researcher at Seattle Children’s Hospital. When Mendivel finally got through to AT&T, she was told “they didn’t know what it was,” she said in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon.

Soon after the outage, both T-Mobile and AT&T reported being aware of the outages but did not know why they had occurred or when service would be fully restored, according to online news accounts. But by 5:30, AT&T was reporting the problem had been addressed.

AT&T spokesman Leland Kim said late Wednesday the problems “have nothing to do with the presidential text alert. It was a hardware data issue.”

The outage began at around 11:21 Pacific Time — about two minutes after the inaugural test of the National Wireless Emergency Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. The system was designed as a means to alert the public in the event of a terrorist attack, national disaster, or other imminent threats to public safety

The presidential text alert, which was slated to go out to 225 million cell phone users nationwide at 2:18 p.m.

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