On Long Island and in the rest of the metropolitan...

On Long Island and in the rest of the metropolitan area, AT&T reported about 1,500 customers without service at 9:30 a.m. Thursday. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A nationwide disruption of AT&T’s wireless network Thursday largely spared Long Island and the rest of the metropolitan area but left thousands elsewhere without service for hours, the Dallas-based company said.

By 3:30 p.m., service had been mostly restored to customers.

"Based on our initial review, we believe that today’s outage was caused by the application and execution of an incorrect process used as we were expanding our network, not a cyber attack," said a statement posted late Thursday on the carrier's website. 

"We are continuing our assessment of today’s outage to ensure we keep delivering the service that our customers deserve," the statement said.

The disruption began about 3:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, according to Downdetector.com, a website that tracks wireless outages. About 73,000 AT&T customers were affected by 9:30 a.m. That number dropped to 6,825 by 1 p.m. By about 7:30 p.m., it had fallen to just above 700, according to the website.

The majority of customers affected appeared to be located in Texas, including major hubs in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Customers in Atlanta, Chicago and Miami were also hard hit by the outage. AT&T is the nation’s largest carrier, with more than 240 million subscribers.

In Long Island and the rest of the metropolitan area, AT&T reported about 1,500 customers without service at 9:30 a.m. By 1 p.m. that number was 144, and by about 7:30 p.m., nine outages remained.

Verizon had 17 outages reported locally, but that number had dropped to five by 5 p.m. T-Mobile reported 20 outages in New York early Thursday, with just four by 5 p.m.

“Verizon’s network is operating normally,” the company said in a statement. “Some customers experienced issues this morning when calling or texting with customers served by another carrier. We are continuing to monitor the situation.”

The Nassau and Suffolk county police, as well as the state police and NYPD, reported no issues with cell customers trying to reach 911 — and, in the case of New York City, 311.

Suffolk County Executive Ed Romaine released a statement urging residents to text 911 if they have trouble calling in for a police or fire emergency.

“Residents are advised to check the Suffolk County Police Department’s and Suffolk County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services’ (FRES) social media platforms for further updates,” the statement said.

The manager of an AT&T store in Wantagh, Sam Jalmob, said he had “one or two” customers walk in Thursday to check on issues, but otherwise, the situation appeared “pretty normal.”

“It's all over CNN, all over the news,” Jalmob said, “so people are asking. I had customers calling from Texas and Florida. But, otherwise, there doesn't seem to be problems here.”

Alexander Wyglinski, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, told Newsday earlier Thursday in an email that there was a possible workaround to the outage.

“A lot of cellphones do Wi-Fi calling. So, as a potential backup, if you are close to a Wi-Fi access point, you may be able to use that…,” Wyglinski said.

With AP

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