AT&T connection glitch blamed for CenturyLink phone outages in Alabama

A technical issue with its connecting company, AT&T (NYSE: T), is to blame for a series of sporadic phone outages that have dogged CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) customers in Mentone and Valley Head, Ala. this week.

Business owners, school administrators and Mentone Mayor Rob Hammond told the DeKalb County Times Journal that service went down Sunday morning and that there were sporadic outages of prefixes 634 and 635 since then.

It's not the first time this has happened, said Mentone Market owner Tom Emory who said "it happens a couple times a year."

Emory said his service was restored Monday but went down again overnight. He said he could call other numbers with a 634 prefix but nowhere else. The sporadic outages also made it difficult for businesses to run credit cards, Emory added.

Hammond said the outage didn't cause "any major problems" but was "inconvenient" and that he had trouble rousing up help from CenturyLink.

"I may have to ride to Valley Head to see if I can find them," he told the newspaper. "This is way too long for a town to be out."

The city tested its e-911 system and found it worked but Mentone callers were using cell phones to contact police.

"We have the officers' cell phone numbers posted on our website and most people know the officers' cell phone numbers. But this is going on way too long," Hammond said in a story published late Wednesday.

The problems first struck Valley Head Tuesday, said school principal Bill Monroe, noting, "our internal system is working, but nobody can call in or send a fax. We're having a major problem with it. Nobody has told us anything."

CenturyLink spokeswoman Carmen Butler told the newspaper that the carrier's service is working properly "because people could call in the immediate area, but not out of the calling area" and this pointed to a technical issue with the connecting company, AT&T. She said she couldn't offer a timeframe when the issue would be repaired but "hoped to have the situation resolved soon," the newspaper said.

For more:
- see this story in the DeKalb Times-Journal

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