AT&T and Verizon are confirming to WSFA 12 News that many of their customers in the Alexander City and Dadeville area are having issues with wireless and wireline services because a cable was cut.
"Technicians have been dispatched to locate and repair the damage as quickly as possible," said AT&T spokesman Lance Skelly. Skelly says the cable was damaged mid-morning Wednesday. Skelly says company policy prevents the release of affected customer numbers.
Multiple reports from viewers came into the WSFA 12 Newsroom that technical issues caused them to lose cellphone service as well as the ability to use credit/debit cards and other services across East Alabama.
Viewers reported that banks, grocery stores and other businesses are currently "cash-only" because of system issues. Hospitals like Russell Medical Center were without phone service for most of the day, but authorities say that was restored to the facility around 5 p.m.
Alex City Police Chief W.G. Robinson said both of the city's 911 systems have been all day forcing officials to come up with a different method of handling emergencies. Calls are being rerouted to Talledega County where one of Alex City's dispatchers went to help coordinate.
Issues are being reported on numerous cellphone providers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.
Verizon spokeswoman Kate Jay said a number of that company's customers are also impacted by the cut, "impacting voice and data service for local Verizon Wireless customers. Our network engineers are working with our partners to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. We appreciate our customers' patience and apologize for the inconvenience," she said.
Banks in Alex City closed their lobbies for security reasons and long lines were seen at many drive-thrus to withdraw cash because credit and debit machines are useless.
Jay Stembridge, who works in outside sales, was in Alex City Wednesday when the issue occurred. "It's like a terrorist attack or a natural disaster," he said of the complications created. "You forget how reliant you are on the digital world."
Stembridge said there was no way to work. "Customers can't call, get orders, place orders," he said.
WSFA 12 News has a crew in Alex City and will have more information on this developing story as it becomes available.
There is no word on when the outage will end.
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