AT&T said Wednesday that less than 1 percent of its U-verse customers were affected by a widespread outage that began on Monday. The company said it had 7.4 million U-verse subscribers as of third-quarter 2012. One percent of that would be 74,000.
The telecommunications giant made the announcement giving the 1 percent estimate on its AT&T U-verse Facebook page at about 12:45 p.m. Wednesday. The company repeated that the outage is linked to computer servers and that it is working hard to repair the system.
U-verse is AT&T’s bundled product that includes telephone, Internet and television service. The outage does not affect AT&T’s wireless phone service.
The announcement appeared to do little to quell outrage about the outage expressed on social media websites and news outlet blogs. One comment, by Lance Haile on AT&T’s U-verse Facebook page, appeared to express a common sentiment among those deprived of their communication service: “Down since Monday in Austin. Outrageous. The lack of response is unacceptable. Truly the worst customer service and public relations I’ve ever seen. Not sure I buy the 1% either.”
Here is AT&T’s comment from early Wednesday afternoon:
“We know we have a U-verse issue affecting less than 1 percent of our U-verse subscribers, but that is too many. We are working hard to fix this and making progress — the issue is related to servers. We still are working to determine when service will be completely restored. We sincerely apologize for this.”
The company has so far failed to provide any more detailed explanation of the outage, which ranged across the South.
Based on comments on social media and other websites, customers in at least 14 states appear to be affected. They included Arkansas, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, Kentucky, Alabama and Oklahoma.
The statement Wednesday provided a bit more information than that offered on Tuesday, when an AT&T spokesman for Arkansas said: “We’re having an issue with a server that supports U-verse. The issue has impacted a limited number of customers in some of our Southwest and Southeast region states. We have been working around the clock and are making progress on resolving the issue. We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers.”
Ted Clouser, executive vice president of PC Assistance Inc. in Little Rock, told Arkansas Business that some of his clients had been experiencing outages.
“There’s not a specific area that seems to be affected,” he said. “So it probably has to be a piece of hardware failure somewhere.”
Clouser said his personal U-verse network went down on Tuesday, but was only inoperative for about 40 minutes. When he reset his modem, he said, the console was trying to connect to a server.
“I truly wasn’t connected,” he said. “To me, I’ve got to believe that it was a physical issue somewhere.”
One Little Rock customer who experienced the outage noted in an email to Arkansas Business that her next door neighbor’s U-verse was working properly and expressed frustration at the lack of information from AT&T.
“I know things go out, but not having any information nor having a customer service center to call is very frustrating.
“When you call their service line, they suggest you go to their website. How? I pay $350 a month for cell, tv (no premium channels), landline, and wireless.”
Some customers on AT&T’s U-verse Facebook page said they had persuaded AT&T to offer them credit of $5 or $10 for each day of the outage.
On its Twitter feed, AT&T responded to customer complaints by saying its technicians were working around the clock and suggesting the customers reboot their systems. Many of these customers, however, have reported that the restart fix suggested by U-verse support was not working.
Luke Jones contributed to this report.