AT&T said Thursday it has restored its U-verse service after a three-day, multistate outage that knocked out Internet, TV and phone service to tens of thousands of customers in the South and Southwest.
Facing customer anger and service cancellations, the telecommunications company also promised to credit all affected customers on their bills within the next two months.
“We will issue credits to customers we know are impacted,” said AT&T spokesman Josh Gelinas. “Credits will appear on customers’ bills within 30-60 days.”
AT&T did not specify the amount of the credit, but further announcements are expected in the coming days. Households and businesses typically lost three days of service.
The episode is a public relations embarrassment for AT&T’s U-verse, which was launched in 2006 as a competitor to monopoly cable companies. At the time foes such as Time Warner Cable and Comcast had begun offering their own phone service, threatening AT&T’s market share.
AT&T blamed the disruptions on a server complex, but the cause of the massive outage has not been publicly explained. Its duration and geographical spread surprised customers who are not accustomed to anything beyond occasional, brief disruptions.
The outage affected more than half the states in AT&T’s 22-state territory, but the company said less than 1 percent of the 7.4 million customers who subscribe to U-verse lost service.
Those without service could not dial 911 emergency calls over U-verse unless they had a separate landline phone or a wireless phone. If the 911 failure meets certain thresholds, AT&T will have to submit an outage report to the Federal Communications Commission, but the details will remain confidential.
U-verse delivers a “triple play” package, an industry term for cable television, Internet and telephone service using Voice over Internet Protocol.