Nashville RV Explosion Occurred Near AT&T’s Nashville Main Central Office Containing Telecommunications Equipment, Knocked Out 9-1-1 Service, Cell Phone Service

AT&T 15-story building near RV bomb site at 185 2nd Avenue N in Nashville (View looking southwest: Imagery ©2020 Google, Imagery ©2020 CNES / Airbus, Maxar Technologies, Map data ©2020 Nashville Davidson County)
AT&T 15-story building near RV bomb site at 185 2nd Avenue N in Nashville (View looking southwest: Imagery ©2020 Google, Imagery ©2020 CNES / Airbus, Maxar Technologies, Map data ©2020 Nashville Davidson County).

The Nashville recreational vehicle (RV) explosion of Christmas morning 2020 occurred in a restaurant/bar district in downtown Nashville, but it was also located directly in front of AT&T’s Nashville Main Central Office at 185 2nd Ave N in Nashville. AT&T reported that the affected building is the central office of a telephone exchange, with network equipment inside the building. A telephone exchange, telephone switch, or central office is a telecommunications system used in the public switched telephone network (PSTN) or in large enterprises. A telephone exchange interconnects telephone subscriber lines or virtual circuits of digital systems to establish telephone calls between subscribers (customers). The explosion interrupted communications service, but AT&T declined to specify the extent of outages. Note that this vital communication service “nerve center” infrastructure is located in a publicly accessible, unsecured area in a bar/restaurant district. The explosion disrupted 9-1-1 services, cellphone service, and caused telecommunications issues at Nashville International Airport.

“We do not know if that (explosion location) was a coincidence, or if that was the intention.”

— Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron

The 15-story AT&T Nashville Main Central Office is located about 440 feet north-northeast of the 33-story AT&T South (Bell South) Tennessee headquarters, also known as the Batman Building. Initially casual readers argued that the AT&T Building was blocks away from the explosion. In fact, the AT&T Nashville headquarters is located a couple of blocks away (about 440 feet away), but the AT&T Nashville Main Central Office — a mostly windowless 15-story structure — is located just feet away from where the RV explosion occurred.

The AT&T outage connected with the explosion caused service issues in middle Tennessee and Kentucky. Several police agencies reported that their 911 systems were down because of the outage, including Knox County, where Knoxville, Tennessee is located about 180 miles east of Nashville.

In December, 2017, all 50 states opted in to the network plan known as FirstNet with AT&T. FirstNet is a combined radio and “exclusive” Internet system designed to establish, operate, and maintain an interoperable public safety broadband network for firefighters, paramedics and police officers. Congress allotted $7 billion and 20 MHz of radio spectrum to build the network. The construction of the nationwide FirstNet network requires each state to have a Radio Access Network (RAN) that will connect to FirstNet’s network core.

AT&T reported that portable cell sites were being activated in the area while the company worked with law enforcement agencies to expedite repair and restoration of service.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) temporarily halted flights out of Nashville International Airport because of telecommunications issues associated with the explosion.




See also …

The Atlantic | The $47 Billion Network That’s Already Obsolete

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AT&T 15-story building near RV bomb site at 185 2nd Avenue N in Nashville (View looking southwest: Imagery ©2020 Google, Imagery ©2020 CNES / Airbus, Maxar Technologies, Map data ©2020 Nashville Davidson County)
AT&T 15-story building near RV bomb site at 185 2nd Avenue N in Nashville (View looking southwest: Imagery ©2020 Google, Imagery ©2020 CNES / Airbus, Maxar Technologies, Map data ©2020 Nashville Davidson County).
AT&T Building 33-story foreground, Titans Stadium in background near explosion site (Imagery ©2020 Google, Imagery ©2020 CNES / Airbus, Maxar Technologies, USDA Farm Service Agency, Map data ©2020 Nashville Davidson County)
AT&T Building 33-story foreground, Titans Stadium in background near explosion site (View looking northeast: Imagery ©2020 Google, Imagery ©2020 CNES / Airbus, Maxar Technologies, USDA Farm Service Agency, Map data ©2020 Nashville Davidson County).




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