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Major 911 outages in 4 states leave millions without a way to contact local authorities

Law enforcement agencies across four states were left scrambling following reports of major 911 outages that saw millions unable to contact authorities late Wednesday.

Many of the outages — reported in Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota and Texas — were restored by the late evening. While officials haven’t said precisely what caused the outages, they come on the heels of a Department of Homeland Security warning of heightened cyberattack risks on 911 services as they moved to internet-based systems.

So far, there’s no indication that the 911 outages overnight were caused by a cyberattack or other malicious act, law enforcement officials told NBC News on Thursday.

“We are aware of reports of 911-related outages and we are currently investigating,” the Federal Communications Commission wrote on X on Thursday morning.

It was less than two months ago that a widespread AT&T outage left thousands without service across multiple states, and impacted some calls to 911 for hours, which the carrier said was likely caused by a process error — not a cyberattack.

Local law enforcement agencies on Wednesday reported a full statewide outage in South Dakota shortly before 7 p.m. local time (9 p.m. ET). Rapid City police offered locals alternative phone numbers to call for first responders, and service was restored about two hours later.

The South Dakota Department of Public Safety said Wednesday evening that “texting to 9-1-1 is operating in most locations” as an option to contact authorities.

In Nevada, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said around 7 p.m. local time (10 p.m. ET) that “there is a 911 outage impacting your ability to contact us right now.” Locals were urged to dial 911 on mobile devices, which dispatch was able to see and call back, and said calls from landlines “are NOT working at the moment.”

Calls were working again by 9 p.m. (midnight ET). “All of the individuals who called during the outage have been called back and provided assistance,” the department said.

Del Rio Police in Texas said the issue is “with the carrier and not the City of Del Rio systems.” The issue appeared to be with T-Mobile’s service, Juan Hernandez, the department’s communications supervisor, said Thursday morning.

“Anybody who is a T-Mobile customer was having problems using their phones,” Hernandez said. “It was nothing that was on our end, there was no 911 outage, it was a T-Mobile coverage outage.”

He said T-Mobile had been alerted by customers about having issues Wednesday evening and it was ultimately resolved. No injuries or serious issues were reported in connection with the service disruption.

However, the Chase County Sheriff’s Office said “911 is down across the State of Nebraska” for all cellular carriers except T-Mobile, and landlines were able to still get through to 911.

Kathy Allen, the director of Douglas County 911 in Nebraska, said in a statement that service was “completely restored” by 4 a.m. Thursday.

Lumen, a global communications services provider, told the department regarding the cause of the outage that “there was a fiber cut, but they did not disclose the location of the damage,” Allen said.

An AT&T spokesperson said Thursday that the outage was “not a FirstNet issue,” referring to the nationwide broadband network for public safety commissioned by the government and built by AT&T. The network is overseen by the First Responder Network Authority, an independent agency within the Department of Commerce.

NBC News has reached out to other major cellphone carriers for comment.

This story comes from NBC News.