Workers from Comcast and AT&T restored cell service in and around Edgartown Tuesday night after a technical infrastructure issue Monday morning caused service to shut down around 7:00 a.m., according to town administrator James Hagerty.

Cell service was spotty in the town for nearly two days before workers made the fix at about 9:45 p.m. Tuesday night. Edgartown IT director Adam Darack confirmed the fix in a text message. 

Mr. Hagerty and Mr. Darack said the initial issue arose Monday morning and involved a “backhaul switch.”

“It’s the cable box of the [cell] tower,” Mr. Darack said.

AT&T set up a portable satellite van to help with cell service. — Brooke Kushwaha

The issue was infrastructural and not related to demand, Mr. Darack added. Although the switch was owned by Comcast, AT&T has an agreement to use the equipment to provide cell service to customers throughout the town. Workers from both companies teamed up to resolve the issue on Tuesday, and a spokesman from AT&T confirmed the lack of service in the town.

"The company who connects our local network connection in the Edgartown area has an issue with their equipment," spokesman Andrea Huguely said. "This is causing some of our wireless customers to experience intermittent service issues."

Town phones are connected to a service called FirstNet, which supports cell service for first responders. FirstNet, which is owned by AT&T, will be compiling a provider report, and delivered a “portable satellite” to restore service for emergency use while the fix was being made, Mr. Darack said.

The satellite helped provide emergency response service in downtown Edgartown, and is the same kind of support system towns use during busy events like 4th of July or Illumination Night.

“It’s essentially a truck with a button and when you push the button, a big pole comes up and acts as a cell tower,” Mr. Darack explained.

The truck runs through a generator, Mr. Darack said, and helped support cell service in the area until the issue was resolved, although connections remained spotty throughout Tuesday. 

“Everyone who lives out here knows whether your car needs work or your house has a problem, when you have to fix something it takes a little longer than on the mainland,” Mr. Darack said.

According to FirstNet technician Carlos Pena, who was working at the portable satellite van Tuesday, the issue with the backhaul switch affects the Edgartown tower’s ability to connect to the mainland. Mr. Darack said he would receive a full debriefing on the issue likely by the end of the week. 

The last time cell service faced an interruption was earlier this summer, when a truck hit a pole and tore down a wire.