In the classic Spielberg movie, ET was able to phone home millions of miles away.

However, recently many people trying to phone Guilford County government have been unable to connect.

After the phone system began malfunctioning on Friday, Jan. 26, the following message was displayed at the top of the county’s web pages – notifying people that the phone lines weren’t working.

 “The interruption in phone service is causing an inability for certain departments to make and receive phone calls. The telephone issues are not currently impacting emergency services and law enforcement. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please stay tuned to our website and social media channels for updates.”

The county’s public relations department didn’t respond to an email on Jan. 26  asking for an explanation of the problem. However, the county sent out a notice on Monday, Jan. 29, as the problems persisted.

That press release stated “Guilford County is actively working alongside its telecommunications service provider to resolve the disruption to County phone lines that began on January 26, 2024.”

According to county officials the issue was due to “a vendor system shutdown which resulted in an interruption to the County’s phone service.”

On Monday the problems persisted, the county confirmed once again that the phone problems weren’t affecting the county’s emergency services.

Some progress was made over the weekend.

For instance, direct dial phone service to Guilford County departments was restored  – however, callers to the county’s central call centers for some departments were still experiencing issues.

County officials, working with the phone service provider, hope to have things back to normal soon.

In the meantime, those who can’t reach Guilford County services by telephone are being encouraged to email departments directly. An online list containing the phone numbers of the county’s call centers and email addresses for county departments is available on the Guilford County website.

Additional updates on the status of Guilford County’s phone line service will be available at