The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has settled investigations concerning failed 911 calls that occurred during network failures in 2020 with AT&T, Verizon, Intrado, and CenturyLink (formerly known as Lumen Technologies). The firms will pay a combined total of $6 million and have agreed to follow the FCC’s 911 availability requirements in the future.
AT&T has agreed to pay $460,000 to settle two separate investigations into network failures that occurred on September 28, 2020. Lumen Technologies and Intrado both agreed to pay $3.8 million and $1.7 million, respectively, to resolve investigations concerning outages that occurred on the same day. Verizon agreed to pay $274,000 to the FCC to settle an investigation into an outage that occurred on May 7th, 2020.
“PHONE COMPANIES MUST PREVENT THESE OUTAGES WHEREVER POSSIBLE AND PROVIDE PROMPT AND SUFFICIENT NOTIFICATION TO 911 CALL CENTERS,” says the report.
The companies AT&T, Lumen Technologies, and Intrado were investigated for more than just botched 911 calls. The FCC has also announced that it has launched an investigation into whether these firms properly notified the affected 911 call centers about the outages. It also looked into whether AT&T had broken FCC guidelines by failing to “provide number and location information” during the outage.
“Sunny day disruptions are particularly concerning because they occur when the public and 911 call centers least expect it,” FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said. “It’s critical that phone carriers avoid outages as much as possible and provide fast and adequate notification to 911 call centers when they do happen.”
T-Mobile recently agreed to pay $19.5 million to settle an inquiry into whether the company broke the FCC’s 911 calling guidelines during a catastrophic countrywide outage in June.