FCC settles with Verizon, AT&T, and others over failed 911 calls

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has reached settlements with AT&T, Verizon, Intrado, and CenturyLink (which now goes by Lumen Technologies) over investigations into failed 911 calls that occurred during network outages in 2020. The companies will pay a total of $6 million combined and also agreed to ensure compliance with the FCC’s 911 availability rules going forward.

AT&T will pay $460,000 to settle two different investigations regarding network outages that took place on September 28th, 2020. Both Lumen Technologies and Intrado agreed to resolve investigations into outages that occurred on that same day, with Lumen Technologies paying $3.8 million and Intrado paying $1.7 million. Verizon settled with the FCC over an investigation of an outage that took place on May 7th, 2020, paying $274,000 as a result.

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AT&T, Lumen Technologies, and Intrado weren’t just probed for failed 911 calls. The FCC also reports that it opened an investigation as to whether these companies alerted the affected 911 call centers of the outages in a timely manner. It also investigated AT&T for potentially failing to “deliver number and location information” during the outage, which is in violation of FCC rules.

“Sunny day outages can be especially troubling because they occur when the public and 911 call centers least expect it,” said FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “It’s vital that phone companies prevent these outages wherever possible and provide prompt and sufficient notification to 911 call centers when they do occur.”

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Just last month, T-Mobile agreed to pay $19.5 million to settle an investigation into whether T-Mobile violated the FCC’s 911 calling rules during the massive nationwide outage that occurred in June.

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