FCC settles with telcos associated with failed 911 outages

U.S.-based telcos Verizon, AT&T, Intrado, and Lumen Technologies, reached a settlement with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over probes into a series of failed 911 calls throughout 2020’s network outages.

According to the FCC’s compliance settlement documents, the operators will collectively pay a $6 million fine, all while consenting to secure compliance with the Commission’s latest 911 rules.

AT&T will submit $460,000 to settle two examinations concerning its network outages that occurred on September 28th, 2020.

As for Lumen Technologies and Intrado, both service providers adhered to settle investigations into outages that took place on the same day, with the Lumen Technologies paying $3.8 million and the latter paying $1.7 million, and Verizon consented to settle a $274,000 fine for its blackout.

In parallel, the federal agency’s document also highlighted that the telcos are not being investigated for the failed 911 calls but whether they informed the emergency centers of the blackout when it occurred.

On the other hand, AT&T is being inspected for likely failing to “deliver number and location information” throughout the incident, a direct breach of the FCC’s guidelines.

“Sunny day outages can be especially troubling because they occur when the public and 911 cell centers least expect it,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC chairwoman.

“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,” she added to her statement.

Last month, T-Mobile agreed on a $19.5 million settlement on an investigation regarding the company’s violation of the FCC’s 911 calling guidelines throughout the global outage that happened in June this year.