FCC Fines AT&T $5.25 Million for 911 Outages

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By Kyle LaHucik

AT&T Inc. will pay $5.25 million to settle a Federal Communications Commission investigation into service outages last year that caused thousands of dropped 911 calls.

The mobile provider’s network experienced one of its largest 911 service outages March 8, 2017, causing 12,600 failed calls, and a second on May 1, 2017, causing 2,600 failed calls, the FCC said June 28 in announcing the settlement.

AT&T failed to notify 911 calls centers for more than four hours after the March outage began. The FCC requires telecom providers to alert all 911 call centers of any network outages lasting longer than 30 minutes.

AT&T agreed to put in place measures aimed at preventing future outages.

“Providing access to emergency 911 services is critically important and, to that end, we cooperated with the FCC in their review,” the company said in a statement. “These events resulted from planned network changes that inadvertently interfered with the routing of 911 calls. We’ve taken steps to prevent this from happening again.”

The investigation found that the March outage “could have been avoided had AT&T implemented additional checks (e.g., followed certain network reliability best practices) with respect to their critical 911 network assets.”

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