The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) cracked down on four companies for alleged violations of the agency’s 911 reliability rules, with Lumen, Intrado, AT&T and Verizon agreeing to make settlement payments totaling more than $6 million.
The alleged violations by AT&T, Lumen and Intrado were all tied out outages which occurred on September 28, 2020. AT&T actually suffered two 911 incidents on the same day, with one stemming from a network outage in South Carolina caused by the malfunction of two circuit cards and the other caused by an outage on the network of an unnamed contractor providing a 911 aggregation service. The former event resulted in a three-hour period during which calls to 911 failed.
Meanwhile, Lumen suffered a 1 hour and 17 minute outage when one of its vendors, Intrado, introduced two new traffic managers into its NG911 facilities and experienced a configuration error. Intrado’s alleged violation was related to the same event.
Verizon’s settlement, however, was tied to an outage on its network that occurred May 7, 2020. That event lasted one hour and 57 minutes and affected call traffic in 10 states.
Lumen agreed to the largest settlement, shelling out $3.8 million to end the FCC’s investigation into the incident. Intrado followed with a settlement of $1.75 million, with AT&T agreeing to pay a total of $460,000 for both of its outages. Verizon’s settlement was the smallest at $274,000.
“Sunny day outages can be especially troubling because they occur when the public and 911 call centers least expect it,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement. “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.”