AT&T, Verizon, and Others fined for 911 outages

AT&T & Verizon have been huge major players in communications. AT&T has around 44.8% of all wireless subscriptions and Verizon has around 30%. It is safe to say the two major players play a big part in communication. However, due to a sudden outage, the companies were unable to provide access to 911 calls.

AT&T, Verizon, Intrado, and CenturyLink (now Lumen Technologies) have agreed to settle over the Federal Communications Commission’s investigations into the network outages that led to failed 911 calls in 2020. The four companies will implement compliance plans that adhere to the FCC’s 911 rules, as well as pay a total of $6 million in settlement payments, according to a Friday announcement from the FCC.

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.

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.

“The most important phone call you ever make may be a call to 911,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in the commission’s release addressing the settlement.  “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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