The Enforcement Bureau of the U.S. Federal Communications has entered into Consent Decrees with four major telecom carriers in connection with a system outage that prevented them from delivering 911 emergency calls.
The companies, CenturyLink, Intrado Safety Communications, Cellco Partnership (d/b/a Verizon Wireless), and AT&T Mobility, have agreed to pay a total of nearly $6.3 million in financial penalties for their roles in four separate 911 outages in September 2020. The outages ranged in length from one to three hours and affected users in multiple states across the U.S.
Commission rules require that “all telecommunications carriers shall transmit all 911 calls to a PSAP (public safety answering point), to a designated statewide default answering point, or to an appropriate local emergency authority.” Carriers are also required to notify designated parties at the affected PSAP “as soon as possible but no later than thirty minutes after discovering the outage.”
In addition to paying the designated financial penalties, each company also agreed to implement a compliance plan to ensure future compliance with FCC rules and to appoint a compliance officer to monitor the plan’s implementation and effectiveness.