Two companies will pay nearly $600,000 in civil penalties to resolve investigations by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) into related outages of their respective 911 emergency networks.
Issued in early November, the first Order and Consent Decree requires Century Link, Inc. to pay a civil penalty of $400,000 in connection with a 911 outage that took place in early August 2018. According to the results of an investigation by the FCC, the outage prevented the transmission of “hundreds” of 911 emergency calls in six states during a 65-minute period.
Also issued in early November, the second Order and Consent Decree requires West Safety Communications, Inc., a contractor to Century Link, to pay a civil penalty of $175,000 in connection with the 911 outage. The FCC’s investigation ultimately identified a West technician who made an “inadvertent switch configuration change” as the cause of the Century Link outage.
In its Orders and Consent Decrees in these cases, the FCC determined that Century could have avoided the system failure by implementing further checks with respect to its network assets and operations. In addition to the civil penalties, both companies have agreed to implement a rigorous compliance plan to help prevent future such occurrences.