FCC Issues Record Fines in 9-1-1 Outage

On April 9, 2014 81 PSAPs in 7 states stopped receiving 9-1-1 calls from citizens in their jurisdictions. Over 6,600 calls went unanswered during a 6 hour outage effecting over 11 million residents. The Federal Communication Commission conducted an in-depth investigation into the outage and found that it had been completely avoidable. Last week the FCC levied the largest fines ever issued relating to the 9-1-1 system to three private companies: CenturyLink ($16 million), Intrado Communications ($1.4 million), and Verizon ($3.4 million).

See the press release On The FCC Website.

Read the full report on the outage On The FCC Website.

Our View

It is comforting to see the FCC holding private businesses accountable for their role in the 9-1-1 system. As the system matures it grows more complex and deepens it’s importance to the American people. We encourage our residents to rely on the system, and it needs to work correctly. Every. Single. Time. The FCC is looking more to private business to develop technologies to improve our 9-1-1 system, through faster routing, better call quality, and most importantly through better location information. We must hold these companies to the highest of standards when they partake in our national emergency system. Even a moment of failure can have tragic results.

In the FCC’s introduction of their report they say “Americans rely on 911 as a reliable way to communicate in an emergency, and lapses like this cannot be permitted.” We want to echo this sentiment as loudly and strongly as we can.