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The FCC gets a settlement over failed 911 calls

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The Federal Communications Commission got a settlement from four firms in relation to emergency calling standards that were not delivered in 2020. The federal prosecution focused on the four corporations involved in the 911 calls, namely Verizon, AT&T, Intrado, and Lumen Technologies, and their inability to fulfill 911 call delivery commitments.


Verizon has agreed to pay $274,000 to settle an inquiry into an outage that occurred on May 7, 2020. The other inquiries were all centered around outages on September 28, 2020. With its $460,000 payment, AT&T will resolve two investigations, while Lumen and Intrado will pay $3.8 million and $1.75 million, respectively. The massive payout demonstrates the corporations’ willingness to accept responsibility for their failure to effectively accommodate emergency calls.


Each firm has also promised to put in place a compliance strategy. Within 90 days of the consent decree’s effective date, each carrier must examine and adjust operational practices to ensure compliance with the FCC’s 911 Rules. Develop and implement processes in the 911 environment within 120 days of the effective date to identify risks that might result in 911 service interruptions, guard against such risks, detect 911 outages when they occur, respond with corrective activities, and recover as quickly as possible. Within 120 days of the consent decree’s effective date, create a compliance manual, and conduct a compliance training program within 180 days of the consent decree’s effective date.


The FCC said the investigations against AT&T, Lumen, and Intrado focused on whether those firms offered 911 call centers timely alerts regarding disruptions, in addition to failed 911 calls. The second AT&T probe looked at whether the company broke FCC guidelines by failing to transmit phone numbers and locations during the outage.


FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel commented: “Sunny day outages can be especially troubling because they occur when the public and 911 call centers least expect it. 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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