Four Wireless Carriers Settle FCC 911 ‘Sunny Day Outage’ Investigations

On Friday, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Enforcement Bureau issued a press release announcing that it resolved allegations against AT&T Corp. and AT&T Mobility LLC, Lumen Technologies Inc. (formerly CenturyLink), Intrado Safety Communication Inc., and Cellco Partnership, doing business as Verizon Wireless, over the communications providers’ compliance with the agency’s 911 reliability rules during 2020 network outages. The companies have agreed to pay a total of over $6 million and implement compliance plans, the FCC said.

The separate four consent decrees, representing the conclusion of five total investigations, penalize the companies for failing to adequately notify 911 call centers when outages occurred. AT&T is set to pay a total of $460,000 to settle two investigations. The consent decree resolves allegations that the company violated FCC rules in connection with failed 911 calls, failure to timely notify potentially affected 911 call centers, and failure to deliver number and location information during a single-day outage on Sept. 28, 2020.

According to the FCC, Lumen Technologies will pay $3.8 million and Intrado 1.75 million to resolve accusations that they violated 911 protocol on an outage occurring the same day. Verizon is set to pay $274,000 over claims that it transgressed the safety rules during a May 2020 outage.

“The most important phone call you ever make may be a call to 911,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement. “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. I thank the Enforcement Bureau and the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau for their work on these investigations.”