In August, about 50 million US customers of T-Mobile faced 911 service outage, and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined the company. On Friday, the FCC revealed that it was the third biggest outage in the last three years, and regulators are worried about the effectiveness of the emergency response system.
T-Mobile has agreed to settle a fine of $17.5 million by the FCC for two outages in August. The company will be required to follow a “compliance program,” for preventing similar outages in the future. T-Mobile suffered its first outage on August 8 for about three hours. Customers were unable to reach the emergency service, and authorities also accused the company of being too slow to alert first-responders to the outages, and not having safeguards in place.
“Communications providers that do not take necessary steps to ensure that American can call 911 will be held to account,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.
Wheeler said that the commission has no higher priority than ensuring the reliability and resilience of our nations’ communications networks so that consumers can reach public safety in their time of need. The FCC is taking steps to prevent emergency failures, and telecom firms will now have to disclose information regarding outages, to fix them faster. The agency is also seeking feedback for improving the 911 network in emergency situations.
David Simpson, head of Public Safety at FCC stated that a single 911 call involves more than one telecom company in order to provide service to the emergency system. A failure in a single area can also prevent users from other states, to reach the 911 system.
A T-Mobile spokeswoman said that they faced a glitch during a software update, and they have already improved their system after the outage. Earlier, the FCC has fined over $20 million to CenturyLink and Verizon Communications, for a six-hour service outage in seven states.[ Source ] [ Via ]