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AT&T, Verizon, Others to Pay $6 Million to Settle Probes Over Failed 911 Calls During 2020 Network Outages

"The most important phone call you ever make maybe a call to 911,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

AT&T, Verizon, Others to Pay $6 Million to Settle Probes Over Failed 911 Calls During 2020 Network Outages

Photo Credit: Reuters

Operators including AT&T will implement compliance plans for FCC emergency rules

Highlights
  • FCC directed four telcos to pay $6 million
  • AT&T, Verizon, and others are directed to pay for settling probes
  • T-Mobile last month agreed to settle an FCC probe for $19.5 million

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said Friday that four telecom providers will pay a total of $6 million (roughly Rs. 45,60,81,000) to settle investigations into compliance with the agency's 911 reliability rules during 2020 network outages.

AT&T, CenturyLink, now Lumen Technologies, Intrado, and Verizon Communications will implement compliance plans to ensure adherence to FCC emergency call rules. Lumen will pay $3.8 million (roughly Rs. 28,88,51,300), while Intrado will pay $1.75 million (roughly Rs. 13,30,23,600). AT&T will pay a total of $460,000 (roughly Rs. 3,49,66,210 to settle two investigations, while Verizon will pay $274,000 settlement.

"The most important phone call you ever make may be a call to 911,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. "It's vital that phone companies prevent these outages wherever possible and provide prompt and sufficient notification to 911 call centres when they do occur."

Last month, T-Mobile USA agreed to settle an FCC probe for $19.5 million after a massive 2020 outage led to more than 20,000 failed 911 emergency calls.

The settlement was prompted by an FCC investigation into a more than 12-hour outage in June 2020 that led to congestion across No. 3 wireless carrier T-Mobile's networks, and caused "the complete failure of more than 23,000 911 calls."

T-Mobile as part of the consent decree with the FCC has also agreed to make new commitments to improve 911 outage notices.

An October 2020 FCC report found the T-Mobile outage disrupted calling and texting services nationwide and access to data service in some areas. It resulted in at least 250 million total calls failing.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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