AT&T and FCC (Federal Communications Commission) have just announced the former has agreed to pay a $5.25 fine for two nationwide 911 outages
happening last year.
As per FCC's statement, these outages were unacceptable and AT&T did nothing to prevent them although they could. If you don't remember, the first outage, on March 8, lasted close to five hours and affected 12,600 callers, while the second, on May 1st, lasted 47 minutes and affected exactly 2,600 callers.
Such preventable outages are unacceptable. Robust and reliable 911 service is a national priority, as repeatedly expressed by both Congress and the Commission.
According to AT&T, these outages were the result of network changes the carrier planned in advance, which interfered with the lines dedicated to 911 calls by mistake.
Providing access to emergency 911 services is critically important, and to that end we cooperated with the FCC in their review. These events resulted from planned network changes that inadvertently interfered with the routing of 911 calls. We’ve taken steps to prevent this from happening again.
The $5.25 million fine may seem high on paper, but AT&T recently tripled customer administrative fee
and estimates an $800 million revenue increase next year. Even so, let's hope these outages stop happening since these fines surely won't frighten the U.S. carriers.