| WASHINGTON, March 9
WASHINGTON, March 9 The U.S. Federal
Communications Commission said Thursday it will investigate a
problem that prevented some AT&T wireless subscribers from
making emergency calls late Wednesday.
There were dozens of reports on social media websites about
"911" calls failing to connect.
“Every call to 911 must go through,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai
said in a statement. "I have directed commission staff to track
down the root cause of this outage."
Pai said he spoke to AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall
Stephenson "and stressed the urgent need to restore service and
to communicate with first responders, as well as AT&T customers,
about the status of operations."
A person briefed on the matter said a software glitch
apparently caused the outage, which lasted at least a few hours.
AT&T spokesman Mike Balmoris said the company was still
investigating the cause of the outage.
The National Emergency Number Association, a nonprofit
group, said some 911 callers were receiving fast busy signals.
The group said the problem shows the "immediate need to
transition America's 911 centers to robust and resilient 'Next
Generation 911' technology" that "can intelligently route around
outages, redirect calls to other regions, or use backup
The FCC has previously imposed fines on other carriers that
had 911 outages that it deemed preventable, and required steps
to prevent further outages.
Several carriers agreed to settlements after an April 2014
outage that affected 11 million telephone users.
Verizon Communications Inc agreed to a $3.4 million
fine after a six-hour 911 outage in April 2014 that affected
about 750,000 wireless consumers in nine California counties.
CenturyLink Inc agreed to a $16 million settlement
in the April 2014 outage and Intrado Communications agreed to
pay a $1.4 million fine.
The FCC said the outages at the carriers in April 2014
resulted in 6,600 missed 911 calls "including calls reportedly
involving domestic violence, assault, motor vehicle accidents, a
heart attack, an overdose, and an intruder breaking into a
The April 2014 outage was the result of a preventable
software coding error at a call management center in Colorado,
the FCC said.
In 2015, T Mobile US Inc agreed to a $17.5 million
settlement after two 911 service outages nationwide in August
2014. The separate but related outages lasted approximately
three hours and affected almost all of T-Mobile's then 50
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by David Gregorio)