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AT&T Fined $5.25M for Two 911 Outages that Affected 15,000+ Emergency Calls

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Apr 12, 2001
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AT&T is paying the Federal Communications Commission a $5.25 million fine to settle an investigation into a pair of 2017 outages that blocked over 15,000 people from making 911 calls.

According to the FCC [PDF], during a five hour outage on March 8, 2017, 12,600 unique users across the United States saw their emergency 911 calls fail, while during a 47 minute outage on May 1, 2017, 2,600 users had 911 calls fail.


The outages, which impacted AT&T's Voice over LTE network used by many modern smartphones, were caused by planned network changes that were implemented on those days that inadvertently interfered with the routing of 911 calls.

During the March outage, the FCC says that AT&T also failed to "quickly, clearly, and fully notify" affected 911 call centers. These kinds of outages are "unacceptable" and according to the FCC, carriers have a responsibility to both prevent outages and in the event of an outage, notify call centers immediately.
Such preventable outages are unacceptable. Robust and reliable 911 service is a national priority, as repeatedly expressed by both Congress and the Commission. Carriers have a responsibility to both prevent outages and, if they do take place, quickly inform the Commission and affected 911 call centers. FCC rules mandate that mobile phone service providers "transmit all wireless 911 calls" and inform 911 call centers of any 911 network outage that lasts 30 minutes or more.
In addition to paying a $5.25 million fine to end the investigation, AT&T is also required to implement "proactive system changes" to reduce the likelihood and impact of future 911 outages, improve its processes for notifying 911 call centers of future outages, ensure reliable 911 call completion, and file regular compliance reports with the FCC.

Article Link: AT&T Fined $5.25M for Two 911 Outages that Affected 15,000+ Emergency Calls
 

coolfactor

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2002
4,906
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I'm guessing the fine is directly tied to their *failure* to report the outages immediately, rather than the outages occurring at all. Outages will occur, but as long as they manage it properly, they won't be fined?
 
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Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
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5.25M is nothing to AT&T. I’m sure they will try to contest the fines if it’s optional. But still, it’s not really a joking matter when it comes to 911 calls that can’t be transferred over to a dispatch center for 15,000+ Emergent calls. Not to mention, any additional law suits that may arise out of this.
 
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macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
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Of course the FCC gets the money instead of the people who were affected by the outage. Did anyone die because of this outage? Seems like there could be a lot of lawsuits since the FCC has basically said they're guilty with this fine.

$5.25M is chump change to AT&T though. This is just the cost of doing business. It's cheaper for them to provide inadequate services vs. paying these fines. They just bought Time Warner for $85.4 billion. That's $85,400,000,000.00 They don't give one crap about this or you.
 
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KGBguy

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Feb 19, 2015
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Sounds about right, our government will never miss an opportunity to extort money from anyone they can.

PS However, the saddest part about it is that the majority of people here see nothing wrong with it... hence, we have arrived!
 
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JPack

macrumors 604
Mar 27, 2017
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I'm guessing the fine is directly tied to their *failure* to report the outages immediately, rather than the outages occurring at all. Outages will occur, but as long as they manage it properly, they won't be fined?

The outages were a result of planned network changes.

Basically, AT&T planned poorly and then didn't let anyone know about the outages.

Outages should not be occurring.
 
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acorntoy

macrumors 68000
May 25, 2010
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Front page Mac news? (Zero mention of Mac or iOS).



- 15,000 affected, probably some iPhone customers
-comes right after at&t raised “administrative fees” for millions of customer (including many using iPhones)

This information might just be useful to iPhone customers when choosing their network provider.
 
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fairuz

macrumors 68020
Aug 27, 2017
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I've heard of DDoS attacks on 911 using infected Android phones. Wonder if it was from that. But then again I have calls with my family fail all the time, so wouldn't be surprised if they were just being jerks.

Btw, I know phones are old tech, so if you call someone who's calling you, you'll get the voicemail. But how come not a single calling app besides Facebook Messenger has figured out that if two people call each other, it should connect them instead of saying "unavailable"?
 
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Schnegg

macrumors regular
Oct 9, 2017
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Emergency call outages can actually cost lives. This fine seems quite appropriate.
 
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garylapointe

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Feb 19, 2006
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Dearborn (Detroit), MI, USA
- 15,000 affected, probably some iPhone customers
-comes right after at&t raised “administrative fees” for millions of customer (including many using iPhones)

This information might just be useful to iPhone customers when choosing their network provider.

There are sites that focus on those things.

There is information not posted here that might be useful for iPhone people choosing video services, exercises, traveling, where is the separation?

Regardless, put it on the iOS page ;)
It's not Mac, it's not iPad, but it's closer.

Didn't there used to be a "page 2"? Or did that go away with the Mac/iOS pages?
 
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