AT & T agreed to pay a $ 5.25 million fine to resolve an investigation into a pair of 911 courts that occurred in early 2017. The Federal Communications Commission said the first cut, March 8, lasted approximately five hours and affected 12,600 people. . The second, on May 1, lasted 47 minutes and resulted in 2,600 unanswered 911 calls.
"Those preventable cuts are unacceptable," the FCC wrote in a statement announcing the agreement. "The solid and reliable 911 service is a national priority, repeatedly expressed by Congress and the Commission."
In addition to the fines, AT & T is also required to make changes to help minimize the problems should they be produce an interruption again and to ensure that it informs the appropriate parties about such interruptions. The FCC says that AT & T did not "notify quickly, clearly and completely" the 911 call centers affected.
Interruptions affected people on the AT & T network using Voice over LTE, which many modern phones will use by default if the service is compatible. AT & T had been making changes to the network in those days, and apparently it went awry, preventing calls to 911 from being sent to call centers.
"Providing access to 911 emergency services is of vital importance, and for that we cooperate with the FCC in its review," an AT & T spokesperson said in a statement. "These events were the result of planned changes in the network that inadvertently interfered with the routing of 911 calls. We have taken steps to prevent this from happening again."
This is a really small fine for AT & T (the company contributed $ 38 billion in its last quarter reported, before ). all from Time Warner ), but it is meant to be a reminder of how critical the 911 service is: there is no time to accept an interruption. And although interruptions will happen from time to time, there is a chain of events that is supposed to take place to make sure they are mitigated, and AT & T apparently did not follow them, leading to today's fine.
Update June 28th, 7:22 PM ET: This story has been updated to include a statement by AT & T.