It must be a really harrowing experience if you have to contact first responders and the 911 call doesn’t connect, but this is what happened to thousands of T-Mobile customers in the US during a 12-hour period on June 15, 2020 .
As a result of this alarming incident, the wireless carrier this week agreed to pay $19.5 million in settlement with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Last year’s nationwide 911 outage resulted in a “complete failure” of more than 23,000 emergency calls, according to the FCC report.
The initial cause of the downtime was attributed to a “brief failure of a leased fiber transport link in the T-Mobile network,” the FCC said, adding that “the outage was detected, and compounded by a temporary routing fault in a single . Two previously known defects in the location and third-party software. Restoration was also affected by a temporary failure of remote access to the affected transport link.”
In a widely reported statement on this week’s settlement with the FCC, T-Mobile said it has improved the reliability of its emergency systems to ensure that 911 is available to customers when they need it.
“We understand how important reliable connectivity is to ensuring public safety and we take that responsibility very seriously,” T-Mobile said in the statement. “We have built resilience into our emergency systems to ensure that our 911 elements are available when needed. This was a short-term isolated outage and we immediately took steps to further expand our network to prevent this type of incident in the future. Took steps.”
The company said it is now “moving ahead of the FCC’s investigation and continuing our focus on our ongoing network build-up.”
This isn’t the first time T-Mobile customers have encountered problems calling 911. Multiple outages in 2014 blocked service for a total of three hours. The carrier agreed to pay the FCC $17.5 million to settle the matter.