T-Mobile will have to pay a fine in the amount of $17.5 million over emergency 911 services outages that occurred in its network in 2014. The fine was issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which cited two instances of 911 service outages that happened in August of last year. Apart from paying the $17.5 million fine, the carrier will also need to undergo a compliance program, which should help T-Mobile prevent similar emergency service outages of happening in the future. Specifically, the carrier is asked by the FCC to implement steps to identify risks that could result to outages, protect against such risks, and then develop a response and recovery protocol in case such outages occur.
As cited by the FCC, the two emergency 911 service outages in T-Mobile’s network happened on August 8th last year, and resulted to about three hours of total downtime. During those downtime hours, T-Mobile subscribers were unable to make calls to emergency 911 from their mobile devices. Moreover, the FCC believes that T-Mobile was too slow in addressing the outages and did not act quickly enough to notify emergency 911 first responders of the issue. Lastly, the FCC also called out the carrier for failing to establish appropriate measures in order to prevent such outages.
Via an official statement, Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the FCC, said that it has always been the priority of the agency to make sure that all communications networks in the United States remain as reliable as possible, especially in the areas of public safety and emergencies. In the event that wireless service providers fail to take the necessary steps to ensure that emergency 911 services are always accessible to the American public, they will be held accountable by the FCC, as further added by Wheeler.
The FCC also stressed that the outages could have a major impact. As explained by the agency, there are 27,400 calls placed to emergency 911 services from all wireless carriers in the US on an hourly basis on average. What is worse is that the emergency 911 service outages in T-Mobile’s networks affected almost all of its subscribers across America.
As stated by a spokesperson from T-Mobile, the carrier has taken responsibility for the 911 service outages, explaining that the safety of its subscribers are of paramount importance to the company. T-Mobile further added that it has made some significant changes and enhancements to its systems since 2014, and it vows to continue improving its existing wireless infrastructure in order to provide a dependable mobile experience for all of its customers.
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