Earlier this month, a service outage on AT&T’s network had left thousands of mobile users without access to 911 for a number of hours. As stated in a preliminary report recently released by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), about 12,600 callers were unable to reach 911 emergency dispatchers for a period of five hours.
Because of a “ghost call” glitch in the emergency call system in the city of Dallas in the state of Texas, a couple of deaths may have resulted. The first death is a 6 month old baby named Brandon Alex whose babysitter using a T-Mobile device could not successfully reach 911 dispatchers. The other one involves a 52 year old man named Brian Cross, whose husband, David Taffet, tried to call 911 but was put on hold for 20 minutes earlier this month. Cross later passed away at a local hospital.
The biggest social media platform around the world has decided to make its Safety Check even more useful by adding a Community Help feature to its crisis response tool. With this new addition, whenever Facebook users get marked as safe, they are then sent to a page that will help them get assistance or give a hand to those that need help in times of natural calamities and other emergencies.
Mobile users based in the United States might already be familiar with WEAs. Short for Wireless Emergency Alerts, WEAs are basically text messages (usually limited to 90 characters) that alert people regarding the weather, missing persons, or in times of emergencies and natural calamities. WEAs were implemented after the US Congress passed the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act about a decade ago. Well, it turns out that WEAs can also be utilized by the person currently holding the highest office in the American nation.
This week, the Federal Communications Commission approved new rules that should further improve the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system. For those not familiar with WEA, it is a system designed to transmit critical warnings and notifications to American mobile users. Apart from alerts regarding weather information, natural disasters, and other emergencies, the WEA system also has Amber Alerts, which delivers notifications on children reported missing.
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.
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