Photograph by Getty Images
By Ben Geier
March 18, 2015

Telecom giant Verizon is paying $3.4 million to settle an investigation into a major 911 outage, the Federal Communications Commission announced Wednesday.

The FCC says Verizon failed to notify officials when some 750,000 of its California wireless customers were unable to reach 911 emergency call centers for a six-hour period in April of last year. The outage affected 11 million people in total.

“Americans must have confidence that they will be able to reach 911 in an emergency,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement. “We take seriously our obligation to ensure the nation’s 911 systems function reliably. We will continue to work with providers to ensure that advances in 911 technologies lead to improved communications between citizens and first responders.”

As part of the settlement, Verizon also agreed to implement a compliance program to better address 911 failures in the future.

Verizon posted a quarterly loss of $2.15 billion in January compared to a $7.92 billion profit a year beforehand, due mostly to benefit and pension issues.

 

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