FCC Investigating Link Between 911 Lines Going Down Nationwide and CenturyLink’s Internet Outages
Some 911 emergency services in various parts of the country are inaccessible amid an ongoing internet outage from Louisiana-based CenturyLink, prompting a federal inquiry and rebuke.
Calling the outages “completely unacceptable,” Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said Friday his agency has launched an investigation into the CenturyLink 911 outage in parts of Washington state, Missouri, Idaho, and Arizona.
“When an emergency strikes, it’s critical that Americans are able to use 911 to reach those who can help,” Pai said in a statement. “The CenturyLink service outage is therefore completely unacceptable, and its breadth and duration are particularly troubling. I’ve directed the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau to immediately launch an investigation into the cause and impact of this outage. This inquiry will include an examination of the effect that CenturyLink’s outage appears to have had on other providers’ 911 services. I have also spoken with CenturyLink to underscore the urgency of restoring service immediately. We will continue to monitor this situation closely to ensure that consumers’ access to 911 is restored as quickly as possible.”
The outage started Thursday morning and quickly spread beyond people’s ability to watch online videos. Beyond the possible link to 911 services, the outage affected some ATM machines in Idaho and Montana. Additionally, as a result of the CenturyLink troubles, Verizon said it had service interruptions in Albuquerque, N.M., and parts of Montana.
CenturyLink did not reply to Fortune‘s request for a comment. Via Twitter, however, the company said it was “seeing good progress” in service restoration, “but … works is not complete”. It did not give a projected time for when the issues would be resolved.