FCC to Investigate Century Link Outage
CenturyLink will be investigated by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) for nationwide service outage from Thursday to late Friday. As per the reports, the service has been restored on Friday night.
FCC has issued a statement stating that the outage was totally unacceptable and the chairman had talked to the company and directed the public safety staff to investigate.
FCC along with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) is investigating this matter.
CenturyLink provides 911 emergency service to about half of Washington State as per FCC statistics. This is not the first time such an outage had happened in CenturyLink. This is the second time in the last four years. Last time in 2016, CenturyLink had been fined $2.85 million for a 2014 failure, which was due to coding error as per the company.
The problem started at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday when the calls to 911 could not get through. Callers found a busy tone while dialing 911. The calls that connected could not be transferred to Police, fire-fighters and other responders.
The sheriff’s office got in touch with CenturyLink but received no information on the reason for this outage.
The only information CenturyLink gave at that moment was there was a major interruption, and they were working to fix it.
But, CenturyLink has been updating the State on Twitter of every development. On Thursday, they tweeted that they had managed to identify the error and the work was going on. On Friday night, a confirmation Tweet was posted by the company stating that the emergency service has been restored.
The officials at the 911 service hurried to convey the emergency messages to the first responders. They used radio to reach out to the Police and medical emergency service. The Police departments, even Gov. Jay Inslee and King County Executive Dow Constantine on Twitter posted the emergency numbers of different responders.
Terry Peterson, who is the deputy director of Snohomish County 911, which doesn’t use the CenturyLink service, got few calls from the King County and Island County and helped promptly by conveying the messages to the concerned departments.
But something unusual happened in the Snohomish County 911 service after the alert stating the 911 outage for all the Washington residents. There were multiple calls only to confirm whether the calls were getting connected or not. After the alert, more than 100 calls were received confirming the service was on. It was frustrating for the 911 staff, as per one of the employees.
According to sources, the State is in the process of upgrading the whole 911 system, and it may not include CenturyLink this time. Almost every state has been formulating plans to change the operator service. So, Washington State may see a new operator anytime soon.
Though the service was restored, the emphasis should be given to the magnanimity of the situation. CenturyLink is the key between the people and the emergency services which save thousands of lives annually. The officials’ promptness should be lauded and the same way, it should be made sure no such interruption happens in the future.