FCC to launch investigation of CenturyLink following US-wide 911 outage
31 December 2018
Beginning in the early morning Thursday, December 27 and continuing throughout Saturday evening, hundreds of thousands of people were unable to reach 911 emergency phone services in the United States.
CenturyLink, the third largest telecommunications company operating in the US, behind AT&T and Verizon, respectively, admitted its phone and internet services were experiencing technical difficulties, but had hoped to have recovered within “a few hours.” After a few hours passed and services remained down into Friday morning, CenturyLink acknowledged the problem was more widespread and would take additional time to fix. This prompted Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to announce an investigation into CenturyLink for its role in the outage.
Emergency phone service outages, ATM disconnections, and disrupted internet service was reported in multiple states, including Texas, California, Oregon, Colorado, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Missouri, Arizona and Massachusetts.
Chairman Pai, a former Verizon lawyer, Obama appointee, and erstwhile advocate of “free market” solutions and staunch opponent of “net neutrality,” released a statement on Friday in which he called the outage “completely unacceptable.” CenturyLink has yet to release a public statement as to the cause of the outage. On Friday, CenturyLink spokesperson Nikki Wheeler advised people unable to reach 911 on their landline to “…use their wireless phones to call 911 or drive to their nearest fire station or emergency facility.”
Brian Krebs, a former Washington Post reporter, tweeted Saturday morning a statement released by CenturyLink that was only sent to “core…