T-Mobile to Pay $17.5 Million to Settle FCC 911 Investigation

T-Mobile has reached a $17.5 million agreement with the Federal Communications Commission to resolve a probe into two 911 service outages last summer.

Combined, the separate outages lasted roughly three hours during which time T-Mobile customers were unable to reach first responders when calling 911, according to an FCC news release. In addition to paying a $17.5 million fine, the largest one ever assessed in connection with a 911 outage, T-Mobile has agreed to implement a compliance program to bolster its 911 resilience and risk management processes, the FCC noted.

The FCC said the nationwide outages occurred on Aug. 8, 2014, impacting nearly all of T-Mobile customers. The Commission’s Enforcement Bureau discovered T-Mobile failed to provide timely notification of the outages to all affected 911 call centers, as the FCC requires, according to the news release. The investigation revealed that the outages would not have occurred if T-Mobile had implemented proper safeguards in its network architecture, the FCC said.

“The safety of our customers is extremely important and we take the responsibility to provide reliable 911 service very seriously,” T-Mobile said in a statement, commenting on the 911 settlement. “We have made significant changes and improvements across a number of our systems since last year, and we will continue working to improve these critical systems with our partners to provide the standard of service our customers rightly expect from T-Mobile.”

This year alone, the FCC has taken four significant enforcement actions involving 911 outages against T-Mobile, Verizon, CenturyLink and Intrado Communications.

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