CenturyLink faces $16M FCC fine for multi-state 911 outage

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) is going to have to pony up $16 million to pay an FCC fine for a 911 outage that affected multiple states in its territory.

According to the FCC, the April 2014 outage prevented more than 11 million people in seven states from being able to reach emergency call centers for over six hours.

CenturyLink is facing what the regulator said is the "the largest 911-related fine ever assessed by the FCC," which stemmed from the telco's failure to alert public safety answering points (PSAP) in regards to the outage, which was originally triggered by a coding error.

Besides CenturyLink, the FCC also reached a $1.4 million settlement with Intrado Communications.

CenturyLink served affected emergency call centers throughout Washington, as well as in Minnesota and North Carolina, while Intrado Communications served emergency call centers in Florida, South Carolina and Pennsylvania. The FCC said that the "varying settlement amounts reflect the different numbers of emergency call centers served by each provider."   

After the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau filed a report about the outages, the FCC's Enforcement Bureau extensively investigated the April 2014 outage, looking at how each providers' systems served the affected emergency call centers to determine the failures in those 911 systems and in notifying the emergency call centers. 

At the end of its investigation, the FCC said that the outage was preventable "if the providers had implemented basic safeguards and that the providers failed to provide timely notifications to the affected emergency call centers." 

CenturyLink and Intrado are not the only companies that have come under fire for 911 system outages. Verizon (NYSE: VZ) had to pay the FCC a $3.4 million fine for not disclosing a 911 outage in March.

For more:
- see the release

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