Eleven million people in seven states could not reach 911 services for six hours on their Verizon-supported mobile phones, according to a report from the Federal Communications Commission. In California, the federal agency will fine the company $3.4 million for failing to notify the more than 750,000 state residents affected by the outage.
FCC regulations require service providers to notify 911 call centers in the event of a service outage. In Northern California, a Verizon Communications Inc. subcontractor did not do that, which caused the center to miss 62 emergency calls.
Verizon promised to adopt a compliance plan to prevent future incidents from occurring and to pay the fine. To start, the company has said it will improve its subcontractor oversight programs as well as how it coordinates with 911 call centers.
The new fine comes just a few years after the FCC criticized Verizon for more than 10,000 dropped calls during a January 2011 snowstorm in Boston.
According to Digital Trends, former FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security chief Jamie Barnett called the number of dropped calls during the snowstorm “truly alarming” and recommended the network perform a “thorough investigation” across its system.
In 2010, the FCC fined Verizon for wrongly charging customers. All told, the agency fined the company $25 million, and the company was forced to pay back its customers for the $52.8 million it overcharged.