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T-Mobile pays $17.5 million to FCC over 911 outages

T-Mobile will cough up $17.5 million to the Federal Communications Commission over 911 outages that prevented consumers from reaching first responders.

On August 8, T-Mobile’s nationwide 911 network went out twice for a total of three hours, affecting almost all of T-Mobile’s 50 million customers. During that time, any T-Mobile customer dialing 911 would not have reached a first responder.

The fine is the largest the FCC has ever levied in connection with a 911 outage, and the fourth enforcement action involving 911 outages, driving home the message that the agency puts public safety at the top of its priorities.

In addition to the fine, T-Mobile entered into a consent decree with the agency, agreeing to strengthen its 911 network and file detailed compliance reports.

“As the federal agency tasked with ensuring the reliability of the Nation’s 911 networks, we take this responsibility seriously and will continue to work with the nation’s phone carriers to ensure that all calls for help are received by first responders and emergency personnel,” said Travis LeBlanc, FCC’s enforcement chief.

In April, the FCC entered a $16 million settlement with CenturyLink and a $1.4 million settlement with Intrado Communications in connection with an April 2014 multi-state 911 outage that lasted for over six hours. In March, the FCC settled with Verizon for $3.4 million in connection with the same April 2014 outage.