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AT&T gets slap on the wrist for ‘preventable outages’ of 911 services

The FCC just issued a fine to AT&T to settle an investigation into the company's handling of dropping over 15,000 calls to 911 services.

Published onJune 28, 2018

The AT&T logo.
  • In 2017, AT&T had two separate instances where 911 services were dropped or limited for its customers.
  • The outages resulted in a total of over 15,000 calls to 911 delayed or blocked entirely.
  • The FCC fined AT&T $5.25 million today to settle the investigations.

The FCC just fined AT&T $5.25 million in order to settle an investigation into two nationwide outages of 911 phone services in 2017. One outage lasted for about five hours and affected over 12,000 people looking for 911 assistance.

In its last reported quarter, AT&T pulled in $38 billion.

The FCC wrote in a statement on the matter that “robust and reliable 911 service is a national priority, as repeatedly expressed by both Congress and the [Federal Communications Commission].” The statement also said that “such preventable outages are unacceptable.”

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The $5.25 million fine is approximately 0.006 percent of the $85 billion AT&T recently paid to merge with Time Warner.

In addition to the fine, AT&T must “implement proactive system changes to reduce the likelihood and impact of future 911 outages,” and file regular compliance reports to the FCC. These “regular” compliance reports must come 120 days from today, a year later, two years later, and then three years later.

However, no punishment for future non-compliance with the FCC’s decree is explained in the settlement. AT&T hasn’t issued any comment on the matter.

In total, the two 911 outages in 2017 prevented or hindered over 15,000 calls to 911 services across America.

Recently, it was revealed that AT&T upped the admin fee for its wireless customers, which will net the company over $800 million in a year’s time.