A problem that started on December 27th has continued into today and has left much of the country with unreliable emergency services coverage. CenturyLink one of the largest residential ISP providers in the country and also provides internet and telephone service for numerous US 911 emergency call centers. As the outage continues, many people have been left with little help for their problems.
While some states have seen their service restored, much of the country is still experiencing outages. Among the states hit hardest by the outage have been Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Idaho, New Mexico, Missouri, Arizona, and Colorado. In many instances, local law enforcement offices have been tasked with receiving distressed calls directly, while others have turned to social media to answer questions and provide assistance. Some affected areas of the country have also taken to using the emergency notification system in phones to alert users about the outage and provide direct phone numbers to their local dispatchers.
In light of the outage, the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates and monitors 911 services, has taken notice and will begin an investigation. Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC, had this to say,
“When an emergency strikes, it’s critical that Americans are able to use 911 to reach those who can help. The CenturyLink service outage is therefore completely unacceptable, and its breadth and duration are particularly troubling. I’ve directed the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau to immediately launch an investigation into the cause and impact of this outage. This inquiry will include an examination of the effect that CenturyLink’s outage appears to have had on other providers’ 911 services.”
CenturyLink continues to work on the outage but currently, there is no given time when full service will be returned to all customers.