According to a FCC bureau, Verizon failed to connect 10,000 emergency calls in the Washington suburbs during a storm on January 26. While the majority of 911 calls aren’t life or death, it’s safe to bet that quite a few Verizon wireless customers under distress were more than frustrated.
The FCC is asking Verizon to investigate what went wrong and to figure out how widespread the problem is across the network. A Verizon rep claims the issue in Maryland was caused by a “mass call event.” I don’t know about you, but it seems wireless carriers need to ensure that 911 calls are completed during events that might cause a “mass call event.”
While more and more consumers are going without land lines, this is an important reminder that there’s one important reason to keep your rarely used landline. Emergency calls placed from mobile phones and VOIP lines are handled differently than those placed via land lines. In some areas, mobile 911 calls are routed to different call centers than landline calls from the same location. VOIP lines utilize E911, a system that stores the caller’s address in the VOIP device, such as the routers provided by Comcast, themselves. Moving the router to a new location without reprograming it can result in errant dispatches.