Verizon Drops 10,000 911 Calls During Single Storm, FCC Not Happy

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.

via Bloomberg

10 Comments

  1. GoodThings2Life

    02/23/2011 at 12:10 am

    E911 is a great idea, in principle, but it’s also important that you give them your address during the call, even if they *should* have it in front of them. Technology is never infallible.

    Also administrators of VoIP phone services should certainly be held responsible for 911 not being correct. I just installed a Cisco-based VoIP at my hospital and am expanding it out to several retail stores my CEO operates. In the process, I will definitely be taking the time to set it up and test it properly.

    In any case, Verizon is definitely guilty of a huge issue if this report is accurate. There’s no excuse for this type of failure.

    Reply

  2. GoodThings2Life

    02/23/2011 at 12:10 am

    E911 is a great idea, in principle, but it’s also important that you give them your address during the call, even if they *should* have it in front of them. Technology is never infallible.

    Also administrators of VoIP phone services should certainly be held responsible for 911 not being correct. I just installed a Cisco-based VoIP at my hospital and am expanding it out to several retail stores my CEO operates. In the process, I will definitely be taking the time to set it up and test it properly.

    In any case, Verizon is definitely guilty of a huge issue if this report is accurate. There’s no excuse for this type of failure.

    Reply

  3. GoodThings2Life

    02/23/2011 at 12:10 am

    E911 is a great idea, in principle, but it’s also important that you give them your address during the call, even if they *should* have it in front of them. Technology is never infallible.

    Also administrators of VoIP phone services should certainly be held responsible for 911 not being correct. I just installed a Cisco-based VoIP at my hospital and am expanding it out to several retail stores my CEO operates. In the process, I will definitely be taking the time to set it up and test it properly.

    In any case, Verizon is definitely guilty of a huge issue if this report is accurate. There’s no excuse for this type of failure.

    Reply

  4. Mclement1160

    02/23/2011 at 2:05 pm

    If you you have a connection in you home from when there was a land line then it must still be able to dial 911 (as per FCC rules) this also applies to all non in-service cellphones

    Reply

    • Xavier Lanier

      02/23/2011 at 5:18 pm

      Thanks for the tip. A lot of people I know don’t even have a landline phone in their home anymore. This is reason enough to keep one around.

      Reply

    • Xavier Lanier

      02/23/2011 at 5:18 pm

      Thanks for the tip. A lot of people I know don’t even have a landline phone in their home anymore. This is reason enough to keep one around.

      Reply

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