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FCC to investigate CenturyLink as nationwide outage continues, 911 calls disrupted

29 December 2018

CenturyLink customers around the country began experiencing outages Thursday, which caused problems for municipalities like Salt Lake City, whose government apologized to residents who were unable to reach various departments due to telephone and internet outages.

A timeline for restoration of CenturyLink phone and internet services was not given nor was the amount of users impacted by the outages.

Neither company indicated how many customers were affected. While service has been restored in some areas since then, not all systems are back up and running.

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Some businesses in Idaho also lost the ability to make credit card sales, and some ATM machines weren't working in Idaho and Montana.

The outage also did not affect text-to-911 in all areas where that feature is available. Patient records have been hard to access for medical centres in north Colorado and for other locations that haven't been confirmed. The Idaho Lottery was unable to sell draw game tickets or validate and pay claims on winning tickets. It fined AT&T $5.25 million for two nationwide outages in March and May of 2017 that lasted a total of approximately six hours, and resulted in the failure of 15,200 failed 911 calls.

In Greeley, Colorado, the Weld County Regional Communication Center on Friday said 911 calls were being dropped, but callers should keep trying and emergency dispatchers would try to call back.

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But Friday, CenturyLink customers in Washington state and MA noted that the outages led to sporadic outages for 911 calls.

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called the outage "completely unacceptable, and its breadth and duration are particularly troubling", in a statement Friday. "I've directed the Public Safety and Homeland Security bureau to immediately launch an investigation into the cause and impact of this outage".

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FCC to investigate CenturyLink as nationwide outage continues, 911 calls disrupted