Disaster Zone

CenturyLink's 911 Outage — One Bad Network Card?

Is it really that simple? If so, the dependency is evident as a single source of failure.

by Eric Holdeman / January 4, 2019

Redundancy is key in emergency communications. It one of the basic premises we try to follow. As an example, when we built out the King County Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) we made sure that there were multiple cable routes coming onto the property and into the building to avoid an errant backhoe taking out all our terrestrial-based communications. 

Fast-forward to last week and the CenturyLink phone outages scattered throughout the United States, and the cause is being attributed to: CenturyLink Let One Bad Networking Card Disrupt 911 Services in Multiple States.

Now I know it was the holidays and this happened right after Christmas, but it is a good example of having your fingers speed-dialing the corporate communications team for "messaging" what is going on and what is being done about it. CenturyLink was terribly slow and uninformative about the outage. Maybe they are afraid of the FCC, or maybe everyone was "out of office" and disconnected. 

Either way, there was not enough public communications on this event in the midst of the outage. The event left first responders and 911 centers in Washington state scrambling to get the word out about the outage and how to contact 911 when — you can't dial 911 to get help.

A big fine is in the offing ... I would assume. 

Thomas Plawman shared the link above.