Verizon to pay $1 million fine over repeat 911 call outage in 2022

FILE PHOTO: The Verizon store in Superior

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Verizon Communications' wireless business will pay a $1.05 million fine to resolve an investigation into whether the company violated government rules by failing to deliver 911 calls during an outage in six states in December 2022.

The FCC said the outage lasted for one hour and forty-four minutes and prevented hundreds of 911 calls from completing through Verizon Wireless' network and was similar to one that Verizon Wireless experienced in October 2022.

The network outage impacted 911 traffic in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

"We are committed to ensuring communications providers uphold their responsibilities in providing critical 911 services to the American public," said Loyaan A. Egal, chief of the FCC's enforcement bureau.

Verizon agreed to pay the fine and under a consent decree agreed to implement a robust compliance plan to ensure compliance with the FCC’s 911 rules.

"The incident in 2022 was a highly unusual occurrence," Verizon spokesman Rich Young said.

"We understand the critical importance of maintaining a robust and reliable 911 network, and we're committed to ensuring that our customers can always rely on our services in times of need," Young added.

Verizon will perform 911 risk assessments and establish enhanced processes for implementing security policy updates.

The December 2022 outage was the result of the reapplication of a known flawed security policy update file by an employee even though Verizon Wireless was aware that the version of the security policy update file that caused the outage was related to the root cause of the October outage, the FCC said.

Verizon Wireless did not remove the security policy update file from its available security policies after the October incident and admitted employees failed to comply with "business-as-usual" operating and implementation procedures, it added.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Alexander Smith)