Verizon pays $3.4 million related to 911 outage

The Federal Communications Commission extracted a $3.4 million settlement from Verizon over an investigation into a 911 service outage last year. 

The settlement was reached after Verizon allegedly failed to alert a number of emergency dispatch centers in California that customers were unable to make 911 calls for about six hours. 

“Americans must have confidence that they will be able to reach 911 in an emergency,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said. “We take seriously our obligation to ensure the nation’s 911 systems function reliably." 

The outage in nine California counties was part of a broader outage around the country that affected 11 million people in April 2014. Though no deaths were believed to result from the outage, more than 6,600 calls did not get to operators, according to an FCC report. 

An FCC report found that the outage was caused by vulnerabilities as networks increasingly use "IP technology" for 911 service. As part of the settlement, Verizon would have to adopt a compliance plan that protects against outages and requires quick notification of outages in the future. 

On Wednesday, the FCC also announced a separate fine against a smaller Oklahoma based carrier that allegedly failed to route 911 calls to emergency responders in 2013.