FCC Reaches $2.4 Million Settlement with GCI for Wireless 911 Outages in Alaska

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The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has reached a $2.4 million settlement with General Communications, Inc. (GCI), resolving a Bureau investigation into five separate 911 outages that occurred on the company’s wireless network in various parts of Alaska between August 2008 and April 2016.  As part of the settlement, GCI has agreed to adopt enhanced compliance measures in order to ensure adherence to the FCC’s 911 service reliability and outage notification rules going forward.  The Bureau’s investigation found that GCI failed to provide timely notification of outages three of the five times and failed to submit Network Outage Reports four of the five times. GCI’s compliance protocol will require GCI to develop and implement processes to identify future risks to the 911 system, protect against such risks, detect future 911 outages, respond with remedial actions when outages do occur, and recover from such outages on a timely basis.  GCI must also maintain up-to-date contract information for each of its 911 call centers, adopt a plan to notify 911 call centers during outages, and maintain contact with the Alaska 911 Coordinator’s Office when necessary.  Finally, GCI is obligated to file detailed compliance reports with the Enforcement Bureau.  The FCC’s action against GCI is not unprecedented.  Since 2014, the Enforcement Bureau has entered into similar 911 settlement agreements with T-Mobile for $17.5 million, CenturyLink for $16 million, Verizon for $3.4 million and Intrado for $1.4 million.

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