FCC Seeks Comment on T-Mobile Network Outage Effects on 9-1-1
Wednesday, June 24, 2020 | Comments

The FCC is seeking comment on a June 15 T-Mobile USA outage that prevented customers from making calls, receiving calls and in some cases, sending text messages over T-Mobile’s voice-over LTE (VoLTE) network. According to social media reports, the outage also affected 9-1-1 calling for T-Mobile customers.

T-Mobile said in a public statement that this outage was caused by a leased fiber circuit failure from a third-party provider in the Southeast. When the circuit overloaded, it resulted in an IP traffic storm that spread from the Southeast to create significant capacity issues across the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) core network that supports T-Mobile’s VoLTE calls.

The FCCs Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau is investigating the outage given the large area affected and the critical importance of dependable and resilient 9-1-1 service throughout the United States. To permit a thorough and accurate analysis of this outage, the commission opened a public docket and invited interested parties to provide all relevant information concerning the causes, effects and implications of the outage.

The FCC seeks comment on the impact of these outages from the perspective of affected public-safety entities, as well as state and local governments. Are there estimates of how many calls, including 9-1-1 calls, failed or otherwise affected by the outage? What was the effect of the outage on public-safety activities and government services across the country? Was there a disruption of data services relied on by public-safety entities and state and local governments?

The commission is interested in learning about the experience of public-safety answering points (PSAPs) during the outage. Are there estimates of how many 9-1-1 calls failed or were otherwise affected by the outage? If PSAPs received calls originated on T- Mobile’s network during the outage, were those calls accompanied by automatic number identification (ANI) and automatic location identification (ALI)? For PSAPs that are capable of receiving text messages sent to 9-1-1, did the outage disrupt the receipt of those text messages or the sending of texts in reply?

Did PSAPs potentially affected by T-Mobile’s outage receive timely, actionable notification about the outage from T-Mobile? If not, how did PSAPs learn of the outage? If PSAPs did not receive timely, actionable information about this outage, what effect did this have on the availability of 9-1-1 call-handling resources to the public? What measures, if any, did PSAPs take to maintain the public’s continuity of access to emergency services? How effective were these measures?

Comments are due July 8. The public notice is here.

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Comments
On 7/1/20, Sean Tajkowski said:
Why concentrate on a single carrier? Let’s talk about all of the groups providing communications without backup plans or load balance failover. Outages happen. Stop putting all your eggs in one basket. These are critical communication applications. Act like you care. Lessons learned.
5 outages in March with FirstNet and one of them 8 hours long. Plans wildland fire outages in California — almost 50 outages during a planned event. How about earthquakes or terrorism?
Hurricane season in a single county within North Carolina. 240+ towers affected. How many recovery assets do you have nationwide let alone in the state? Get the picture? Stop concentrating your efforts on a single carrier and start creating PACE plans. We never like to talk about the failures; all we like to do is give ourselves a pat on the back in this industry. Failure.


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