Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs has sent a letter to the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission asking for a review of AT&T systems after an outage that left county residents without access to 911 for at least 3 hours.
“In addition to examining the malfunction of their system, I’d like to ask for a comprehensive review of AT&T’s failure to alert it’s customers and impacted safety agencies in a timely fashion.” says Jacobs in the letter to FCC Chair Ajit Pai.
The Mayor goes on to cite the load of 911 calls that go through the area and that they did not learn of the malfunction through the wireless carrier giant but from a home alarm operator who had to dispatch emergency services to a homeowner where a client was having a medical emergency.
Jacobs later discovered that AT&T had known about the outage for approximately two hours with not notification sent to it’s customers, such as a text message. The county was instead forced to call local media outlets asking them to notify residents with AT&T phones and deploy there reverse 911 service to spread word of the outage.
“AT&T is able to send a courtesy text message to their customers when their data plan is reaching their limits, they could have, should have, and in the future be obligated to notify it’s customers and public safety partners when access to 911 has been compromised.”
Mayor Jacobs’ office has confirmed they’ve received a response from the FCC and they will schedule a meeting with local officials to gain a better understanding of what happened.