News 6 stopped by the LAN Masters office Monday afternoon to talk to us about the recently released FCC report on a major service outage that affected much of Central Florida earlier this year. The AT&T 911 outage impacted roughly 12,600 individuals on March 8th, 2017, preventing outgoing calls from AT&T mobile devices from reaching the 911 dispatcher. While several states were affected, almost 1000 failed calls were reported in Florida alone.
It goes without saying that the inability for individuals to contact emergency services is a serious problem, but what’s more troubling is the fact that it could have been avoided had AT&T followed industry best practices. News 6 brought the FCC documents to us to get a better understanding of what their findings meant, and what exactly had caused this country-wide issue. What they were able to determine was that the problem had been caused by a computer error that had been missed by AT&T.
The computer error in question caused a communication disruption between AT&T’s network and those of two of their subcontractors, resulting in a five-hour stretch in which callers were greeted by an odd-sounding busy signal, endless ringing, or total silence. These now-scrambled signals simply weren’t able to get where they needed to go, keeping calls from connecting. If an annual audit of AT&T’s networks had been completed, the computer error that was found to be responsible could have been noticed and corrected.
As a result of this overlooked issue, some area residents were forced to find other ways to contact help. One family set off their home security system to get emergency responders to come to them, expecting a burglary and instead finding someone in need of medical assistance. AT&T has since released a statement confirming that they’ve taken steps to determine how the error occurred and to prevent the same thing from happening again in the future.
You can watch the clip of our interview on the News 6 site.
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