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FCC fines AT&T $5.25 million over major outages in 2017

When an unplanned downtime occurs, every second counts, as it can have a grave impact on the business. Unfortunately, for AT&T (T) two massive service outages occurred last year that has cost the company millions. These two incidents, that made it impossible for wireless customers to place calls to the emergency number 911, were so serious that it caught the attention of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). After an investigation, the FCC imposed a fine of $5.25 million on AT&T.

The first severe downtime that lasted for about five hours occurred on March 8. More than 12,500 callers suffered as AT&T’s service was down. The second outage that lasted for 47 minutes occurred on May 1 that led to 2,600 failed calls to the emergency service.

The FCC argues that after the network downtime that occurred in March, AT&T failed to act corrective measures. The company failed to immediately notify the 911 centers regarding the service issue. In its defense, AT&T told the FCC that the service problem occurred as it was working on changing the network that was planned earlier, which affected the 911 calls.

Related: The world’s first ‘holographic smartphone’ is coming to AT&T, Verizon

Apart from paying millions, the US carrier needs to introduce some changes to reduce the damage and impact in future, if a network downtime were to occur again. But the fine imposed on AT&T is less when compared to the $17.5 million that T-Mobile (TMUS) had to pay for a similar network downtime that affected 911 calls.

Early this month, a major AT&T outage has been reported in Seattle. According to GeekWire, several customers in Seattle were impacted due to this outage that lasted for more than an hour. AT&T will have to seriously implement the changes that the FCC has demanded, considering the frequent service outages.

Related: AT& acquires AppNexus

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