T-Mobile to pay $17.5 million over last year's 911 outage

To settle a Federal Communications Commission investigation into 911 outages, T-Mobile will pay $17.5 million. The FCC investigation revealed that two separate outages occurred on the carrier's network last year, lasting around three hours total. While the incidents were separate but related, they prohibited customers from reaching emergency personnel. The outages happened last August and affected T-Mobile customers nationwide, which the FCC says would've kept around 50 million people from calling 911 with their mobile phones during that time. After the carrier also failed to provide timely notification about the outage (according to FCC guidelines), it promised to overhaul procedures to avoid a similar incident in the future as part of the settlement. "The Commission has no higher priority than ensuring the reliability and resilience of our nation's communications networks so that consumers can reach public safety in their time of need," explained FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. "Communications providers that do not take necessary steps to ensure that Americans can call 911 will be held to account."

[Image credit: Photo by Steve Sands/WireImage]