The FCC has slapped Sprint with a $1.2 million fine after it discovered that the network failed to properly handle 911 calls from people with hearing difficulties. The company was found to be neglecting the Captioned Telephone Service, which effectively provides closed-captions for emergency calls. Unfortunately, Sprint, along with the firms that provide the technology, let the system fall over for nearly six months. Anyone trying to make a 911 call between March and September in 2014 using the offering would have been blocked from getting through. Even worse, however, is that Sprint still collected its FCC subsidy that's handed out to maintain the service and prevent it from being a financial burden on the carriers.
It's not been a good few years for US mobile networks and the emergency calling system, which seems to fall over on a regular basis. T-Mobile was forced to cough up $17.5 million for letting 911 calls go unheeded for three hours, putting around 50 million people at risk. Then there's Verizon, which had to pay $3.4 million after 750,000 California residents were left without access for six hours. Like in those cases, Sprint has pledged to pay back the money that it wasn't entitled to and, you know, try not to endanger the lives of vulnerable people in the future.