American phone carriers are supposed to keep 911 lines up and running as long as possible, and Verizon is learning that the hard way. It's paying $3.4 million after the FCC determined that it fell short of obligations when an outage left 750,000 Californians without emergency calls for six hours. The settlement also asks Verizon to clean up its act: it has to do better jobs of both protecting against outages and speeding up its repair times when things go horribly wrong. Big Red won't be reeling from the blow given that it makes billions in profit every quarter, but the odds are that it would rather give you better 911 reliability than pay millions more the next time network problems strike.
[Image credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo]