Post Probe Finds Pattern of Verizon 911 Emergency Call Failures in DC Suburbs

The Washington Post obtained e-mails, letters and documents, and interviewed dozens of experts in an investigation into 911 failures by Verizon that left some residents without help in dire situations.


Severe storms, including last summer's derecho, caused widespread outages of the 911 emergency call system routed by Verizon, but the extent of failures in the system is more widespread and sometimes has gone undetected by the company, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

Maryland’s Office of People’s Counsel, an independent state agency that represents the interests of residential utility consumers, has proposed fining Verizon, the company that routes all 911 emergency calls across the immediate DC suburban area, at least $1 million for 911 outages in the past two years, according to the Post.

“It is extremely important that we get this right. This is 911,” Anthony A. Lewis, Verizon’s regional vice president for government affairs, told the paper. 

He said the company has worked hard to improve service, noting it did not experience widespread failures during Hurricane Sandy.

There have been at least 11 outages since July 2010 in Maryland and Virginia, according to the Post, and the failures have gotten the attention of Maryland regulators and the Federal Communications Commission.

Problems have been particularly acute in Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, according to the article, which can be read in its entirety here.


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