Washington State attorney general asks UTC to reject the current CenturyLink settlement proposal after 911 outage

By Mark Iandolo | Jan 8, 2016

SEATTLE (Legal Newsline) – Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced that he is asking the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) to reject CenturyLink’s settlement proposal and fine it the maximum $11.5 million over the six-hour 911 outage that left the state without critical 911 services.

The UTC will hold a hearing on Jan. 12 to consider actions. The 911 outage, which occurred April 9 to April 10, 2014, and happened due to a preventable coding error, caused 911 call failures across the state. CenturyLink’s software’s backup measures had insufficient warnings, which compounded the errors and made the company slow to react to the problems.

“It is simply unacceptable for millions of Washingtonians to be without access to essential 911 emergency services,” Ferguson said. “The proposed settlement is woefully inadequate. CenturyLink must be held accountable for this preventable service outage, their failure to timely communicate the problem, and the severe impact it had on public safety. The maximum penalty exists for a reason. If this egregious case is not the appropriate circumstance for it, I cannot imagine what would be.”

The current proposal settlement, which was reached between the UTC and CenturyLink in September, requires CenturyLink to pay a $2,854,750 settlement and submit ongoing reports to the UTC.

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