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CenturyLink, West Safety To Pay More Than $500K For August 911 Outage

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A 911 outage on Aug. 1, 2018, prevented hundreds of emergency calls from routing across Minnesota, North Dakota and North Carolina. This week, the FCC announced settlements totaling $575,000 with the service providers responsible for with the outage that lasted 65 minutes.

CenturyLink, Minnesota's contract service provider, agreed to pay $400,000 to the U.S. Treasury. Its third party vendor, West Safety Communications, will pay $175,000.

RELATED: CenturyLink Blames 3rd Party Vendor For Minn. 911 Outage

The FCC said a technician at West Safety Services, a parent company based in Nebraska, made a mistake while doing routine network configuration. Nearly 700 calls to about 70 Minnesota dispatch centers failed to route. Emergency calls to dozens of 911 call centers across North Dakota and North Carolina also failed to connect.

The two companies agreed to implement a compliance plan to "ensure the integrity and reliability" of the 911 network, the FCC said.

The outage, which affected home phones, office phones and cellphones, occurred around 4 p.m. that Wednesday.

RELATED: Human Error To Blame For Statewide 911 Outage

The Minnesota Commerce Department said it was not a complete outage. Over 350 calls, about a third of all calls placed during that hour, successfully connected.

The 911 call service was restored after the West Safety reversed the configuration. The Commerce Department said the work being done was customary and not considered service-affecting.

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