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CenturyLink outage knocks out 911 service in several states

Outage leaves customers unable to call 911

A lengthy outage knocked out 911 emergency call services in several states. The Federal Communications Commission was investigating the CenturyLink outage, Chairman Ajit Pai announced Friday.

"When an emergency strikes, it's critical that Americans are able to use 911 to reach those who can help," Pai said in a statement. "The CenturyLink service outage is therefore completely unacceptable, and its breadth and duration are particularly troubling."

In parts of western Washington state, some CenturyLink customers received busy signals when dialing 911, CBS affiliate KIRO-TV reports. Other areas of the country that also experienced 911 outages included parts of Missouri, Idaho and Arizona.

The Boston Police Department said Friday there were 911 outages across Massachusetts. The department said on social media that problems in Boston had been resolved but advised people to call the department's direct line if the problems returned.

The Iowa State Patrol said a county's 911 cellphone calls were being routed to the agency's office in Des Moines. The problem apparently wasn't affecting landline calls to 911.

In Idaho, the internet problems caused the temporary shutdown of phone services at the Idaho Department of Correction and the state's Department of Education, The Idaho Statesman reported. The outage began early Thursday but by late that night, the company tweeted that its engineers had identified a "network element" that was affecting services and expected to fully restore services within hours.

Monroe, Louisiana-based CenturyLink didn't provide details of the problem and it didn't indicate how many customers were affected. Customers from New York to California reported outages.

Some ATM machines weren't working in Idaho and Montana. At North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, Colorado, doctors and nurses for a time had difficulty accessing patient records.

Rather than using digital devices, they had to take notes with pencil and paper, according to the Greeley Tribune. WyoLotto officials said they would postpone announcing Wyoming's winning state lottery numbers and winnings for the day until after the outage was over.

Verizon said it had service interruptions in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and parts of Montana as a result of issues with CenturyLink. Verizon said CenturyLink helps handle wireless network data traffic for Verizon and other wireless providers.