Officials: Human error to blame in Minn. 911 outage
According to a press release, CenturyLink told department of public safety that human error by an employee of a third party vendor was to blame for the outage
Duluth News Tribune
SAINT PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Emergency Communication Networks division was told by its 911 provider that an Aug. 1 outage was caused by human error.
The department of public safety contracts with CenturyLink to provide 911 service for the state of Minnesota. According to a press release, CenturyLink told department of public safety that human error by an employee of a third party vendor was to blame for the outage.
CenturyLink said an employee of West Safety Services made a mistake while making a network configuration change, which prevented 911 calls from being accepted not only in Minnesota, but in North Dakota and North Carolina as well.
The outage began at 3:47 p.m. and services were restored by 4:52 p.m. CenturyLink said during that time 693 calls to more than 50 Minnesota 911 dispatch centers failed to be routed. Also during that time, 356 calls to 911 were successfully routed to 911 dispatch center through a redundant router. The department said Minnesota has 102 dispatch center statewide that received an average of 7,817 calls per day this year.
CenturyLink said West Safety Services has agreed to stop work on its network through the end of August while it reviews the reason for the outage. The company also said it is "looking into changing processes and procedures along with enhancing software and safety mechanisms to prevent future errors from occurring."
"We are committed to holding all service providers and their vendors accountable for any failures of the system," said Emergency Communication Networks director Dana Wahlberg. "We will continue to work toward providing dependable, state-of-the-art 911 services for all Minnesotans in an emergency."
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is the regulatory authority over CenturyLink and West Safety Services. The Federal Communications Commission will conduct its own investigation into the outage, which would result in fines for both companies, the department said.
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