Verizon 911 Failures in Virginia More Problematic Than Meets the Eye

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Virginia regulators have found that failures at two offices that knocked out 911 emergency service for Verizon customers in June are part of a larger pattern of neglect statewide.

Although the carrier has replaced or repaired equipment at sites affected by a major storm in late June 2012, a company review of its 16 critical offices for 911 throughout Virginia found numerous issues such as obsolete and discontinued equipment.

The state says Verizon has allowed equipment and facilities at many of its offices to decline and all problems at Verizon's Virginia offices need to be fixed in order to decrease the risk of outages.

A Verizon spokesperson said that the company has already taken care of some of the problems identified by the Virginia State Corporation Commission and will continue to work on repairing the others, the Washington Post said.

Sharon Bulova, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, is not pleased with the situation. The county pays $3 million a year for Verizon 911 service.

“I find it pretty shocking that the system had been allowed to deteriorate to such a degree, and it is completely unacceptable," Bulova told the Post. “It’s an investment we make in order to provide public safety, and it’s important that we know we are getting the coverage we are paying for."

Verizon told Virginia regulators that the company expects to test all of its critical 911 Virginia offices under blackout conditions by the end of this year to make sure the system is working correctly. Verizon lines handle every 911 call made in Washington's suburbs.

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