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Light Pole Installation Knocked Out 911 Calls

Emergency calls were waylaid in multiple states
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2024 8:13 AM CDT
Updated Apr 18, 2024 2:50 PM CDT
4 States Hit by 911 Outages
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/itsarasak thithuekthak)

A cause has been identified in the 911 service outage that affected multiple states on Wednesday: A crew cut into a fiber line while installing a light pole in Kansas City, the AP reports. Lumen Technologies said Thursday that its line that was snapped, though the light pole was somebody else's. Mark Molzen of Lumen said the line was back in service within 2½ hours. No outages were reported in Kansas City. The Federal Communications Commission announced that it's investigating. "When you call 911 in an emergency, it is vital that call goes through," FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said, per NBC News.

Reuters had reported that four states dealt with interruptions to the emergency calling system affecting all of South Dakota, as well as Nebraska, Texas, and parts of Nevada, including Las Vegas. Sin City's Metropolitan Police Department said service was restored around 9pm ET Wednesday, after people were not being able to get through to dispatchers for about two hours, reports the New York Times. Police say that dispatchers could still see calls coming through in the system and were able to call all callers back.

In other areas, including South Dakota, locals could still text 911 or call nonemergency numbers to get help. In that state, service appeared to be restored late Wednesday. In Nebraska and Texas, lingering issues still remained into Thursday morning, apparently for T-Mobile customers only. Authorities in the Texas city of Del Rio said the outage there was unrelated, per the AP, and attributed it to a fail by "a major cellular carrier." This is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, the AP points out. (More 911 stories.)

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