The Washington Post

FCC questions cell carriers about post-quake outages

The Federal Communications Commission said Wednesday that it is looking into the inability of some wireless to call 911 emergency response after the earthquake that struck the East Coast.

As we reported, major carriers reported outages o n their networks after the quake. Users complained that they weren’t able to send or receive calls on their cellphones. Landline phones and Internet access proved to be more reliable.

“We are very concerned by incidents where emergency wireless calls to 911 after yesterday's earthquake were hampered by network congestion,” said FCC Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau Chief Jamie Barnett. “Thankfully, there have been no reports thus far about serious injuries or lives lost.  Nevertheless, these are the moments when mobile phone service is needed most — and disruptions puts lives at risk.”

Barnett said the agency has asked wireless carriers and public safety call centers for information surrounding communications after the 5.8-magnitude quake to figure out why there were outages.

Related:

Facebook, Twitter report record messages after quake

Cecilia Kang is a senior technology correspondent for The Washington Post.

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