State regulators fine CenturyLink more than $1.3 million for 911 outage 

Docket number: UT-181051   

State regulators fine CenturyLink more than $1.3 million for 911 outage  

OLYMPIA, Wash. –  Today, state regulators fined CenturyLink $1,315,000 for its role in the December 2018 911 outage that affected all Washington state residents for more than two days.  

The Utilities and Transportation Commission found that CenturyLink violated state laws and rules, and its actions harmed the public by failing to complete at least 13,000 911 calls during the nearly 50-hour statewide outage that began on Dec. 27, 2018.  

The commission agreed with UTC staff’s complaint that the outage was due to a preventable technical error and network design. CenturyLink was in the process of transitioning out of its contract to provide 911 services. The commission found that CenturyLink failed in its duty to ensure a seamless transition that does not result in a disruption of 911 service. 

The penalty reflects the serious and potentially life-threatening impact an outage has on ensuring that vital life-saving services are available for Washington residents.   

The company previously paid a $2.8 million penalty for a 2014 911 outage that severely disrupted emergency services for six hours.  

CenturyLink is no longer the statewide 911 provider. 

CenturyLink is the largest local telephone company in Washington and provides communication services for the state’s approximate 7.4 million residents. At the time of the outage, CenturyLink was responsible for providing 911 service in Washington state.  

The UTC regulates the rates and services of telecommunications companies, investor-owned electric utilities, natural gas and water companies, garbage-collection haulers, household-goods movers and passenger transportation companies, commercial ferries, pipeline companies, marine pilotage, and a low-level radioactive waste repository. The commission does not regulate the rates of broadband services, cellular, cable, or Internet service.