July 17, 2015 / 2:39 PM / 2 years ago

T-Mobile to pay $17.5 million to settle U.S. 911 outage investigation

A T-Mobile store sign is seen in the Brooklyn borough of New York June 4, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - T-Mobile US Inc will pay $17.5 million to settle a U.S. investigation of two 911 service outages last year, marking the largest such fine by the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC on Friday said it found that better safeguards in T-Mobile’s 911 network architecture would have prevented the outages, which together lasted for about three hours on Aug. 8 and affected almost all of the wireless carriers’ 50 million customers nationwide.

The FCC said it also found T-Mobile did not notify affected 911 call centers in a timely manner, as required by FCC rules.

T-Mobile representatives count not be immediately reached for comment.

The fourth-largest U.S. mobile carrier also agreed to set up a compliance program to better prevent and detect potential outages, notify affected call centers and resume service quickly as possible.

The company’s fine follows a $16 million settlement with CenturyLink Inc and a $3.4 million settlement with Verizon Communications Inc related to a multi-state six-hour 911 outage in April 2014.

“The commission has no higher priority than ensuring the reliability and resilience of our nation’s communications networks so that consumers can reach public safety in their time of need,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement.

Reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Bill Trott

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