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Verizon Spanked by FCC for 10,000 Dropped 911 Calls

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Continually rocked by snowstorms this winter, the Northeast has been left haggard and weakened. We can't shovel out any more cars. We can't traverse any more slush lakes at crosswalks. We can't put any more faith in the snowplows. Optimism and cheerfulness has been stripped away so severely that the two to three inches we received this week was greeted with utter defeat and immediate surrender.

Obviously, the lion's share of the blame is heaped upon the total unpreparedness of many local cleanup efforts -- leaving mountains of hardened ice on side streets and corners. Citizens along the eastern seaboard -- especially in New York's five boroughs -- were left to fend for themselves. An informal Marshal Law, if you will. Emergency lines were slammed with calls, and city officials couldn't keep up with the inundation.

But it'd be even worse if Verizon's network actually had the capacity to handle every single call made to 911.

Bloomberg reported that as much as 10,000 wireless calls to 911 were dropped during the January 26 storm in the suburbs of Washington DC. The situation -- deemed "truly alarming" by US regulators -- has forced the FCC to ask the carrier to investigate the extend of the problem.

In a letter to the mobile provicer, Jamie Barnett -- chief of the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau -- wrote, "We are particularly concerned that this problem may be widespread across Verizon's footprint."

In response, Verizon spokesperson Harry Mitchell attributed the flood of dropped connections to a "mass call event." He wrote in an email to Bloomberg, "We have been addressing this issue directly with the counties involved, and will work cooperatively to address the FCC's questions, as well."

Glad to know our wireless carriers are on top of investigating how badly they've screwed up during emergency situations.
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