PSTN Outage Affecting 911 Call Delivery in Vermont

On March 19, 2018 between 11:02 PM and 11:47 PM, eleven 911 calls failed to deliver to Vermont Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs).  The outage occurred following work performed by Consolidated Communications within the Public Switch Telephone Network (PSTN) that unexpectedly prevented 911 calls from reaching the Vermont 911 system.

Consolidated Communications provided a list of the eleven phone numbers that attempted to reach 911 during the outage.  PSAP personnel attempted to contact each caller.  In three cases no phone contact was made, and law enforcement conducted welfare checks to confirm there was no ongoing emergency. 

Information provided by Consolidated Communications indicates the outage was the result of human error during planned work in the PSTN.  The error was corrected and 911 calls have been processing properly since the correction. 

The Enhanced 911 Board has consulted with the Vermont Public Service Department on the service disruption. The Department has filed a petition with the Public Utility Commission to investigate the matter to determine whether Consolidated has appropriately trained personnel and appropriate fail-safe measures in place to ensure similar outages do not occur in the future.  The Department is already investigating a similar outage in Docket 8850, which was opened in late 2016, and this new request expands that investigation to encompass this latest service disruption.