Updates Concerning 9-1-1 System Outage on 8/1/16 and Status of Text to 9-1-1 Service

CONTACT: Barbara Neal, Executive Director
Phone: 802-828-4911
Updates Concerning 9-1-1 System Outage on 8/1/16 and Status of Text to 9-1-1 Service
FairPoint Communications has confirmed that the Vermont 9-1-1 outage on 8/1/2016 was the result of a software coding issue. FairPoint concluded that a third party carrier sent a mal-formatted test text to the Text Control Center (TCC) using a link that remained in service from a previous system test. When the mal-formatted test text message was received it appeared legitimate and was not rejected by the system, which triggered the coding issue resulting in the system outage.
The software coding issue that resulted in the 8/1/2016 outage was also involved in a similar event in June. FairPoint has taken several additional mitigation steps to avoid future service impacting events. The safeguards include disabling the text messaging links that contributed to the outage, disabling all text to 9-1-1 functionality in Vermont, and the removal of the IP connection to the new TCC.
The Enhanced 9-1-1 Board staff continues to work with FairPoint to test and implement changes that will address the software coding problem permanently. Software code designed to address the issue has been developed and efforts have been redoubled to complete testing and reinstitute text to 9-1-1 capability as soon as safely possible.
Representatives from FairPoint will attend a special meeting of the Enhanced 9-1-1 Board later this month to address questions from the Board concerning the recent system outages, remediation plans, and related concerns, as part of our mutual commitment of ensuring Vermont is provided with a robust and reliable 9-1-1 system moving forward.
Text to 9-1-1 capability will remain disabled until FairPoint completes testing and implements the software fix that will resolve the coding issue. Attempts to text to Vermont 9-1-1 will result in a bounce-back message indicating the service is not available and directing the texter to place a voice call to 9-1-1.
Voice calls to 9-1-1 continue to process normally.