February 22, 2018

Business Continuity: A Necessity for Emergency 911 Services

Source: Pixabay

The unthinkable recently happened, when multiple counties in central Florida and the Tampa Bay area lost access to emergency 911 services following a large-scale network outage at Frontier.

Sources indicate the network outage happened around 1:30 am during a routine maintenance procedure. As of right now, it is not clear what caused the outage as Frontier is still is investigating the incident.

Frontier released an official statement following the outage:

“Frontier is experiencing issues with phone traffic in the Tampa area. The first issue took place during the night due to routine network maintenance being conducted by Century Link/Level 3 associated with a Florida DOT road project near Clewiston. The issue during the night impacted network links connected to E911 service in the area. The outage during the night lasted for a period of approximately 50 minutes.  This morning at approximately 10:07 EST, some customers in the Tampa area are again experiencing an interruption in service due to issues it appears CenturyLink is experiencing related to a fiber cut. We are in touch directly with CenturyLink and are being told services are restored at this point.”

All municipal IT administrators should take this outage as a lesson about the importance of establishing strong business continuity on their core networks. An emergency network, after all, is considered to be “mission critical” in that downtime can have catastrophic consequences. When citizens lose access to emergency 911 services, lives are put in jeopardy. So there is a lot at stake.

Part of the problem is that municipal governments are often constrained by tight budgets, making it difficult to implement the necessary components for business continuity. IT administrators in this situation are strongly encouraged to work with third party providers offering affordable and reliable network management services in order to avoid complications.

Remember: There is no excuse for downtime in a mission critical environment — especially an emergency 911 network.



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