Mass. State Police: Issue Causing 911 Outages Has Been Resolved

Sporadic 911 outages occurred throughout Massachusetts Thursday and Friday as a result of an outage impacting CenturyLink customers across the U.S.

The outage was first reported Thursday, knocking out power to 911 emergency call services for cellphones. State police and other local police departments announced around 8 a.m. Friday that the issue appeared to have been resolved. 

But many Massachusetts towns continued experiencing problems, including Arlington, Bridgewater, Hanover, North Andover and Randolph. Other towns said they were not experiencing any issues.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency sent out an alert around 11:40 saying that "sporadic outages" were still being reported.

"You may hear a fast busy signal, hear a recording saying 'all circuits are busy' or something similar, or you may get connected to a different emergency call center than you were expecting," state police said in a statement.

Around 8:15 p.m. Friday, state police said the nationwide system issues that caused the outages had been corrected, "at least with respect to Massachusetts."

State police said residents should still try to dial 911 in an emergency, but if the call will not go through, they should make a second call to the 10-digit emergency number for their local police or fire department.

In their evening email, state police said no one should call 911 to test whether it would work.

Anyone having trouble locating their city or town's 10-digit emergency number online or through directory assistance can contact the state 911 Department at 508-872-2508 and tell the dispatcher the exact location of the emergency, including the city or town. They will then transfer the call to the correct department.

“If you see something, say something, Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said. "You can dial 911. If it does not go through, then we would like you to utilize a number that is a direct link.”

The initial release of information on Friday morning said the problem was confined to cellular 911 calls, but state police said they now believe there may be an impact to land lines as well.

The CenturyLink outage affected users from Massachusetts to California. The company said its engineers discovered a "network element" that was impacting its services and is still working on full restoration of service.

"We're seeing positive progress with our service restoration efforts and our recovery plan is being accelerated as much as possible," the company said.

CenturyLink did not provide details of the problem and it didn't indicate how many customers were affected.

Jessica Rosenworcel, a member of the Federal Communications Commission, said via Twitter it was a nationwide outage and her agency needed to investigate.

The outages could affect landline customers as well.

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