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FCC investigating 911 outages that were reported in several states

Officials said accidentally cut fiber lines and problems with wireless service providers caused 911 issues on Wednesday.
Widespread 911 emergency line outages reported in 4 states
Posted at 7:53 AM, Apr 18, 2024

Dialing 911 was not working for people in some parts of the country Wednesday night, with several states reporting emergency line outages.

An accidentally cut fiber line in Missouri caused 911 outages in Nebraska, Nevada and South Dakota on Wednesday night, investigators said. In a separate unrelated incident, parts of Texas experienced trouble with 911 service that appeared to be related to wireless carrier outages in the area.

In Kansas City, Missouri, workers were installing a light pole when they accidentally cut a fiber line maintained by Lumen Technologies. That connection provided 911 links for emergency services in Nebraska, Nevada and South Dakota. The accidental outage lasted about 2 1/2 hours, officials said on Thursday.

In Texas, officials said 911 service interruptions were due to unrelated technical difficulties with a cellular carrier.

Federal regulators were investigating both incidents.

Late on Thursday afternoon, the Honolulu Police Department reported that their 911 system was "currently not working," but reported that it was working again shortly after. They also did not specify what the issue was. 

The South Dakota Department of Public Safety posted Wednesday night that it was “aware of a 911 service interruption throughout the state.” It said texting 911 was still operating in most parts of the state, and that residents could still contact local authorities at police non-emergency lines for emergency services. About an hour later, South Dakota’s public safety department said service had been restored and that its 911 line was fully operational.

Las Vegas was also affected.

“URGENT: there is a 911 outage impacting your ability to contact us right now,” the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department posted Wednesday night. It urged people to call from a mobile device, saying they could view phone numbers dialing in and would immediately call back. Authorities had said calls from a landline would not go through or show up. Officials had no estimate on when service would be restored. They updated the public about two hours later saying the 911 line was back up and running normally.

Police in Del Rio, Texas, which is in the southwestern part of the state, flagged 911 outages Wednesday night as well. 

“We are aware of an outage with a major cellular carrier affecting the ability to reach 911. This issue is with the carrier and not the City of Del Rio systems,” said the Del Rio Police Department in a Facebook post

Police urged residents to use a landline or another carrier if a mobile device couldn’t get through to 911.

Officials in Sarpy County, Nebraska, were seeing a similar trend with certain wireless carriers having issues. Authorities posted on X Wednesday night that 911 was not working “for some wireless carriers,” and issued an alternate line to call for emergencies. About three hours later, the county posted that the issue had been resolved.

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