Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Verizon criticized for 911 problems

Verizon has been criticized for failures in its 911 system, which the Washington Post  says (in a story by Mary Pat Flaherty and Joe Stephens on December 1) predate the  Friday June 29 derecho.  The link is here.

It is true that the derecho damaged some cell towers, damaged some transmission lines (especially on ridge tops in West Virginia), and caused a few Verizon centers to lose power for longer than could be supported by generators.  I do recall that cell service was spotty on Saturday June 30 and wasn’t completely normal until Sunday night. 

But the story says that the Verizon 911 service had up to 11 outages since July 2010 in the DC area.

Cell phone 911 service is an especially important home security issue.  A homeowner, still in the bedroom, can reach police even if lines are cut, or even before confronting an intruder, a fact which should deter some crime.  Also, most home security systems now communicate to monitoring centers by cellular wireless rather than landlines.