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Seattle still in the dark on impacts from CenturyLink 911 outage

Officials in Seattle want CenturyLink to provide more information regarding the hours-long outage that impacted calls to 911 in December.

CenturyLink has yet to provide much detail to the City of Seattle and surrounding region about what caused a 911 outage in December. 

But a recent report shows two outages occurred, one that lasted about 30 minutes, and another that latest about 11.5 hours. 

During the outages, calls to 911 either weren't connecting to the call center at all, or there were intermittent issues impact service. Thousands of people were unable to promptly reach emergency services. Operators to switch call-answering methods to 10-digit lines and the 911 text service. 

On Wednesday, a Seattle City Council committee led by M. Lorena Gonzalez was told called to non-emergency lines increased by approximately 300 percent. 

Gonzalez says she wants the issue to be studied further, so if it happens again, the city can fulfill its commitment by "not letting people down" and meet "basic" obligations. 

The outage was the second widespread outage in less than five years. Though it was nationwide, the West Coast saw some of the most significant impacts. 

The FCC and Washington state Utilities & Transportation Commission both announced they would investigate. 

As of Wednesday, Jan. 23, CenturyLink had about five days to respond to requests for additional information about the outage. It could take even longer to know exactly what caused it. 

In the meantime, there's an effort that will eventually build out new architecture to improve communication to emergency services. The new model will provide additional redundancy, interoperability, security, and other fail safeties. 

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