911 service provider Lumen blames 911 outage on installation of light pole | CNN (2024)

911 service provider Lumen blames 911 outage on installation of light pole | CNN (1)

Lawenforcementagenciesinatleastfourstateshavereported911serviceinterruptions Wednesday evening.


The outage of 911 systems in several states Wednesday evening was caused by the installation of a light pole, according to Lumen, a company that supports some of those systems.

“On April 17, some customers in Nevada, South Dakota and Nebraska experienced an outage due to a third-party company installing a light pole – unrelated to our services,” Lumen Global Issues Director Mark Molzen told CNN on Thursday morning.

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The outage lasted less than three hours, according to Molzen, who said Lumen – a networking company that provides enhanced 911 services to local communities in multiple states – “worked hard to fix it as quickly as possible.”

Molzen declined to elaborate on exactly how the light pole installation resulted in the 911 outage, or where the pole was located. The 911 director in Douglas County, Nebraska, which encompasses Omaha, said in a statement Lumen informed the county the outage was related to a “fiber cut.”

“We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding,” Molzen said.

Service had been largely restored by Thursday morning, hours after agencies in the four states announced outages in multiple cities, with some urging residents in need of assistance to either text 911 or call using a landline. The outages had been largely addressed within hours, however, including in Sioux Falls and Rapid City, South Dakota, and Las Vegas.

The Federal Communications Commission confirmed on X that it was “aware of reports of 911-related outages and we are currently investigating.”

Authorities in Del Rio, Texas, also advised residents Wednesday evening of an “outage” that affected 911 calls, but a city spokesperson confirmed those issues were not related to the broader service outage in three other states.

Lumen does not provide 911 services in Texas, Molzen said.

The Del Rio Police Department on Wednesday attributed problems to a “major cellular carrier,” telling residents to contact emergency services using a landline or another carrier.

But Del Rio “was not affected by the 911 service issues experienced in other cities,” city spokesperson Peter Ojeda told CNN on Thursday. An outage by a single mobile provider “affected their network broadly,” so residents were advised toreach emergency services throughalternative methods.

“Our emergency services remained fully operational throughout the incident, and there was no 911 outage in Del Rio,” Ojeda said.

Agencies point to texts, landlines as workarounds during outages

The outages surfaced Wednesday evening, as agencies such as the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department announced disruptions hindering their ability to communicate with residents, who were urged to text 911 instead of calling.

While the department initially said it had no timeline for restoring service, the interruption had been resolved within about two hours.

According to its post on X, authorities were able to see mobile numbers that had contacted 911, allowing them to reach back out to callers to provide assistance. During the outage, calls made from landlines during the outage were not working, nor were calls to its non-emergency line.

The South Dakota Department of Public Safety also announced service had been restored for the South Dakota 911 system after earlier saying in a statement it was “aware of a 911 service interruption throughout the state.”

Similarly, the department said during the outage that texting 911 was still “operating in most locations,” otherwise residents in need could contact emergency services using non-emergency lines.

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Officials in Sioux Falls andRapid Cityalso reported the resumption of 911 services on their respective Facebook pages. The Rapid City Police Department urged residents to “only utilize 911 services only if an emergency situation exists.” The City of Sioux Falls said residents could again call or text 911 in case of emergencies.

Portions of Nebraska, including Chase County,reportedoutagesas well. Officialsinthe state capital Lincoln, however, told CNN their911system was operational and not affected.

“911 is down across the State of Nebraska again for all cellular carriers except T-Mobile,” Chase County said in a Facebook post. “Landlines can still get through to 911.”

“Dial 911 on a mobile device, and we will be able to see your number and will call you back right away. 911 calls from landlines are NOT working at the moment,” the department initially wrote on Facebook. “There is no estimate for service restoration.”

Outages highlight potential vulnerabilities

While Lumen’s statement indicated the cause of the outage was not malicious, the service interruptions raise questions about the fragility of the nation’s 911 infrastructure, particularly in light of a Department of Homeland Security assessment last week that found emergency services are vulnerable to cyberattacks – and that the exploitation of personal data stolen during those ransomware attacks “poses a persistent criminal threat to victims.”

According to the assessment, such attacks have disrupted 911 networks and local police departments. It also highlighted that emergency service systems are often “interconnected,” which makes it more difficult to protect them from cyberattacks.

Once ransomware actors have hacked systems, the assessment also found they then “routinely leak, sell, or further exploit a victim’s data” for criminals to use for other crimes.

Bulletins such as the DHS assessment are distributed to local law enforcement and companies that run critical infrastructure.

Thisstoryhas been updated with additional information.

911 service provider Lumen blames 911 outage on installation of light pole | CNN (2024)


911 service provider Lumen blames 911 outage on installation of light pole | CNN? ›

Law enforcement agencies in at least four states have reported 911 service interruptions Wednesday evening. The outage of 911 systems in several states Wednesday evening was caused by the installation of a light pole, according to Lumen, a company that supports some of those systems.

What 4 states were hit by 911 call outages? ›

Residents in parts of South Dakota, Nebraska, Texas and Nevada were unable to call the emergency number, officials said. Service was later restored in Las Vegas, Nebraska and South Dakota.

Why is 911 called 911? ›

AT&T chose the number 911, which was simple, easy to remember, dialed quickly (999, with the rotary dial phones in place at the time, would take longer), and because of the middle 1, which indicated a special number (see also 4-1-1 and 6-1-1), worked well with the phone systems at the time.

Did the light pole installation cause 911 service outage across several states? ›

The outage took place in Nevada, South Dakota, Texas and Nebraska and lasted for more than two hours in some states. The installation of a light pole is to blame for a mass outage across at least four states this week that disrupted 911 service for hours, officials say.

What state has the most outages? ›

Number of major blackouts by select state in the United States 2000-2023. Between 2000 and 2023, Texas was the leading U.S. state for major power outages, with almost 264 blackouts in the 23-year period. California followed, with 238 major power outages throughout the period under consideration.

How were police called before 911? ›

The History of 911

Thanks to 911, throughout the country, a call to 911 can quickly connect you with the help you need. Before that first call, citizens needed to dial local 7-digit phone numbers to reach police, fire or emergency services.

What was the original name of the 911? ›

The second production model to be made by the company after the Porsche 356, interestingly the 911 was originally called the 901. However, by the time the model went on sale it had become the 911 after a claim about naming rights from French car manufacturer, Peugeot.

Did 911 used to be 0? ›

Before 9-1-1, there were other emergency numbers, such as 0 for the operator, but these numbers were not specific to emergency services. The FCC also recognized that 9-1-1 was not already in use by telephone companies, and they could quickly implement it.

What states were affected by the 911 outage? ›

911 outages impact millions in Texas, Nevada, Nebraska and South Dakota.

What states were affected by the 911? ›

Americans watched in horror as the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, left nearly 3,000 people dead in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

What state was the first 911 call made? ›

The first 911 call in the United States came from Haleyville, Alabama and was made by Alabama Speaker of the House, Rankin Fite on February 16, 1968 to Tom Bevill, a U.S. Representative.

What companies were affected by 911? ›

Businesses that were directly affected by the terrorist attacks, such as Aon, Sandler O'Neill, American Express, Marriott, and Can- tor Fitzgerald, now know well the importance of disaster planning.

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