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CenturyLink Leaves Ohio County’s 911 Service in Shambles, “Blows Off” Meeting

Phillip Dampier August 23, 2012 CenturyLink, Consumer News, Public Policy & Gov't No Comments

Warren County

CenturyLink left Warren County, Ohio’s 911 system out of service for more than 15 hours after a 70 mph derecho blew across the region in late June, eventually forwarding emergency calls to confused operators at a 911 center in another county at the other end of the state. When local officials asked CenturyLink to attend a meeting to explain what happened, they never showed up.

Now Commissioner Dave Young wants CenturyLink kicked out of the county, turning 911 services over to a provider that actually answers their phone.

“I want to switch sooner rather than later,” Young said. “The way this went down and the response we got from CenturyLink and now three weeks later we still don’t know the reason? We call our liaison and her solution to the 911 system being down is keep calling the 800 number. There’s something wrong there.”

Young was particularly peeved that CenturyLink did not send a representative to a meeting investigating the lengthy outage.

“So essentially they blew us off this morning,” Young said.

Geauga County

During the outage, callers initially heard nothing after dialing 911. Sometime later, someone at CenturyLink reprogrammed the equipment to forward calls from the Warren County 911 system in southwest Ohio to distant Geauga County’s 911 center in northeast Ohio near Cleveland, surprising operators.

Initial reports blame inexperienced technicians, human error, and understaffing at CenturyLink. Young wants the contract transferred to another provider with a better track record.

CenturyLink’s errors left Warren County without 911 service from 5:15pm until 8:30am the following day. County officials later learned the technician assigned to work on the problem did not actually commence repairs until 3:30am — more than 10 hours after the outage was first reported.

“CenturyLink is confident we can come to a resolution on this issue.” said Joanette Romero, spokeswoman for the company.

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