FCC investigates T-Mobile’s six-hour long nationwide voice and data outage

The FCC has opened an investigation into T-Mobile’s June 15th nationwide voice and data outage. The outage was caused by a fiber circuit failure and lasted six hours. T-Mobile's redundancy and resiliency measures failed, resulting in an overload, which was compounded by other factors. 

Despite the significant scale and length of the outage, the Pai FCC is unlikely to impose enforceable commitments on T-Mobile to prevent future outages. Last year, in its investigation of Hurricane Michael, the FCC found that mobile carriers failed to follow their own voluntary roaming commitments, causing prolonged outages. While Pai called their actions "completely unacceptable," the FCC imposed no penalties on carriers and relied on their voluntary commitments to prevent recurrences. 

"This is, once again, where pretending that broadband is not an essential telecommunications service completely undermines the FCC's ability to act," said Harold Feld of Public Knowledge. "We as a country need to know what is the reality of our broadband networks, the reality of their resilience and reliability, and the reality of what happens when things go wrong. That takes a regulator with real authority to go in, ask hard questions, seize documents if necessary, and compel testimony under oath."

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T-Mobile’s outage yesterday was so big that even Ajit Pai is mad (ARS Technica, June 16, 2020)