The Federal Communications Commission will investigate phone and internet service outages linked to Frontier Communications equipment that left Navajo and Apache county residents disconnected from 911 services and online commerce for almost two days in June.
The FCC is taking action in response to a June 13 letter from Congressman Tom O’Halleran requesting the investigation.
In a response letter to O’Halleran’s office Monday, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said that after reviewing his letter and other reports about this outage she has directed the commission’s Enforcement Bureau to investigate.
“911 is vital to every community – and these kinds of outages can have outsized consequences during the public health crisis caused by COVID-19,” Rosenworcel wrote. “I am committed to a full and thorough investigation to learn all of the facts surrounding this outage as well as efforts to resolve it.”
Frontier Outages:Residents reveal frustrations at northern Arizona town hall
O’Halleran initially wrote letters to both the FCC and the Arizona Attorney General’s office in the immediate aftermath of the outages, calling for investigations into the incident.
“I’m pleased to see the FCC will open an investigation into this outage that left hardworking rural Arizonans in Apache and Navajo counties without the ability to call 911, their loved ones, even their neighbors,” O’Halleran said in a statement . “I am committed to holding those responsible accountable and working with local, state, and federal officials to prevent future outages and ensure families in rural areas are not overlooked.”
The outages have also drawn the attention of the Arizona Corporation Commission, which held a community town hall last week in St. Louis. Johns to hear feedback from the community about their experiences during the outage and with Frontier. The FCC is also looking into the cause and resolution of this outage as well as potential ways to prevent a similar event in the future.
Frontier Communications did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Contact northern Arizona reporter Lacey Latch at firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media @laceylatch. Coverage of northern Arizona on azcentral.com and in The Arizona Republic is funded by the nonprofit Report for America and a grant from the Vitalyst Health Foundation in association with The Arizona Republic.