Another 911 outage. Does any accountability exist?

AT&T Wireless customers who tried to reach 911 in the evening hours of Wednesday, March 8, were left stranded in more than a dozen major cities. Based on unconfirmed, but widespread reports, the problem may have affected callers nationwide, with AT&T only sending out tweets again and again, stating:

[AT&T is aware] of issue affecting some calls to 911 for wireless customers. Working to resolve ASAP. We apologize to those affected. 

With no root cause offered, several public safety agencies and citizens were left confused on what to do. In what has become a natural reaction to any traumatic event, both the general public and several agencies took to Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets on the web as the go-to place for help, as well as an outlet for frustration—with many announcing their intentions to switch carriers.

Who regulates 911?

The National Emergency Number Association, a U.S.-based association that serves its members and the greater public safety community as the only professional organization solely focused on 911 policy, technology, operations and education issues. With more than 11,000 members in 48 chapters across the United States and around the globe, NENA promotes the implementation and awareness of 911, as well as international three-digit emergency communications systems.

NENA works with 911 professionals nationwide, public policy leaders, emergency services and telecommunications industry partners, like-minded public safety associations, and other stakeholder groups to develop and carry out critical programs and initiatives, facilitate the creation of an IP-based next-generation 911 system, and establish industry-leading standards, training, and certifications.

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