911 service restored in Kitsap

911 service in Kitsap County was restored Friday morning after a nationwide outage that started Thursday night, according to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

Sgt. Ken Dickinson said service went back up around 3:30 a.m., although an interruption was reported between 6:45 a.m. to 7 a.m.

Cell phones buzzed and chimed across Kitsap County late Thursday night with emergency alerts informing recipients that 911 service was down. The first alert was sent around 11:30 p.m., and a second was sent around 11:34 p.m.

“Widespread 911 outage in Wa. In case of emergency, call local police or fire department,” the second message read.

The outage was caused by a network disruption from CenturyLink, the national telecom provider. Early reports of a problem appeared on the company’s Twitter page at 10:01 a.m. Thursday.

“Our network is experiencing a disruption affecting customer service,” the statement read. “We know how important these services are, we are working to restore services as quickly as possible.”

An emergency alert on the outage was also broadcast on Seattle television stations.

Disruptions in 911 service were reported across the country, from Clark County to Boston, Massachusetts. Service in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Arizona and Missouri were affected, according to media reports.

CenturyLink is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the country, and provides internet and phone network services to major cell carriers like AT&T and Verizon, the technology news site TechChrunch reported.

It was not the first a CenturyLink problem affected 911 services in Washington. On April 10, 2014 a network issue caused 911 service to go down for about six hours.

CenturyLink was fined $2.85 million by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission for the incident.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission announced it will be investigating the recent outage.

“When an emergency strikes, it’s critical that Americans are able to use 911 to reach those who can help,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement. “The CenturyLink service outage is therefore completely unacceptable, and its breadth and duration are particularly troubling.”

Pai said he has directed the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau to investigate both “the cause and impact” of the outage.

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