Kailan Manandic, Photo Illustration

Kailan Manandic, Photo Illustration

UPDATE: 911 services partially back online, FCC investigates

CenturyLink and King County report most 911 calls are getting through.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to launch an investigation into the nationwide CenturyLink outages that have interfered with 911 operations in King County and throughout Washington.

CenturyLink is currently still working to resolve the technical issues and restore its network, which has been experiencing disruptions since the morning of Dec. 27. According to Cpt. Mike Johnson, spokesperson for the Bothell Police Department, some 911 calls are now making it through, but the network may still be unstable.

“While our network is experiencing service disruptions, where CenturyLink is the 911 service provider 911 calls are completing,” CenturyLink wrote in a Twitter update at 11:43 a.m. Friday morning.

King County announced at 10:43 a.m. on Dec, 28 over Twitter that progress is being made toward resolving the issues and most 911 calls are making it through. The county added that locals should not tests the system and only call for a legitimate emergency. King County residents can also still text 911 via a newly implemented system.

The CenturyLink Twitter account has been intermittently providing updates on the issue, but the cause remains unknown, along with an expected fix time as of 2 p.m. Friday.

Andrea Wolf-Buck, spokesperson for the Redmond Police Department (RPD) added that for the most part, operations have returned to normal, but they’re waiting for confirmation from King County before calling the situation resolved.

Wolf-Buck and other RPD officers were notified of the 911 disruptions that began Thursday night and began monitoring the situation.

“Fortunately in this case it was basically just a bunch of people who stayed up all night,” Wolf-Buck said with a laugh.

The North East King County Regional Public Safety Communication Agency (NORCOM) has also been working through the night to mitigate the outages. Operators used radio systems to communicate with other 911 agencies, connecting callers with the correct dispatchers and used cell phones to dial out to callers if they needed to call them back.

“We have all hands on deck right now to ensure the safety of our citizens despite the outage,” said Jami Hoppen, spokesperson for NORCOM. “We have some systems in place to be able to work around some of the network issues from CenturyLink at this time.”

NORCOM provides 911 dispatch services for much of the Eastside, including fire and police departments in Bellevue, Bothell, Kirkland, Redmond, Mercer Island, Duvall, Snoqualmie and Eastside Fire and Rescue.

Johnson added that despite the 911 outages, police were able to adequately respond to all incoming calls.

“911 being down doesn’t create more emergencies for us to respond to,” Johnson said. “So we’ve had enough staffing to work through the problem.”

FCC chair Ajit Pai announced the commission’s investigation into the CenturyLink outages Friday morning.

“When an emergency strikes, it’s critical that Americans are able to use 911 to reach those who can help,” Pai said in the statement. “The CenturyLink service outage is therefore completely unacceptable, and its breadth and duration are particularly troubling. I’ve directed the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau to immediately launch an investigation into the cause and impact of this outage.”

Pai added that the bureau will examine how the outages have impacted 911 services and that the FCC is closely monitoring the situation.

“I have also spoken with CenturyLink to underscore the urgency of restoring service immediately,” Pai said. “We will continue to monitor this situation closely to ensure that consumers’ access to 911 is restored as quickly as possible.”

If locals live in the jurisdiction of the King County Sheriff’s Office or any of its contract partners (Town of Beaux Arts Village, City of Burien, City of Carnation, City of Kenmore, King County International Airport, City of Maple Valley, King County Metro Transit, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, City of Newcastle, City of Sammamish, City of SeaTac, City of Shoreline, Town of Skykomish, Sound Transit and City of Woodinville) and get a busy signal when calling 911, call the 10-digit line at 206-296-3311.

The Bothell Police Department phone number is 425-486-1254. The Bothell Fire Department phone number is 425-806-6242.

The Kenmore Police Department phone number is 206-477-7455. The Northshore Fire Department phone number is 425-354-1780.

Other lines include:

• Seattle: 206-583-2111

• Eastside: 425-577-5656

• South King County: 253-852-2121

• Unincorporated areas: 206-296-3311

King County will post updates on @KingCountyWA on Twitter.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bothell-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bothell-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

Kailan Manandic, Photo Illustration

Kailan Manandic, Photo Illustration

More in News

High speed rail and hub cities explored in Cascadia Corridor study

A new paper outlines a potential plan for the region.

Should state cover school bus costs if there are no riders?

With funding tied to getting students to school, districts are uncertain how much money they’ll receive.

Pexel Images
Two patients contracted COVID-19 while at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland

A press release from the hospital states it has contacted 100 employees that had various levels of exposure, and that the direct source in this case is unclear

Virtual town halls coming up for unincorporated King County

Events throughout September and October via Zoom will cater to different areas of the region.

A view of the Palmer Fire, located seven miles southwest of Oroville in north central Washington. Source: InciWeb
Antifa isn’t starting Washington wildfires

Online conspiracy theories are spreading as the West Coast burns.

A plane drops fire retardant on the Palmer Mountain Fire last week. The fire is listed as 84 percent contained, and fully lined. Laura Knowlton/Sound Publishing staff photo
Threat multiplier: How climate change, coronavirus and weather are scorching WA

Dry summer conspired with the pandemic and a wind storm.

Amazon adds more office space to Bellevue, now as many new jobs as HQ2

The office space for an additional 10,000 jobs, making it 25,000 coming to downtown, is expected to complete in 2023.

Constantine announces King County climate action plan

Plots an example of decreased stormwater pollution, urban flooding prevention, immigrant connections

The YMCA of Greater Seattle opened its King County branches to provide child care centers dedicated to serving the families of essential workers. Courtesy photo
COVID continues to whittle away at child care in Washington

It’s estimated that 25% of Washington child care facilities have closed since the pandemic began.

Ferguson sues agencies over archive relocation decision

“Decision to close the National Archives in Seattle has far-reaching impacts across the Northwest.”

TRIO participants at their academic awards reception, Spring 2019. Courtesy Bellevue College
$1.47 million grant will support students at Bellevue college

The grant has been a part of the college since 2001, and this year will help students struggling with online learning

Bothell schools receive grants for socially-distanced physical education

Cedar Wood Elementary and Maywood Hills Elementary were among the recipients