Human error caused statewide 911 outage on Aug. 1

CenturyLink says a third party vendor is to blame.
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The statewide 911 outage that lasted more than an hour on Aug. 1 was caused by human error.

That's according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, which said it received the results of an investigation into the outage, which also hit North Carolina and North Dakotam from its 911 provider, CenturyLink.

CenturyLink says that the cause of the outage was "human error by an employee of a third party vendor."

Said vendor works for West Safety Services, and they made a mistake while making a network configuration change, which results in 911 services going down in the three states.

The outage started at 3:47 p.m., with 911 dispatchers informing CenturyLink about the problem about 11 minutes later.

The fault was eventually corrected by West Safety Services at 4:52 p.m., when service resumed.

During the outage, 693 calls to 50 dispatch centers failed to be routed, though some 356 callers were able to make it through because they were patched through a "redundant" router.

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CenturyLink has a five-year, $29.5 million contract with the Minnesota DPS for 911 services, and is currently in its second year. In three years it becomes a free agent, unless the DPS decides to franchise tag it.

West Safety Services has agreed to stop work on its network through the end of August while it reviews the reason for the outage.

"We are committed to holding all service providers and their vendors accountable for any failures of the system," said DPS spokesperson Dana Wahlberg. "We will continue to work towards providing dependable, state-of-the-art 911 services for all Minnesotans in an emergency."

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