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FCC to Probe Cell Phone Problems After Quake

Photo: Vadim Grinco

The Federal Communications Commission will investigate reports that some wireless calls to 911 could not get through because of congestion on cell networks after Tuesday’s East Coast earthquake.

Broadcasting & Cable reports FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has directed the agency’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau to collaborate with wireless carriers and 911 call centers to determine the cause of the outages.

“Thankfully, there have been no reports thus far about serious injuries or lives lost,” said James Barnett, bureau chief. “Nevertheless, these are the moments when mobile phone service is needed most — and disruptions puts lives at risk.”

Barnett added the earthquake was a reminder of the need for next generation 911 services that allow users to send texts, photos and videos.

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