Mixed signals emerge over disrupted 911 calls

A six-hour disruption to emergency calls had nothing to do with 911 but was part of a larger-scale problem, according to the Department of Public Safety Communications.

Calls to emergency services suffered the interruption on Aug. 7 just after 1 a.m. until shortly after 8 a.m.

While the Information and Communications Technology Authority has not released any details of the incident, public safety communications director Brent Finster said the outage was not specific to 911 lines.

“This outage had far-reaching impacts greater than just the 911 lines. However, because of the mission critical nature and high priority given emergency services access, the inability to contact 911 became the focus of this particular event,” Mr. Finster said,

“It was nothing to do with 911. We were just a customer or a symptom of a bigger issue. It was not a 911-centric failure.”

The Department of Public Safety Communications management and the ICTA board met with officers from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, and the Ministry of Home Affairs last week to discuss the results of the investigation.

In a statement last week, ICTA managing director Alee Fa’amoe said the authority believed it was incumbent on the regulator and on telecommunications licensees to ensure uninterrupted access to 911 emergency communications by all telecommunications users in the Cayman Islands.

“We will work with all our licensees to ensure this fundamental right is preserved for all our citizens,” Mr. Fa’amoe said.

Mr. Finster said the public safety communications department would meet with ICTA regularly in the future to work on joint initiatives.

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