/ Modified feb 6, 2020 6:29 p.m.

CenturyLink faces scrutiny over 911 outages

Page and Tucson have both dealt with 911 failures.

State regulators hope to hold CenturyLink accountable for interruptions to 911 emergency service, such as the outage that struck Pima County last summer.

Police, fire and EMS dispatchers in Tucson only had to deal with being offline for 90 minutes in July, but on Jan. 3, 911 service to the city of Page was out for 18 hours. Page Police Chief Drew Sanders says emergency calls were routed to Flagstaff.

"That resulted in them having to send it to us via cell phone line, a single emergency cell phone that we have in this the dispatch center, and just really threw us on our heels because we are a busy city," Sanders told the Arizona Corporation Commission Wednesday.

Corporation Commissioner Sandra Kennedy said it was unacceptable. "This is a life [and] death issue that we need to address, and it's time to address it now," Kennedy said.

CenturyLink executive Tim Goodwin defended the utility's reliability record, even as he called landline telephone service "obsolete."

"We're facing some challenges in terms of transforming ourselves from a telephone company to a broadband company, but as we're doing that we're still doing a good job for a telephone customer," Goodwin said. He added that CenturyLink has only about 200,000 residential landline customers remaining in Arizona.

The corporation commission voted Wednesday to prepare an "order to show cause" against CenturyLink, a process intended to force it to justify its reliability record.

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