Frontier grilled about 911 service outage

- As executives from Frontier Communications tried to explain the service outage that crippled 911 centers across the region in January, Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist came out swinging. 

"As a consumer and as a business owner, I've not been satisfied with the transition nor do I trust anyone from the company standing up here at the podium and saying 'trust me.' I'd like to see something that is guaranteed," said Commissioner Crist. 

Dave Frezza, Frontier's vice president of network operations, said new protocols were put into place following the pair of outages that shut down 911 centers across the Bay Area for hours on January 31. 

"Anytime they work on any of the rings in the networks, those are conference calls and a discussion on what you are going to be doing," said Frezza. 

Frontier said the first outage was caused when a third party was performing maintenance. The second one came a few hours later when a fiber line was cut. 

Frontier Spokesman Bob Elek said they've established a better backup system, with two additional paths and a third is on the way. 

"We have created enough redundancy in the network to ensure any future events should have backup to make sure it flows smoothly," said Elek. 

Hillsborough Commissioners asked Frontier to put it in writing and to come back to the commission at a later date. 

Meanwhile, Manatee County is cutting the cord to Frontier. 

"What happened should never have happened. However, just trying to get answers out of them at this point has been hard to do," said Jake Saur, the chief of emergency communications in Manatee County.

Saur said they're switching to an internet-based call routing system with Motorola.   He says the switchover will start this summer and wrap up by the end of 2018. 

"We've made the decision to start moving our traffic over to an internet-based call solution, which would basically be IP-based routing which would get us off the Frontier call-routing solution," he continued. 

Saur said all 911 centers will eventually have to do the same thing, as current systems age and wires become outdated. 

"It's set up in two geographically diverse locations, so if one side is knocked down or taken out, the other side takes it up. We don't believe there will be outages like Frontier," added Saur.

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