911 Services Knocked Out
In parts of Virginia alone, an estimated 2.3 million people lost access to 911 emergency services for up to four days following the storm as public safety answering points (PSAPS) that handle 911 calls failed.
Due to the significant impact of the derecho, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) conducted a major investigation into the resiliency and reliability of public communications networks. In its Derecho Impact Report issued in 2013, the FCC established aggressive goals to strengthen the communications networks and prevent a reoccurrence of this event.
“I’m always in awe of nature, and a derecho storm can be unbelievably powerful,” said MATRIX Telecom Services president Kenny Edgerton.
MATRIX and the large communication provider aligned when the FCC established two key deadlines that required communication providers to:
- Have 50% of their e911 trunk networks diversified by October 2015, and
- Have 100% of their e911 trunk networks diversified by October 2016.
The aggressive mandate led the large communication provider to turn to MATRIX for professional services assistance in order to meet the FCC deadlines, all the while making sure regularly scheduled work projects would also be completed.
Bouncing Back From the Storm
Edgerton heard from the customer about how the FCC requirements -- atop existing work projects -- would require outside support to complete all existing projects plus the compressed timelines of the FCC’s e911 trunk diversification project.
Assessing the situation, Edgerton knew MATRIX would need to assemble a team of consultants who were very familiar with operations support system that
Since each PSAP had its own individualized circuit paths, all the circuits had to be split between unique paths to establish diverse routes for backup purposes. Each MATRIX consultant was provided a specific starting and end point, and then used the tools provided by MATRIX and the customer to create new diverse paths to allow data and voice traffic to move along each circuit along unique routes.
“Without MATRIX delivering consultants with the right skill sets and knowledge to be able to navigate the various inventory databases needed to complete the project, we would have been hard pressed to finish on time.”
Meeting Critical Deadlines
However, once the work began, Edgerton and his colleagues analyzed the production rate and believed the team would be hard pressed to meet the FCC’s first mandated deadline if no additional staffing was added. That’s when five more consultants with 911 network design knowledge were added to the team in April.
“By increasing the team size beyond the original plan, we were able to ramp up production more quickly than forecasted, and we were able to beat the deadlines,” said Edgerton. The customer was delighted with the way the project was managed from both a staffing and operational perspective, calling it a “superior response.”
Swarming the Situation
“MATRIX did a very good job of seeking out and retaining former network employees who were familiar with e911 networks and systems,” said the sponsoring manager with the large communications provider. “Some of the consultants were out of their previous roles for a little time, but it’s like riding a bike for those people. Once they got back into the routine of working with systems they were familiar with, they ramped up extremely fast.”
Edgerton credits the professionalism of the consultants to jump quickly into the
The MATRIX team is wrapping up the last remaining PSAPS to help the customer complete the final 2016 requirements, months ahead of schedule.