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FCC Adopts Outage Reporting Rule for Interconnected VoIP Services

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Released: February 21, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

FCC 12-22

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

The Proposed Extension of Part 4 of the
)
PS Docket No. 11-82
Commission’s Rules Regarding Outage Reporting
)
To Interconnected Voice Over Internet Protocol
)
Service Providers and Broadband Internet Service
)
Providers
)

REPORT AND ORDER

Adopted: February 15, 2012

Released: February 21, 2012

By the Commission

: Chairman Genachowski and Commissioners McDowell and Clyburn issuing
separate statements.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Heading
Paragraph #
I.
INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY................................................................................................... 1
II. BACKGROUND .................................................................................................................................. 10
III. NEED FOR COLLECTING OUTAGE INFORMATION ON INTERCONNECTED VOIP
SERVICE ............................................................................................................................................. 19
A. Need for Requirement.................................................................................................................... 19
1. Proposal ................................................................................................................................... 20
2. Comments................................................................................................................................ 21
3. Discussion................................................................................................................................ 22
B. Mandatory or Voluntary Requirement ........................................................................................... 37
1. Proposal ................................................................................................................................... 38
2. Comments................................................................................................................................ 39
3. Discussion................................................................................................................................ 40
C. Legal Authority to Require Reporting of Outages of Interconnection VoIP Service .................... 58
D. Interconnected VoIP Service Providers – Outage Metrics and Thresholds ................................... 68
1. Facilities-Based vs. Non-Facilities-Based Interconnected VoIP Services .............................. 68
2. Definition of Outage of Interconnected VoIP Service ............................................................ 75
3. Reporting Thresholds .............................................................................................................. 83
4. Reporting Process for Outages of Interconnected VoIP Service............................................. 92
E. Application of Part 4 Rules to Voice Service Provided Using New Wireless Spectrum
Bands............................................................................................................................................ 102
1. Clarification of Application of Part 4 .................................................................................... 103
2. Reporting Process.................................................................................................................. 108
IV. SHARING OF INFORMATION AND CONFIDENTIALITY......................................................... 109
V. CONTINUING VOLUNTARY DIALOGUE REGARDING INTERNET SERVICE
PROVIDER OUTAGE ISSUES ........................................................................................................ 114
VI. CONCLUSION .................................................................................................................................. 115
VII. PROCEDURAL MATTERS............................................................................................................. 116

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A. Accessible Formats ...................................................................................................................... 116
B. Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis .......................................................................................... 117
C. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis ............................................................................................. 118
D. Congressional Review Act........................................................................................................... 119
VIII.
ORDERING CLAUSES .............................................................................................................. 120
APPENDIX A - List of Commenting Parties
APPENDIX B - Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
APPENDIX C - Final Rules

I.

INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY

1.
In this Report and Order, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or
Commission) extends the outage reporting requirements in Part 4 of our rules1 only to interconnected
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers.2 In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in this
proceeding,3 we proposed to take much broader action. Specifically, we proposed to extend Part 4 of the
rules to both interconnected VoIP services and broadband Internet services. In addition, we proposed to
require reporting of both outages based on the complete loss of service and those where, while service is
technically available, technical conditions (such as packet loss, latency and/or jitter) effectively prevent
communication. In response to the record developed in this proceeding, we are prepared at this time to
adopt reporting requirements only with respect to the complete loss of interconnected VoIP service.
Collecting this data will help the Commission help ensure the Nation’s 9-1-1 systems are as reliable and
resilient as possible and also allow us to monitor compliance with the statutory 9-1-1 obligations of
interconnected VoIP service providers. At this time, we also defer action on possible performance
degradation thresholds for measuring an outage of interconnected VoIP service and on all outages of
broadband Internet service.
2.
Consumers are increasingly using interconnected VoIP services in lieu of traditional
telephone service.4 Interconnected VoIP services allow a wireline or wireless user generally to receive
calls from and make calls to the legacy public telephone network, including calls to 9-1-1.5 As of
December 31, 2010, 31 percent of the more than 87 million residential telephone subscriptions in the


1 47 C.F.R. Part 4.
2 The rules we adopt today modify information collection to OMB No. 3060-0484 (approved Nov. 16, 1991). The
Commission will issue a public notice announcing the effective date of the information collection after the Office of
Management and Budget approves the modification.
3 See Proposed Extension of Part 4 of the Commission’s Rules Regarding Outage Reporting to Interconnected Voice
Over Internet Protocol Service Providers and Broadband Internet Service Providers, Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking,
PS Docket No. 11-82, 26 FCC Rcd 7166 (2011) (NPRM).
4 See Local Telephone Competition: Status as of December 31, 2010, Industry Analysis and Technology Division,
Wireline Competition Bureau, Federal Communications Commission (Oct. 2011), Figure 1 - Interconnected VoIP
Subscriptions and Retail Switched Access Lines, 2008 - 2010, available at
http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2011/db1007/DOC-310264A1.pdf, (last visited Feb. 2,
2012). For example, during the period December 2008 to December 2010 residential and business interconnected
VoIP subscriptions increased from 21,744,000 to 31,674,000 (+46 percent) while legacy residential and business
telephone lines decreased from 141,019,000 to 116,898,000 (-17 percent).
5 Section 9.3 of the Commission’s Rules defines “Interconnected VoIP service” as “a service that: (1) Enables real-
time, two-way voice communications; (2) Requires a broadband connection from the user’s location; (3) Requires
Internet protocol-compatible customer premises equipment (CPE); and (4) Permits users generally to receive calls
that originate on the public switched telephone network.” 47 C.F.R. § 9.3.
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United States were provided by interconnected VoIP providers6—an increase of 21 percent (from 22.4
million to 27.1 million residential lines) in the last year.7 The public’s increased reliance on
interconnected VoIP services is also reflected in 9-1-1 usage trends; we estimate that approximately 31
percent of residential wireline 9-1-1 calls are made using VoIP service.8
3.
The availability and resilience of our communications infrastructure, specifically 9-1-1,
directly impacts public safety and the ability of our first responders to fulfill their critical mission. The
most practical, effective way to maintain emergency preparedness and readiness is to work continuously
to minimize the incidence of routine outages.
4.
The FCC’s public safety mission is one of our core functions, and “promoting safety of
life and property” is a foundational reason for the creation of the Commission.9 More recently, Congress
affirmed the Commission’s efforts to accomplish this mission by codifying the requirement for
interconnected VoIP providers to provide 9-1-1 services.10
5.
Consistent with our statutory mission, Presidential Directives and Executive Orders, and
related implementing documents charge the Commission with ensuring the resilience and reliability of the
Nation’s commercial and public safety communications infrastructure. National Security Presidential
Directive/NSPD-5111 establishes the framework by which the government can continue to perform its
most critical roles during times of emergency.12 Accordingly, the Commission has the responsibility to


6 See Local Telephone Competition: Status as of December 31, 2010, Industry Analysis and Technology Division,
Wireline Competition Bureau, Federal Communications Commission (Oct. 2011), Figure 2 - Wireline Retail Local
Telephone Service Connections by Technology and Customer Type as of December 31, 2010, available at
http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2011/db1007/DOC-310264A1.pdf (last visited Feb. 2,
2012). .
7 See Local Telephone Competition: Status as of December 31, 2009, Industry Analysis and Technology Division,
Wireline Competition Bureau, Federal Communications Commission (Jan. 2011), Figure 2 -Wireline Retail Local
Telephone Service Connections by Technology and Customer Type as of December 31, 2009, available at
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-304054A1.pdf. (last visited Feb. 2, 2012).
8 See supra notes 4-6. The FCC estimates that the percentage of residential wireline VoIP calls to 9-1-1 will be
approximately equal to the percentage of residential wireline VoIP telephone subscriptions when compared to the
total residential wireline telephone subscriptions. See Local Telephone Competition: Status as of December 31,
2010
, Industry Analysis and Technology Division, Wireline Competition Bureau, Federal Communications
Commission (Oct. 2011), Figure 2 - Wireline Retail Local Telephone Service Connections by Technology and
Customer Type as of December 31, 2010, available at
http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2011/db1007/DOC-310264A1.pdf. (last visited Feb. 2,
2012). The FCC estimates that the percentage of residential wireline VoIP calls to 9-1-1 will be approximately
equal to the ratio of residential wireline VoIP telephone subscriptions (27.061M) to the total residential wireline
telephone subscriptions (87.088M), i.e., 27.061M/87.088M or 31 percent.
9 See 47 U.S.C. § 151.
10 See 47 U.S.C. § 615a-1.
11 National Security Presidential Directive 51 (NSPD 51), also known as Homeland Security Presidential Directive-
20 (HSPD-20) (May 9, 2007), available at http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/nspd/nspd-51.htm (last visited Feb. 6,
2012).
12 NSPD 51/HSPD-20 provides a rapid and effective response to and recovery from a national emergency. It
establishes the policy on the continuity of Federal government structures and operations. It also establishes
“National Essential Functions” (NEFs), which prescribe continuity requirements for all executive departments and
agencies to ensure that our constitutional government endures. NEFs include: 1) providing rapid and effective
response to and recovery from the domestic consequences of an attack or other incident; and 2) providing for critical
(continued….)
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ensure continuous operations and reconstitution of critical communications and services.13 The
Commission also plays an active role in Emergency Support Function 2 (ESF2),14 the communications
branch of the National Response Framework,15 which guides the Nation’s conduct during an all-hazards
response. Executive Order 12472 establishing the National Communications System, the functions of
which include coordination of the planning for and provision of national security and emergency
preparedness communications for the Federal government, also requires FCC participation.16
6.
We have cause to be concerned about the ability of interconnected VoIP subscribers to
reach emergency services when they need them. Several recent, significant VoIP outages highlight our
concern about the availability of 9-1-1 over VoIP service:

·
On May 25, 2010, according to press reports, a service outage involving the AT&T U-
Verse platform involved a server failure that impacted U-Verse interconnected VoIP
service in AT&T’s entire 22-state local phone service area serving approximately 1.15
million customers. The reports indicate that the outage lasted for several hours. It
remains unclear how many subscribers were unable to reach 9-1-1 and for how long.17
·
On March 22, 2011, a Comcast outage in 19 New Hampshire communities beginning
around 3:30 p.m. left many Comcast customers in those communities unable to make any
calls, including 9-1-1 calls. The problem lasted through the evening.18
·
In June 2010, CenturyLink Internet experienced failures that affected approximately
30,000 customers on the Kitsap Peninsula (near Seattle, Washington),19 and in a separate
(Continued from previous page)


Federal Government services that address the health, safety and welfare needs of the United States. NSPD
51/HSPD-20 (May 4, 2007), ¶ 5.
13 See description of the Commission’s work with respect to emergency communications:
http://www.fcc.gov/topic/emergency-communications (last visited Feb. 13, 2012).
14 ESF2 supports the restoration of the communications infrastructure, facilities, the recovery of systems and
applications from cyber attacks, and coordinates Federal communications support to response efforts during
incidents requiring a Federal response. See http://www.fema.gov/pdf/emergency/nrf/nrf-esf-02.pdf (last visited Feb.
2, 2012).
15 The National Response Framework was developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) pursuant
to Homeland Security Presidential Directive-8 (HSPD-8). This Directive was enacted to strengthen the
preparedness of the United States to prevent and respond to threatened or actual domestic terrorist attacks, major
disasters, and other emergencies by requiring a national domestic all-hazards preparedness goal, establishing
mechanisms for improved delivery of Federal preparedness assistance to State and local governments, and outlining
actions to strengthen preparedness capabilities of Federal, State, and local entities. Homeland Security Presidential
Directive-8 (Dec. 17, 2003), replaced by Presidential Policy Directive 8 (March 30, 2011), available at
http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/laws/gc_1215444247124.shtm (last visited Feb. 6, 2012).
16 See Amendment of Part 63 of the Commission's Rules to Provide for Notification by Common Carriers of Service
Disruptions,
CC Docket No. 91-273, Report and Order, 7 FCC Rcd 2010, 2016-17 ¶¶ 33-34 (1992) (1992 Part 4
Report and Order)
.
17 See Mike Dolan AT&T’s VoIP suffers outage, FierceVoIP, May 27, 2010, available at
http://www.fiercevoip.com/story/ts-voip-suffers-outage/2010-05-27 (last visited Feb. 7, 2012).
18 See TCMNet, Phone outages leave 19 communities without 911 for hours, March 23, 2011, available at.
http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2011/03/23/5396533.htm (last visited Feb. 7, 2012).
19 See Derek Sheppard, Internet Outages Frustrate Businesses, Web Surfers in North Kitsap, Kitsap Sun, June 4,
2010, available at http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2010/jun/04/scattered-internet-outages-frustrate-businesses/ (last
visited Feb. 7, 2012).
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outage, affected approximately 100,000 customers across parts of Texas.20 The Kitsap
Peninsula outage lasted an hour according to company sources, but some customers said
it lasted four times as long.21 The Texas outage lasted over eight hours. During the
outages, consumers, businesses and government were unable to place 9-1-1 or other calls
over VoIP.
·
In March 2010, Comcast Internet and Digital Voice service was disrupted to customers in
Nashville, Tennessee, and Atlanta, Georgia. Comcast customers experienced severely
degraded service for at least two hours.22 During the outage, local, state, and Federal
government department and agency customers of Comcast in the affected areas were
unable to make or receive telephone calls. Residential and business subscribers to
Comcast Internet and Digital Voice services also were affected by the outage
significantly impairing their ability to engage in 9-1-1 and other communications.
7. Commission staff gathered these facts from press accounts. None of these outages was
reported directly to the Commission. The current outage reporting requirements are limited to traditional
voice and paging communications services over wireline, wireless, cable, and satellite and do not apply to
outages affecting interconnected VoIP services.23 Obtaining outage information for interconnected VoIP
service, however, is the most effective method for the Commission to know whether and how well
providers are meeting their statutory obligation to provide 9-1-1 and Enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) service.24
Further, without detailed information about outages that occur, the Commission is unable to analyze
communications vulnerabilities, especially as they pertain to 9-1-1 services, or to share aggregate
information with industry to help prevent future outages.


20 See Dave Miller, Century Link down across region, Killeen Daily Herald, June 17, 2010, available at
http://www.kdhnews.com/news/story.aspx?s=42355 (last visited Feb. 7, 2012).
21 See infoTECH News, Scattered Internet Outages Frustrate Businesses, Web Surfers in North Kitsap, June 4,
2010, available at http://it.tmcnet.com/news/2010/06/04/4828578.htm (last visited Feb. 7, 2012).
22 See Fred Posner, Comcast Outage and Phone Service Complaints, VoIP Tech Chat, March 29, 2010, available at
http://www.voiptechchat.com/voip/431/comcast-outage-and-phone-service-complaints/ (last visited Feb. 7, 2012).
23 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 4.1-4.13. In 1992, the Commission established network outage reporting requirements for
wireline providers. 1992 Part 4 Report and Order 7 FCC Rcd 2010 (1992); see also Memorandum Opinion and
Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
, 8 FCC Rcd 8517 (1993); Second Report and Order, FCC Rcd
39-1-1 (1994); Order on Reconsideration of Second Report and Order, 10 FCC Rcd 11764 (1995). In 2004, the
Commission extended these reporting requirements to providers of wireless, cable, and satellite communications.
New Part 4 of the Commission’s Rules Concerning Disruptions to Communications, ET Docket No. 04-35, 2004
Part 4 Order and FNPRM
, 19 FCC Rcd 16830 (2004) (2004 Part 4 Order and FNPRM).
24 Section 615a-1(a) of the Communications Act provides that
“[i]t shall be the duty of each IP-enabled voice service provider to provide 9-1-1 service
and enhanced 9-1-1 service to its subscribers in accordance with the requirements of the
Federal Communications Commission, as in effect on July 23, 2008 and as such
requirements may be modified by the Commission from time to time.”
47 U.S.C. § 615a-1.
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8.
With the objective of ensuring the availability of 9-1-1 service, this Report and Order:
·
extends the Commission’s mandatory outage reporting rules to facilities-based and non-
facilities-based25 interconnected VoIP service providers;
o applies the current Part 4 definition of an outage to outages of interconnected
VoIP service, covering the complete loss of service and/or connectivity to
customers;
o requires that these providers submit electronically a notification to the
Commission within:
·
240 minutes of discovering that they have experienced on any facilities
that they own, operate, lease, or otherwise utilize, an outage of at least 30
minutes duration that potentially affects a 9-1-1 special facility,26 in
which case they also shall notify, as soon as possible by telephone or
other electronic means, any official who has been designated by the
management of the affected 9-1-1 facility as the provider’s contact
person for communications outages at that facility;
·
in this case, the provider shall convey to that person all available
information that may be useful to the management of the
affected facility in mitigating the effects of the outage on efforts
to communicate with that facility; or
·
24 hours of discovering that these providers have experienced on any
facilities that they own, operate, lease, or otherwise utilize, an outage of
at least 30 minutes duration that:
·
potentially affects at least 900,000 user minutes of
interconnected VoIP service and results in complete loss of
service; or
·
potentially affects any special offices and facilities;27
o requires that these providers submit electronically a Final Communications
Outage Report to the Commission not later than thirty days after discovering the
outage; and
·
clarifies that the Part 4 rules apply to voice services provided using new wireless
spectrum bands.


25 See Clarification of § 83.61 International Traffic Data Reporting Requirements, 13 F.C.C.R. 12809, 12810 (Int.
Bur. 2008) (defining “facilities-based” service as a service provided using channels of communication that the
carrier owns, or in which the carrier has some other possessory interest, such as an indefeasible right of use (IRU) or
a lease).
26 See 47 C.F.R. § 4.5(e).
27 See 47 C.F.R. § 4.5(b).
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9.
The outage reporting threshold that we adopt today for interconnected VoIP service is
technology-neutral in that it mirrors the existing standard applied to other services covered under Part 4 of
the Commission’s rules. Furthermore, the reporting process adopted herein is quite similar to the current
process. We recognize that requiring interconnected VoIP service providers to report even significant
outages imposes a burden on them, but we have determined that the cost to these providers of
implementing the rules adopted herein is justified by the overwhelming public benefit of a reliable 9-1-1
system and firmly grounded in the Commission’s statutory obligation to ensure that reliability 9-1-1
service is provided to users of interconnected VoIP service. Finally, we decide to defer the question of
outage reporting requirements for broadband Internet service providers and determine that this issue
deserves further study. 28

II.

BACKGROUND

10.
The 9-1-1 system is part of the Nation’s critical communications infrastructure. The
Commission plays a key role ensuring that the communications network promotes public safety,
including matters involving the national security and emergency preparedness of the United States.29
Indeed, Congress established the Commission in part to promote the “safety of life and property.”30
11.
To perform our statutory and administrative duties effectively, we need timely, accurate
and longitudinal information about the nation’s communications infrastructure. Since 1992, the
Commission has required wireline providers to report major disruptions to their communications
services.31 In 2004, the Commission extended reporting requirements to providers of wireless (including
paging), cable, and satellite communications. With respect to wireless services, the Commission referred
to communications that are provided using cellular architecture pursuant to Parts 22, 24 and 90 of the
Rules, as well as CMRS paging services.32
12.
The current outage reporting process under Part 4 involves online submission of very
basic information within two hours of discovering the existence of a reportable outage (“Notification”),
additional information within 72 hours (“Initial Report”), and a more detailed description of the outage
and cause(s) within thirty days (“Final Report”).33 The online submissions are made via the FCC’s


28 Proposed Extension of Part 4 of the Commission’s Rules Regarding Outage Reporting to Interconnected Voice
Over Internet Protocol Service Providers and Broadband Internet Service Providers, PS Docket No. 11-82, Notice of
Proposed Rule Making
, 26 FCC Rcd 7166, 7181 ¶ 31 (2011)(hereinafter NPRM).
29 See Exec. Order No. 12,472, Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Telecommunications
Functions
, 49 Fed. Reg. 13471 (1984), as amended by Exec. Order 13,286, Amendment of Executive Orders, and
Other Actions, in Connection With the Transfer of Certain Functions to the Secretary of Homeland Security
, 68 Fed.
Reg. 10619 (2003), and Exec. Order 13,407, Public Alert and Warning System, 71 Fed. Reg. 36975 (2006).
30 See, e.g., 47 U.S.C. § 151.
31 See generally 1992 Part 4 Report and Order.
32 See 2004 Part 4 Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 16922 at App. B. In addition, in 2005, the Commission sought
comment on whether network outage reporting requirements should be extended to include broadband Internet
access service providers, but no action was taken on the proposal. Appropriate Framework for Broadband Access to
the Internet over Wireline Facilities
, CC Docket No. 02-33, Report and Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,
20 FCC Rcd 14853, 14933 ¶ 154 (2005) (Wireline Broadband ISP Order and NPRM), aff’d. sub nom. Time Warner
Telecom Inc. v. FCC
, 507 F.3d 205 (3d Cir. 2007).
33 See 47 C.F.R. § 4.11. The Notification shall provide the name of the reporting entity; the date and time of onset
of the outage; a brief description of the problem; service effects; the geographic area affected by the outage; and a
contact name and contact telephone number by which the Commission's technical staff may contact the reporting
entity. The Initial report shall contain all pertinent information then available on the outage. The Final report shall
(continued….)
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Network Outage Reporting System (NORS), a web-based filing system through which communications
providers covered by the Part 4 reporting rules submit reports to the FCC. This system uses an electronic
template to promote ease of reporting and encryption technology to ensure the security of the information
filed.
13.
The Commission uses outage information submitted pursuant to Part 4 of its rules to
carry out our mission to promote “safety of life and property” and to fulfill our responsibilities under the
Executive Orders describe above by identifying communication system vulnerabilities. Over the last six
years, the Commission staff, working with communications providers, has been able to facilitate
improved communications resiliency and emergency readiness. The Commission is uniquely positioned
to do so. The outage reports identify issues that the Commission needs to address with individual
providers whose reports reveal a need for improved reliability. But the Commission also monitors outage
reports filed by all reporting providers to identify statistically meaningful trends. Because outage reports
are presumed to be confidential,34 no individual carrier, no matter how diligent or motivated, is positioned
to perform that role. When Commission staff identifies a possible area of concern across providers, we
gather providers together in coordinated efforts to improve security, reliability and resiliency. Where
necessary, the Commission considers policy changes to address persistent problems. Over the years, this
work has consistently resulted in reductions in the number of outages, as evidenced by a decrease in the
number of outage reports filed. More important, the net decrease in the frequency of reported outages
reflects an increase in the reliability of the communications infrastructure, which thereby leads to an
increase in the availability of the public safety services that rely on the communications infrastructure. In
short, as a result of reporting and our subsequent analysis, measureable reliability improvements have
been achieved, and reporting has led to improvements in the engineering, provisioning, and deployment
of communications infrastructure and services.35
14.
In addition, sharing aggregated outage information with providers nationwide has led to
the development and refinement of industry best practices, which, in turn, has reduced the number of
communications outages. Industry stakeholders and others have recognized the value of these data.36 For
example, wireline outages spiked in 2008, decreasing the reliability of 9-1-1 services. Through ongoing,
systematic analysis of monthly wireline outages and subsequent work by the Commission and industry
groups, such as the Network Reliability Steering Committee (NRSC)37 and the National Emergency
(Continued from previous page)


contain all pertinent information on the outage, including any information that was not contained in, or that has
changed from that provided in, the Initial report.
34 See 47 C.F.R. §4.2.
35 See Network Reliability Steering Committee Annual Report 2004 (Oct. 2005), available at
http://www.atis.org/NRSC/Docs/2004_Annual_Report.pdf (last visited Feb. 2, 2012).
36 See Network Reliability Steering Committee 2008-2009 Biennial Report (Apr. 2010), available at
http://www.atis.org/nrsc/Docs/ATIS-0100029%20-%20NRSC%20Biennial%20Report.pdf (last visited Feb. 2,
2012).
37 The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) Network Reliability Steering Committee
(NRSC) is the steering committee of the Network Reliability Council (NRC), which was formed in 1992 to bring
together leaders of the telecommunications industry and telecommunications experts from academic and consumer
organizations to explore and recommend measures that would enhance network reliability. A key method by which
the NRSC accomplishes its work is through coordination with Commission staff on issues identified through
analysis of NORS reports and other incidents. The NRSC currently includes nine major wireline and wireless
carriers and the National Communications System. When network reliability issues are identified, often through the
(continued….)
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Number Association (NENA), the Commission and industry were able to understand the root causes of
this trend, ultimately resulting in the application of improved industry practices that reduced the estimated
number of lost 9-1-1 calls by 40 percent. Such dramatic reductions would not have been possible without
this bigger picture of industry network reliability made possible by reporting and the sharing of outage
data among Commission and industry experts.38
15.
Unlike legacy service providers, interconnected VoIP service providers are not covered
by the Commission’s current outage reporting rules.39 As a result, the Commission is constrained in its
ability to bring interconnected VoIP providers into this process of continual evaluation and improvement.
The Communications Act and Commission rules do impose 9-1-1-related obligations on interconnected
VoIP service providers. In 2005, the Commission adopted rules requiring providers of interconnected
VoIP service to supply E9-1-1 capabilities to their customers as a standard feature from wherever the
customer is using the service, including relaying Automatic Number Identification (ANI) and the caller’s
Registered Location to the PSAP, designated statewide default answering point, or appropriate local
emergency authority.40 And in 2008, Congress enacted the New and Emerging Technologies 9-1-1
Improvement Act of 2008 that, among other things, amended the 9-1-1 Act to codify the Commission’s
E9-1-1 rules for interconnected VoIP providers.41
16.
Outages to interconnected VoIP service providers negatively affect the ability of
interconnected VoIP service providers to meet basic and enhanced 9-1-1 service obligations because,
whether or not facilities-based, interconnected VoIP service providers, their 9-1-1 calls are typically
established42 using the standard Session Initiation Protocol (SIP),43 which does not distinguish between 9-
1-1 and other calls. The 9-1-1 call may transit a broadband Internet access service provider and a
broadband backbone Internet service provider in order to reach the non-facilities-based interconnected
VoIP service provider’s 9-1-1 database for routing instructions to reach the caller’s nearest PSAP. The
inability of SIP to distinguish between 9-1-1 and non-emergency interconnected VoIP calls means that
outage reporting for all aspects of interconnected VoIP connectivity is necessary to understand and ensure
the reliability of 9-1-1 VoIP calls.
17.
The outage information received from interconnected VoIP service providers will help
the Commission determine the magnitude of their impact on the nationwide 9-1-1 system, whether action
can be taken immediately to help providers recover and prevent future outages, and ensure, to the extent
(Continued from previous page)


Commission’s analysis of NORS reports, the NRSC will constitute a team to review the issue and recommend best
practices and solutions. See http://www.atis.org/nrsc/index.asp (last visited Feb. 2, 2012).
38 ATIS, NRSC Bulletin No. 2009-006 Wireline Outages (Oct. 2009).
39 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 4.1-4.13. The Commission’s current outage reporting requirements are limited to traditional
voice and paging communications services over wireline, wireless, cable, and satellite and do not apply to outages
affecting interconnected VoIP service providers. See supra note 23 and accompanying text.
40 IP-Enabled Services; E9-1-1 requirements for IP-Enabled Service Providers, WC Docket No. 04-36, WC Docket
No. 05-196, First Report and Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 20 FCC Rcd 10245, 10246 (2005) (VoIP
9-1-1 Order and VoIP 9-1-1 NPRM). See
47 C.F.R. § 9.5(b). The Registered Location is “[t]he most recent
information obtained by an interconnected VoIP service provider that identifies the physical location of an end
user.” 47 C.F.R. § 9.3.
41 New and Emerging Technologies 9-1-1 Improvement Act of 2008, Pub. L. No. 110-283, 122 Stat. 2620 (2008)
(NET 911 Improvement Act of 2008).
42 See http://ir.vonage.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=194444 (last visited Feb. 2, 2012).
43 Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a signaling protocol for creating, modifying, and terminating VoIP sessions
with one or more participants. See http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3261.txt (last visited Feb. 2, 2012).
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possible, that the various VoIP services are prepared for natural and man-made disasters. Such
information will allow the Commission to use the same successful process it currently uses with providers
of legacy services to refine and develop best practices that will help enhance the reliability of
interconnected VoIP service in emergency situations. We expect that the reports will enable the
Commission staff, in conjunction with industry, to analyze patterns of interconnected VoIP service outage
on an industry-wide basis, in a manner that will lead to measurably improved reliability and outage
reductions that have been achieved to date using data from NORS.44 These benefits will become
increasingly important as the use of interconnected VoIP service grows.45
18.
The National Broadband Plan recommended that the Commission extend the Part 4
outage reporting rules to include, inter alia, interconnected VoIP service providers,46 and in July 2010, the
Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (Bureau) sought comment in a Public Notice on extending
the Part 4 rules to interconnected VoIP services.47 On May 13, 2011, the Commission adopted a Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking
seeking comment on, inter alia, extending Part 4 to these services.48 On
September 8, 2011, the Bureau held a public workshop that addressed this subject.49


44 The Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable (MDTC) sees similar benefits, believing the
FCC’s extending outage reporting requirements will “benefit more than 1 million Massachusetts residential and
business subscribers of interconnected VoIP services and more than 2.5 million Massachusetts Internet broadband
households.” Comments of MDTC at 2. The MDTC maintains that by extending outage reporting requirements to
interconnected VoIP providers, the FCC may better enforce existing E-9-1-1 obligations and analyze root causes of
outages, which will improve the overall communications network performance.” Id. at 3. Uffe-Holst Jensen,
Councellor, European Commission, explained that the European Union adopted a 2009 Directive, which includes an
obligation for outage reporting (on telephone voice-fixed networks, data services, satellite communications, fixed
networks, and wireless broadcast services) because “It is important to have some kind of minimum standards . . .
[T]o ensure that what we [In the European Union] achieve the most competitive knowledge-based economy. . . .we
need to be sure that the telecom services are reliable, and are available. So we need to have a set of minimum
standards for the Member States. And it goes into the overall competitiveness of the European Union . . . ”.
Directive 2009/140/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, chapter IIIa, art. 13(a)(3) (Nov. 25,
2009)(Directive), available at http://eur-
lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:337:0037:01:EN:HTML (last visited Feb. 2, 2012).
45 This view is shared by observers not just in this country, but in other countries with advance communications
networks as well. Masaru Fujino, Counselor, Embassy of Japan in USA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan,
recently said the following about the need for outage information: “And [in Japan] we are more and more dependent
on the IP networks, both for . . . public education and for the emergency calls. So it is quite essential in Japan for us,
too, to get the information on the IP networks.” Workshop/Webinar on Proposed Extension of Outage Reporting
and on Network Reliability and Continuity, Washington, DC, September 8, 2011, at 57 (FCC Workshop).
46 Omnibus Broadband Initiative, Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan (Recommendation 16.6, Mar.
2010) (NBP), available at http://www.broadband.gov/plan/national-broadband-plan-action-agenda.pdf (last visited
Feb. 2, 2012).
47 See generally Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Seeks Comment on Whether the Commission’s Rules
Concerning Disruptions to Communications Should Apply to Broadband Internet Service Providers and
Interconnected Voice Over Internet Protocol Service Providers,
ET Docket No. 04-35,Public Notice, 25 FCC Rcd
8490 (2010) (PSHSB PN).
48 NPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 7167.
49 Workshop/Webinar on Proposed Extension of Outage Reporting and on Network Reliability and Continuity,
Washington, DC, September 8, 2011 (FCC Workshop).
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III.

NEED FOR COLLECTING OUTAGE INFORMATION ON INTERCONNECTED VOIP
SERVICE

A.

Need for Requirement

19.
As set forth below, we conclude that significant outages of interconnected VoIP service
should be reported to the Commission.
1.

Proposal

20.
In the NPRM, we proposed, inter alia, to extend the Part 4 outage reporting
requirements to include both facilities-and non-facilities-based interconnected VoIP services.50 The
Commission recognized that monitoring and analysis of outages is needed in light of increasing evidence
that major VoIP service outages are occurring51 and given that such outages may disable 9-1-1 and other
service capabilities. Further, because there currently are no Commission requirements to report such
outages, the Commission recognized that it is unable to facilitate resolution, analyze underlying causes,
and support the development and application of best practices, all of which, together, ultimately leads to a
higher level of network reliability that can better support E9-1-1 service and emergency response.
2.

Comments

21.
Most industry commenters argue that the Commission does not need to collect
interconnected VoIP service outage information because service providers have market incentives to
ensure that their systems are reliable.52 Some industry commenters argue that the interconnected VoIP
information is unnecessary because broadband network technologies53 are designed to reroute traffic to
avoid loss of service and/or connectivity, and thus an outage of a facility for interconnected VoIP service
may have no effect on the ability to continue to send or receive the related traffic.54 Some industry
commenters argue that the burdens of extending the Part 4 requirements outweigh the benefits or are
otherwise not justified.55 State government56 and commenters from critically important industry sectors,


50 NPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 7170 ¶¶ 11, 26, 40, 46.
51 See Om Malik, VoIP Has Serious Problems, GigaOM, March 6, 2005, available at
http://gigaom.com/2005/03/06/voip-has-serious-problems/ (last visited Feb. 7, 2012).
52 See, e.g., American Cable Association (ACA) Comments at 2; AT&T, Inc. (AT&T) Comments at 11-14; The
Wireless Association (CTIA) Comments at 6; MegaPath Inc. (MegaPath) Comments at 3-4; MetroPCS
Communications, Inc. (MetroPCS) Comments at 6-7; Sprint Nextel Corporation (Sprint) Comments at 5; T-Mobile
USA, Inc. (T-Mobile) Comments at 1-3; United States Telecom Association (USTA) Comments at 2-3; the Voice
on the Net Coalition (VON Coalition)Comments at 5-6; Vonage Holdings Corp. (Vonage) Comments at 5-6; XO
Communications (XO) Comments at 3.
53 VoIP service relies on broadband technologies.
54 See MetroPCS Comments, at 9-10; National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) Comments at 5;
Sprint Comments at 5; Verizon and Verizon Wireless (Verizon) Comments at 11; XO Comments at 3.
55 AT&T Comments at 2; Time Warner Cable Inc. (Time Warner) Comments at 6; VON Coalition Comments at 10.
We address the costs and benefits of the new rules below at paras. 45-53, infra.
56 MDTC Comments at 2; Michigan Public Service Commission (Michigan PSC) Comments at 2-3; National
Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates and the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel (NASUCA)
Comments at 8-11; New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) Comments at 2, 5-7; Letter from J. Bradford
Ramsey, General Counsel, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, to the Honorable Julius
Genachowski, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission, et al., dated Feb. 8, 2012 (“NARUC February 8,
2012 Ex Parte Filing).
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such as finance and utilities,57 however, support the Commission’s tentative conclusion that this
additional outage information is needed to protect the public.
3.

Discussion

22.
Based on the record in this proceeding, we continue to believe that outage reporting is the
most effective and least burdensome way to ensure that interconnected VoIP providers are meeting their
statutory obligation to provide 9-1-1 service and that, without such reporting, we will continue to have
extremely limited visibility into the reliability of access to 9-1-1 emergency services, which impairs our
ability to secure improvements in 9-1-1 service reliability and to fulfill our statutory obligations pursuant
to the NET9-1-1 Act.
23.
To address network reliability issues, the Commission has generally employed the light-
touch approach of using outage reporting requirements to facilitate the development and use of voluntary
best practices, rather than an approach that relies on such measures as mandating specified levels of
performance. Since the institution of the Part 4 rules in 2004, we have reviewed and analyzed outage data
on both an individual provider and an aggregated basis. We regularly collaborate with providers to
identify the causes of outages, develop and apply best practices to address the causes of both isolated and
systemic outages, and in some cases, even facilitate restoration efforts.
24.
The Commission is uniquely positioned to piece together an overall picture of aggregated
network performance because of the ability to collect and analyze outage data provided by
communications providers that would otherwise be disinclined to share sensitive outage data. No single
provider – even with strong commercial incentives to ensure that its network performance attracts and
retains customers – has the data to spot trends across industry and lead efforts to coordinate effectively
with other governmental entities and industry working groups. The Commission’s ability to look at
information received from different providers’ outage reports allows us to assess large-scale outages
when they occur, thereby increasing the opportunities for federal assistance in dealing with the immediate
problem. The following discussion identifies a number of ways that outage reports have served as a
uniquely effective precipitating force for improving network reliability – and thus the reliability of 9-1-1
services.
25.
Collaboration with Network Reliability Steering Committee. On a quarterly basis, the
Commission provides the NRSC with aggregated outage data across all entities subject to Part 4 of the
rules and draws attention to those categories of outages showing a statistically significant trend upward in
the number of outages. With respect to these categories of outages, the Commission then requests that the
NRSC create a team to recommend procedures, best practices and, in some cases, equipment design
alterations to address the underlying issue.
26.
A complete wireline outage impairs the ability of consumers to reach 9-1-1. Hence, a
dramatic reduction in wireline outages will result in a dramatic reduction in lost 9-1-1 calls. In 2008, the
frequency of wireline outages was increasing at a rate of 3.5 percent per month. The Commission
referred this situation to the NRSC, which analyzed the major causes of these outages and recommended
best practices to reverse the trend. The NRSC team found that the substantial increase in wireline outages
was due primarily to cable damage, identified a set of best practices that would prevent these types of
outages, and released to the public a bulletin describing their findings.58 As the chart below illustrates,
during the six-month period when the Commission worked with the NRSC to reverse the trend in wireline


57 Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council Reply Comments at 2; Utilities Telecom Council Reply
Comments at 1-2.
58 ATIS, NRSC Bulletin No. 2009-006 Wireline Outages (Oct. 2009).
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outages, there was a more than 40-percent reduction in the estimated lost 9-1-1 calls due to wireline
outages.

Figure 1: Estimated Reduction in Lost 9-1-1 Calls

27.
Moreover, the Commission also has addressed several other types of outage problems
that are not reflected in the Figure 1 data. In 2005 and 2006, analysis of NORS data revealed an
extremely high incidence of outages affecting back-up-paths (i.e., those paths that handle traffic when the
primary paths fail) in high-capacity transport circuits.59 The Commission requested that the NRSC
develop and implement revisions to existing best practices to reduce the length of time that back-up-paths
were inoperative. In the months following the Commission’s referral of this problem to the NRSC, the
number of these outages dropped by more than 65 percent,60 increasing the resiliency of the
communications infrastructure and the availability of public safety communication services.
28.
In 2009, analysis of data filed in NORS revealed a high incidence of outages affecting the
portion of the network dedicated to 9-1-1 (i.e., dedicated routers and trunks responsible for routing 9-1-1
calls to emergency dispatch operators).61 Again, the Commission worked with the NRSC to identify best
practices that would prevent these problems. A year later, these outages had decreased by 13 percent.


59 Presentation by Jeffery Goldthorp, Chief, Communications Systems Analysis Division, Public Safety &
Homeland Security Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, “Analysis of Network Outage Reports for
NRSC Meeting”, to the Network Reliability Steering Committee of the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry
Solutions on October 19, 2006, Viewgraph 6 (filed in the instant proceeding on May 12, 2011).
60 Presentation by John Healy, Telecommunications Systems Specialist, Communications Systems Analysis
Division, Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, “Analysis of Network
Outage Reports for NRSC Meeting”, to the Network Reliability Steering Committee on July 24, 2007, Viewgraph 6
(filed in this proceeding on May 12, 2011).
61 See http://editor5.securesites.net/911/ (last visited Feb. 2, 2012), for a description of how a 9-1-1 call traverses the
dedicated 9-1-1 network. See also 47 C.F.R. § 9.3 Definitions, Wireline E911 Network, describing portions of the
telephone network dedicated to serving 9-1-1 calls.
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29.
In 2011, following widespread wireless 9-1-1 failures in the Washington, D.C. area
during a major snowstorm, the Commission referred an issue regarding Centralized Automatic Message
Accounting trunk performance to the NRSC.62 After studying the problem, the NRSC recommended
changes in equipment settings and emergency procedures that have been applied nationwide to resolve an
issue that was causing trunks carrying traffic to PSAPs to go out of service.63
30.
Coordination with Individual Providers. Based on analyzing outage data, the
Commission has been able to spot statistically significant upward trends in the number of outages filed by
particular providers, trends that the provider had either not identified or not addressed adequately. In
these cases, the Commission contacts the provider and works with it to identify causes and solutions. In
several such cases, service providers have implemented large-scale improvements to their networks. The
net result of reducing the number of reportable outages is increased resiliency of the communications
infrastructure and availability of the public safety services that rely on the communications infrastructure.
For example:
o In 2006, after NORS analysis revealed a major outage, the provider, at the Commission’s
urging, implemented an audit program across its entire footprint to monitor the diversity
of all major facilities, including critical 9-1-1 and Signaling System 7 (SS7) facilities.
The importance of this work was magnified because the source of these outages was a
Digital Cross Connect System, a major hub for traffic in carrier networks.
o In 2008, after NORS analysis revealed a large increase in the number of wireless outages
affecting access to 9-1-1, a major wireless provider instituted new monitoring capabilities
on its links and aggressively worked with the companies from which it leased facilities to
improve the reliability of the facilities. By 2009, the number of this type of outage had
decreased by 60 percent.
o In 2006, after NORS analysis revealed a large outage affecting B and D links,64 resulting
in 3.5 million blocked calls, a major provider instituted new rules on the sizing of B or D
links to ensure the links in the SS7 networks are not overloaded.
o In 2009, after NORS analysis revealed that software problems were the root cause of an
unusually high number of outage reports over the course of several months, a major
provider replaced dense wavelength division multiplexing amplifier cards to correct the
situation.
31.
Identification of Industrywide Issues Through NORS Analysis. In 2010, Commission
staff discerned from outage reports that a significant number of outages associated with delivery of 9-1-1


62 Centralized Automatic Message Accounting (CAMA) trunks are dedicated for Enhanced 911 use, and when
reported to the telephony system provider, get immediate repair. Another feature that CAMA trunks provide is End
User Hold. If a 911 call is placed on an ISDN PRI circuit and gets disconnected, the call drops and that channel of
the T1 becomes idle. With CAMA trunks, the End User Hold feature keeps that call activated with the PSAP
operator, displaying the calling party number. See
http://www.amcomsoftware.com/Solutions/Enhanced_911_Solutions/FAQ/ (last visited Feb. 2, 2012).
63 See NRSC 9-1-1CAMA Trunk Throughput Optimization Analysis (Aug. 2011), at 14-15 available at
http://www.atis.org/legal/Docs/NRSC/CAMATrunk_Transmittal_Final.pdf (last visited Feb. 10, 2012).
64 A "B" (bridge) link connects an SS7 Signaling Transfer Point (STP) to another STP. Typically, a quad of "B"
links interconnect peer (or primary) STPs (e.g., the STPs from one network to the STPs of another network). A "D"
(diagonal) link connects a secondary (e.g., local or regional) STP pair to a primary (e.g., inter-network gateway)
STP pair in a quad-link configuration. Secondary STPs within the same network are connected via a quad of "D"
links. The distinction between a "B" link and a "D" link is rather arbitrary. For this reason, such links may be
referred to as "B/D" links. See http://pt.com/page/tutorials/ss7-tutorial (last visited Feb. 2, 2012).
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services were being caused by a relatively small number of factors, each of which could be addressed by
applying a known best practice. For example, Network Operators and Service Providers should consider
placing and maintaining 9-1-1 circuits over diverse interoffice transport facilities65 and deploy Diverse
Automatic Location Identification systems used in Public Safety.66 The Public Safety and Homeland
Security Bureau (PSHSB) issued a Public Notice urging communications providers to implement these
practices widely in their networks.67
32.
Leveraging Outage Data to Assist Emergency Response. During emergency situations,
the Commission assists emergency response by providing “Notification”68 data in NORS directly to the
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where it is used to support restoration efforts and emergency
response. The Commission also uses it to provide real-time support to PSAPs that have been affected by
a 9-1-1 outage.
33.
For example, during Hurricane Katrina, the Commission received over 65 reports of
outages from 21 providers. NORS data was the Federal government’s primary and best source of
information about the condition of critical communications infrastructure in the disaster area. Using this
information, the Commission was able to obtain FEMA’s assistance in maintaining operations in a vital
communications hub in New Orleans, the Poydras St. Central Office. Specifically, outage data identified
the importance of this particular switch to maintaining communications to a major part of the affected
area, and it also revealed that the central office was down due to lack of power. In order to restore the
functioning of the switch, personnel needed to access the area to provide fuel for the generators. Once the
switch was functioning normally, it required security protection to ensure continued operations and stable
access to fuel and back-up power. Based on information that the Commission provided to FEMA, U.S.
Marshals were sent to secure the site.69
34.
In the years since Hurricane Katrina, the Commission, working with industry
stakeholders, has developed and implemented a voluntary reporting system – Disaster Information
Reporting System (DIRS) -- for use in large-scale emergencies. The decision to activate DIRS is based in
large part on data that is made available to the Commission through NORS, which remains the
Commission’s most expedient way to become aware of the effect on communications of major man-made
and natural disasters. DIRS covers a broader range of communications than those services reported
through NORS under Part 4 and is also used to track restoration efforts. Typically, we suspend NORS
reporting in favor of the more comprehensive and more flexible DIRS system in the disaster area for the


65 See Best Practice 8-7-0566, available at
https://www.fcc.gov/nors/outage/bestpractice/DetailedBestPractice.cfm?number=8-7-0566 (last visited Feb. 2,
2012).
66 See Best Practice 8-8-075, available at
https://www.fcc.gov/nors/outage/bestpractice/DetailedBestPractice.cfm?number=8-8-0575 (last visited Feb. 2,
2012).
67 FCC’S Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Reminds Telecommunications Service Providers of
Importance of Implementing Advisory Committee 9-1-1 and Enhanced 9-1-1 Services Best Practices, Public Notice,
DA 10-494, rel. March 24, 2010, available at http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-10-494A1.pdf
(last visited Feb. 10, 2012).
68 As indicated in the 2004 Part 4 Order and FNPRM, the Commission provides encrypted NORS data to the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security. See 2004 Part 4 Order and FNPRM, 19 FCC Rcd at 16856 ¶ 47.
69 Kneuer, J. U.S. Department of Commerce, The National Telecommunications and Information Administration
(2006) (NTIA). NTIA Comments to the Recommendations of the Independent Panel Reviewing the impact of
Hurricane Katrina on Communications Networks
, EB Docket No. 06-119, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,.71 Fed.
Reg. 38564-01 (2006).
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duration of the crisis. For example, in the wake of the unprecedented tornadoes in Missouri and Southern
states and flooding of the Mississippi River in 2011, NORS data was the Commission’s first view of the
extent of the damage to communications facilities in those areas. In each case, NORS data was a critical
factor in the decision making process of the Federal agencies involved to escalate the reporting requested
of industry in connection with the disaster. DIRS was activated in both of these cases, and the
information received assisted emergency response and resource allocation decisions in those disaster
areas.
35.
We believe that these examples show that our intervention, guided by outage reporting
data, has resulted in tangible improvements to the communications reliability necessary to support 9-1-1
service. As reflected above, no single provider – even with strong commercial incentives to ensure that
its network performance attracts and retains customers – has the data to spot trends across industry and
lead efforts to coordinate effectively with other governmental entities and industry working groups.
Indeed, we have seen that individual providers do not always take steps within their own operations to
address reliability problems unique to themselves.70 We thus disagree with commenters who argue that
market incentives eliminate the need for network outage reporting to the Commission. In addition, we are
not persuaded by the claims of a few commenters that outage reporting is unnecessary because broadband
technologies reliably reroute traffic or that market incentives are sufficient to prevent significant
outages.71 We find that these claims are belied by the rise in the incidence of significant VoIP outages.72
Further, the extent to which network rerouting is successful in preventing outages cannot be determined in
the absence of outage data. Observers in critical infrastructure industries and in government, domestically
and abroad, are becoming increasingly aware of the need to track reliability data obtained from services
relying on broadband technologies to help ensure the reliability of emergency services and critical
communications.73
36.
Further, reporting outage data is the most efficient means for the Commission to ensure
that interconnected VoIP service providers are complying with their statutory obligation to provide 9-1-1
service, and to obtain critical information needed to monitor the reliability and availability of VoIP


70 See infra note 82 and accompanying text.
71 See, e.g., Sprint Comments at 5, 7, 9 (Internet protocol networks will re-route traffic when a network node fails);
CTIA Comments at 3-4 (next generation wireless standards rely on packet-switching, which divides the voice
transmission into packets and sends them over the fastest available route). See also Vonage Reply Comments at 2-3
(VoIP communications are chopped into “packets” that are then routed over the fastest available route, meaning
disruption along one network path will not necessarily interrupt communications); Wireless Communications
Association, International, Inc Reply Comments at 1-3 (Internet guards against link failures by routing packets
through any available path, in contrast to plain old telephone services, which rely on dedicated transmission paths
that often have a single point of failure).
72 See supra para. 6.
73 The basic problem of understanding the extent of the problem without the tools to fully understand it has been
observed by others. At the FCC Workshop, Laurie Flaherty observed: “Without gathering information from each
and all [of the interconnected VoIP service providers and broadband ISPs], it is difficult to figure out . . . how much
of a problem you are actually dealing with . . . it is really difficult to figure out how to manage what you can't
measure. So from the FCC's perspective, in terms of the statutory requirement to ensure 911 services, I don't know
how you would do that without being able to figure out that large a picture [obtained through outage reporting].”
Laurie Flaherty, Coordinator, National 911 Program, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, FCC
Workshop
, Transcript at 60.
Masaru Fujino, Counselor, Embassy of Japan in USA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, recently observed that
the number of outage events in IP-based services are increasing, jumping from just seven severe incidents in Fiscal
Year 2003 to eighteen severe incidents in Fiscal Year 2009. The Japanese government found that many outage
incidents involving IP based networks were due to software malfunctions. FCC Workshop, Transcript at 45, 48.
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9-1-1/E9-1-1 services. As indicated above, both the Act and the Commission’s rules mandate that
interconnected VoIP service providers provide 9-1-1 and E9-1-1 service, and the rules we adopt today
will provide the Commission with a mechanism in place to monitor whether these providers are
complying with this basic obligation. Requiring interconnected VoIP service providers to promptly file
reports when they experience outages that meet certain thresholds appears vastly superior, for example, to
a complaint-driven process; the latter would likely be ineffective in enabling the Commission to detect
and resolve quickly (with assistance from the providers involved) failures in the provision of 9-1-1 and
E9-1-1 service.74

B.

Mandatory or Voluntary Requirement

37.
As discussed below, we conclude that reporting significant outages of interconnected
VoIP service should be mandatory.
1.

Proposal

38.
In the NPRM, the Commission proposed mandatory reporting of significant outages for
interconnected VoIP service providers. Mandatory reporting would permit the Commission to obtain a
comprehensive, nationwide view of significant outages and assess and address their impact on 9-1-1 and
other services, whereas voluntary reporting would likely create substantial gaps in data that would thwart
efforts to monitor compliance with statutory obligations and to analyze and facilitate improvement of the
Nation’s 9-1-1 system.75 Therefore, we tentatively concluded that long-term voluntary reporting would
serve neither the Nation nor the public well, particularly in light of our negative experience with
voluntary reporting from providers of legacy services before the adoption of Part 4.76
2.

Comments

39.
Some commenters suggest that, if the Commission extends its outage reporting rules,
then reporting should be entirely voluntary,77 with some arguing that existing voluntary efforts by
providers and their ongoing involvement in public-private coordination efforts to share information and
promulgate best practices are sufficient to minimize risks to the communications infrastructure.78 Several
industry parties argue that any reporting process should be voluntary and modeled after the voluntary
DIRS.79 Several providers argue that, if the Commission moves forward, there should be an interim
period of up to two years before outage reporting becomes mandatory.80


74 In other contexts, the Commission has opted to require reporting in lieu of more proscriptive requirements. For
example, Section 1 1.2110(n) of the Commission’s Rules requires wireless providers that claim Designated Entity
(DE) status to file an annual report to affirm the provider’s continuing status as a DE. See 47 C.F.R. § 1.2110(n);
FCC Form 611-T. Section 73.3615(a) of the Commission’s Rules requires licensees of commercial AM, FM, and
full power television broadcast stations as well as Licensees of Class A and Low Power Television stations to file an
ownership report every two years to ensure compliance with statutory ownership limits. See 47 C.F.R. § 73.3615(a);
FCC Form 323.
75 NPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 7189 56.
76 NPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 7189-90 ¶ 57.
77 See, e.g., ATIS Comments at ii, 16; AT&T Comments at 17-18; see also CenturyLink Comments at 20; Sprint
Comments at 3; T-Mobile Comments at 10; Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) Comments at 5;
Verizon Comments at 6, 8.
78 See CenturyLink Comments at 20; CTIA Comments at 2, 7; National Cable & Telecommunications Association
(NCTA) Comments at 3, 12, 16.
79 See T-Mobile Comments at 2, 10; USTA comments at 4, n.10; see also Verizon Comments at 8-10.**
80 ATIS Comments at ii; CenturyLink Comments at 21.
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3.

Discussion

40.
Shortcomings of voluntary reporting. Our experience in other contexts has been that
competitive friction frequently makes service providers reluctant to voluntarily disclose detailed
information about their own service outages. A voluntary outage reporting trial was attempted, without
success, prior to the adoption of the Part 4 rules.81 There was “a history of several years of unsuccessful
voluntary outage reporting trials conducted by groups working under the auspices of Network Reliability
and Interoperability Council (NRIC). Those trials, which were conducted over a four-year interval . . .
encouraged . . . providers to participate actively and fully in those network outage-reporting effort,” but
“participation was spotty and . . . the quality of information obtained was very poor.”82 Based on this
experience, the existing Part 4 reporting system was adopted as a mandatory reporting scheme to ensure
timely, complete and accurate reporting.
41.
We have no reason to believe that interconnected VoIP service providers are different,
and the record in this proceeding provides us with no reason to believe that long-term voluntary reporting
would fare any better this time around. This reluctance would inhibit the development of a highly
reliable, nationwide 9-1-1 service, because it inhibits the kinds of information sharing and analysis
described above, which the Commission is uniquely positioned to undertake.83 Hence, we agree with the
Massachusetts DTC view of “voluntary practices as not removing the critical public safety need for
outage data or reporting.”84 Moreover, even if VoIP providers were not reluctant to share this
information, an individual provider would have insufficient incentive to share such data, because some of
the benefits would accrue to other providers. As we explained earlier,85 the outage information shared by
one provider has led to the development of industry best practices that have benefited all providers
nationwide. We also share NASUCA’s view that “[s]ervice outage reporting is far too important to be
left to the industry's voluntary participation,” and given the significant increase in VoIP usage, the risks of
a less vigilant approach in this context are becoming indefensible.86
42.
We are also not persuaded by the argument that any new outage reporting process should
apply the voluntary DIRS model.87 There are significant differences between the purposes of DIRS and
those of an outage reporting system. DIRS is a reporting system for use during large-scale disasters.88 In


81 2004 Part 4 Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 16840. Discussing its own experience with voluntary reporting of
communications outages, NYPSC states that “despite commitments to participate, the level of real-time and
consistent reporting by non-PSTN carriers has been a disappointment.” NYPSC Comments at 6.
82 2004 Part 4 Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 16851-52. John Carlson, representing the Financial Services
Sector Coordinating Council, made a similar observation on the question of why the extension of Part 4 of the
Commission’s rules should not permit outage reporting on a voluntary basis: “[W]e did try that once . . .back before
we did the original rules in Part IV today. We did that back in 2003 and 2004 as part of -- . . . the Network
Reliability and Interoperability Council -- And it didn't work out so well. There were a lot of gaps in reporting, and
so we concluded that just wasn't viable.” FCC Workshop, Transcript at 67-68. NASUCA echoed the FCC
conclusion that past voluntary reporting efforts have been unsuccessful and have been "met with significant
resistance." NASUCA Comments at 10.
83 See supra para. 24.
84 MDTC Comments at 3.
85 See supra paras. 14, 17.
86 NASUCA Comments at ii-iii.
87 See, e.g., Verizon Comments at 8; T-Mobile Comments at 2, 10; ATIS Comments at 17-18.
88 As discussed above, DIRS covers a broader range of communications than those services reported through NORS
under Part 4 and is also used to track restoration efforts. Typically, we suspend NORS reporting in favor of the
more comprehensive and more flexible DIRS system in the disaster area for the duration of the crisis.
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disasters, it is important to have maximum flexibility in the types of information requested and the timing
of reports so as to enhance situational awareness of the details of the emergency response. DIRS is rarely
activated, and the urgent events that lead to its activation tend to motivate communications providers to
cooperate to provide the information that is needed to support emergency response. Outage reporting, on
the other hand, is designed to enable the Commission to identify key network failures quickly to facilitate
restoration and, over time, to create a consistent body of data to permit statistical analysis of trends and
patterns over time. Moreover, apart from the outage reports themselves, the Commission may otherwise
be unaware of the underlying cause of the outage, such as an internal network failure, whereas outages
reported under DIRS are generally widely known and created by an external event, such as a hurricane.
43.
To the contrary, evidence suggests that the Commission’s poor experience with voluntary
outage reporting is not unique. The New York PSC, for example, comments that – based on its
experience – voluntary reporting does not ensure that providers “will provide timely, accurate outage
information.”89 Likewise, the Japanese government finds it necessary to require mandatory outage
reporting from broadband communications providers, including high-quality VoIP service.90 Japan’s
adoption of the requirement was a response to the rapid increase of IP-based communications in Japan in
recent years, including VoIP. Japan continues to see increasing dependency on VoIP as the primary
means to make emergency calls. In 2008, Japan modified its outage reporting requirements to reflect this
trend. Today in Japan, 18 million out of 26 million VoIP subscribers use high-quality VoIP, which is
required to have an emergency call function, or something equivalent to the U.S. 9-1-1 emergency calling
system.91
44.
As we observed, the Commission attempted a voluntary outage reporting trial without
success before adoption of the Part 4 rules. The record in this proceeding provides us no reason to believe
that long-term, voluntary reporting would fare any better this time around. Although several commenters
argue for a trial voluntary reporting period of 12 to 24 months, we believe a mandatory reporting
requirement best meets the needs of the Commission to ensure the statutory mandate that interconnected
VoIP service providers deliver reliable 9-1-1 service.
45.
Similarly, in 2009, the European Union adopted a Directive obligating Member States to
ensure that providers of broadband communications notify their respective national regulatory authorities
of any breach of security or loss of integrity that has a significant impact on the operation of networks or
services. Member States must ensure that the providers take all appropriate steps to ensure the continuity
of services and to notify their national regulatory authority of any loss of integrity having a significant
impact on network operations or services.92 Prior to adoption of the 2009 Directive, only Finland and


89 NYPSC Comments at 6.
90 According to Japan’s Telecommunications Carriers Law Section 2, application providers have an obligation to
report when there has been service disrupted by outages impacting 30,000 people or more for two hours or more.
See http://www.soumu.go.jp/menu_seisaku/ictseisaku/net_anzen/jiko/judai.html (last visited Feb.3, 2012).
91 Masaru Fujino, Counselor, Embassy of Japan in USA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, FCC Workshop,
Transcript at 41, 44-45.
92 The European Union’s Directive states: "Member States shall ensure that undertakings providing public
communications networks take all appropriate steps to guarantee the integrity of their networks, and thus ensure the
continuity of supply of services provided over those networks.” Council Directive 2009/140, art. 13a(2), 2009 O.J.
(L 337) 37 (EC)(Directive), available at http://eur-
ex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:337:0037:01:EN:HTML (last visited Feb. 3, 2012).
“Member States shall ensure that undertaking providing public communications networks or publicly available
electronic communications services notify the competent national regulatory authority of a breach of security or loss
of integrity that has had a significant impact on the operation of networks or services.” Id. at art. 13a(3).
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Sweden had experience with this kind of reporting mechanism.93 While Member States individually may
amend national legislation, they are obligated to fulfill the objective of the 2009 EU Directive.94
46.
In short, given the long-term upward trend in VoIP subscription and use, the growing
dependence on VoIP for 9-1-1 communications, our prior experience with voluntary reporting, and the
statutory mandate that VoIP providers provide 9-1-1, we adopt mandatory outage reporting of
interconnected VoIP service, as detailed below. Further, to the extent that interconnected VoIP service
providers have affiliated and/or non-affiliated entities that maintain or provide communications networks
or services used by the provider in offering such communications, these obligations apply equally to these
entities.
47.
The rules adopted today modify significantly the proposal in the NPRM, in part in
response to providers’ concerns regarding the costs and burdens associated with reporting significant
outages. Specifically, in the NPRM, we proposed to extend Part 4 to broadband Internet service providers
as well as interconnected VoIP providers. In addition, we proposed to require reporting as outages both
loss of service/connectivity as well as situations where, though service is technically being provided,
packet loss, latency or jitter were experienced at a level that effectively prevented communication.95
48.
We are not acting at this time on the extension of Part 4 rules to broadband Internet
service providers or to outages based on performance degradation, both of which were sharply opposed
by industry on several bases, but especially based on the expected costs to implement these proposals.
The rules we adopt today to extend outage reporting to interconnected VoIP services received broad
support in the record, and no commenter has argued that this scaled-back, modified extension of outage
reporting would be unduly burdensome. We believe that the reporting obligation we impose today will
allow us to fulfill our own obligations and to adequately monitor providers’ compliance with the
obligations. To the extent our predictive judgment proves incorrect, the Commission may revisit this
conclusion in the future.
49.
Expected data collection costs. The record in this proceeding reflects that the additional
costs of compliance with our data collection requirement would be minor and significantly outweighed by
the benefits. We require the reporting only of significant outages where customers lose service and/or
connectivity and, therefore, the ability to access 9-1-1 services. Since every interconnected VoIP service
provider has a competitive interest in providing reasonable network reliability to satisfy their customers, it
is reasonable to conclude that every such provider is already tracking this sort of information in some
manner.96 We agree with the comments of the NASUCA and the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel,
which observe, "because VoIP service providers . . . should already be collecting outage-related data in the
normal course of conducting their businesses and operations,” submitting reports to the Commission
"would not result in an undue administrative burden."97
50.
The record confirms that the configuration of VoIP service should already make this
information available. End-user VoIP terminals are IP-enabled devices that run Simple Network
Management Protocol (SNMP) with the associated Management Information Base (MIB) or can be
monitored by various keep alive mechanisms. Thus, the Network Management System (NMS) of


93 Uffe-Holst Jensen, Councellor, European Commission, FCC Workshop, Transcript at 15-16.
94 Id. at 18.
95 With respect to the costs associated with the original proposal to adopt thresholds for quality of service, Verizon
claimed it would have to spend in excess of $100,000,000 (i.e., $75,000 to upgrade every router). Verizon
Comments at 22.
96 See, e.g., Verizon Comments at 3.
97 NASUCA Comments at 11.
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interconnected VoIP providers is able to auto-poll or execute a manual poll of a portion or all of its VoIP-
enabled devices to see if they have connectivity. Thus, interconnected VoIP service providers have the
ability to monitor their end-user devices to determine if connectivity to those devices has been lost.98 The
inability of a VoIP-enabled device to connect with its call management system (SIP proxy, Call Manager,
etc.) prevents the end-user VoIP-enabled device from making a call, whether or not the end-user device
has IP connectivity. This call management system is similar to SS7, where a similar failure would also
prevent voice service. These types of failures, if large enough, would most certainly generate a “trouble
ticket” or, for smaller incidents, register on similar systems that track outages and customer technical
issues. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that interconnected VoIP service providers currently have
the ability to monitor VoIP-enabled end-user devices for connectivity.99 No more is required to satisfy
the data collection obligation established here.
51.
Indeed, the record reflects that the costs involved in determining whether customers are
completely out of service do not impose an undue burden. AT&T suggests that if the Commission
extends outage reporting to interconnected VoIP service providers, it should adopt a simple reporting
threshold, such as lack of service and/or connectivity.100 Similarly, Vonage maintains that if the
Commission adopts interconnected VoIP service outage reporting, it should require only reporting of
“actual loss of communications due to a failure on the provider’s own network. . . [because it] . . . would
avoid the heavy burden . . . while also conserving scarce resources.”101
52.
Not only do the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the American Cable
Association, and the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association agree that the approach taken
today is substantially less burdensome than the one proposed in the NPRM,102 but a wide array of


98 At the FCC Workshop, Mark Adams commented: “So, at a basic level, we obviously do device level monitoring,
and based on the types of devices, we know generally -- not always, but generally -- is it completely service
affecting, or is it going to result in some kind of degradation. So we do device level monitoring. We monitor our
end points for on or off status right through the switches, and through our cable modems.” Mark Adams, Executive
Director, Technology Operations, Cox Communications, FCC Workshop, Transcript at 106.
99 See, e.g., http://www.juniper.net/us/en/local/pdf/app-notes/3500145-en.pdf (last visited Feb. 3, 2012). These
materials from Juniper Networks on “Real-Time Performance Monitoring on Juniper Network Devices” describe
features available in this major vendor’s routing and switching platforms utilized by interconnected VoIP service
providers that allow the service providers to determine if connectivity exists to the end-user VoIP-enabled devices.
100 AT&T proposes the following requirement: “All interconnected VoIP providers shall submit electronically a
Final Report within 30 days of discovering that they have experienced on any facilities that they own, operate,
lease, or otherwise utilize, an outage of at least 120 minutes duration: (1) of a non-redundant VoIP network
element; (2) that potentially isolates subscribers’ service for at least 900,000 user minutes; or (3) potentially
affects a 911 special facility (as defined in paragraph (e) of Section 4.5).” AT&T Reply Comments at 8-9; see
also
ATIS Comments at 13; Century Link Comments at 13.
101 Vonage Comments at 8.
102 See Ex Parte Notice Letter, dated Dec. 16, 2011, from Steven F. Morris, Vice President, NCTA, to Marlene H.
Dortch, Secretary, Federal Communications Commission (FCC), at 1 (giving tacit support for extending Part 4
requirements to interconnected VoIP services only, because such an approach would provide the Commission with
valuable outage data, but would be far less burdensome and less expensive than the proposal in the NPRM) (filed
Dec. 16, 2011); and see also Ex Parte Notice Letter, dated Dec. 9, 2011, from Barbara Esbin, Counsel, ACA, to
Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, at 3 (noting that limiting Part 4 requirements to interconnected VoIP providers
undergoing “hard-down” service outages, providing additional time to make the required outage notifications to the
Commission, and eliminating the need to file a detailed Initial Report would be a more reasonable and less
burdensome approach to achieving the Commission’s stated goals than the requirements proposed in the NPRM)
(filed Dec. 12, 2011); and see also Ex Parte Notice Letter, dated Dec. 19, 2011, from Jill Canfield, Director, Legal
& Industry, National Telecommunications Cooperative Association, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, at 1-2
(indicating that limiting the rules to “hard downs” affecting interconnected VoIP providers would be substantially
(continued….)
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commenters, including AT&T, Comcast, the Edison Electric Institute, and CTIA – The Wireless
Association – submit that the type of outage reporting requirement we are adopting today is either
reasonable, not unduly burdensome, or could be applied so as not to be unduly burdensome.103 Even
small providers do not assess our outage reporting requirement to be a burden. OPASTCO states that
“small ILECs have functioned under Part 4 rules for a number of years without significant impacts on
their operations” and, therefore, that extending Part 4 requirements to interconnected VoIP providers
“should not prove to be unduly burdensome.” 104 US Telecom urges that if the Commission adopts
outage requirements, that such requirements should be limited to a complete loss of interconnected VoIP
service, and that such limits could contribute to a “more reasonable and less costly approach in achieving
the Commission’s stated goals”105 We do just that.
53.
As interconnected VoIP service providers are driven by business reasons to monitor for
service outages, it follows that tracking such information under our rules should not be unduly
burdensome. It is significant that not one commenter has stated that it would have to install any additional
equipment into its network to detect when a large number of VoIP customers are out of service. We find
that mandatory reporting of significant outages is minimally intrusive and fully justified by the benefits of
ensuring compliance with statutory 9-1-1 statutory obligations and benefits to public safety through
robust 9-1-1 communications that we expect to result from our analysis and use of the reports.
54.
Expected data reporting costs. Because service providers already have technical and
competitive business reasons to routinely collect outage information, the costs of compliance with a
reporting requirement are essentially those of identifying reportable outages, then electronically
(Continued from previous page)


less burdensome and appears reasonable and appropriate) (filed Dec. 19, 2011).
103 See also Ex Parte Notice Letter, dated Nov. 23, 2011, from Joseph Marx, AT&T, et al., to Marlene H. Dortch,
Secretary, FCC, at 2 (suggesting that the rules could be applied without undue burden to interconnected VoIP
providers, provided such outage reporting apply only to events affecting a 9-1-1 facility or involving a complete loss
of service that has an actual impact on customers’ ability to reach emergency services) (filed Nov. 23, 2011); see
also Ex Parte
Notice Letter, dated Nov. 18, 2011, from Mary McManus, Comcast Corporation (Comcast), to
Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, at 1 (indicating that Comcast generally supports [and would not find unduly
burdensome] extending existing Part 4 network outage reporting obligations to interconnected VoIP providers in
light of the consumer transition from traditional telephone services to VoIP services) (filed Nov. 18, 2011); see also
Ex Parte
Notice Letter, dated Nov. 4, 2011, from David K. Owen, Executive Vice President, Edison Electric
Institute, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, at 3 (indicating that rules that account for the unique architectural
characteristics of VoIP technologies will promote reliable data reporting upon which electric utilities and other CII
can rely, without imposing an onerous burden on commercial service providers) (filed Nov. 4, 2011); and see also
Ex Parte
Notice Letter, dated Dec. 20, 2011, from Brian M. Josef, CTIA, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, at
1-2 (indicating that applying the rules to only interconnected VoIP providers that have endured a “hard down”
outage appears relatively less burdensome when compared to the rules proposed in the NPRM) (filed Dec. 21, 2011).
104 Ex Parte Notice Letter, dated Dec. 7, 2011, from Stephen Pastorkovich, Business Development Director/Senior
Policy Analyst, Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies
(OPASTCO), to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC (filed Dec. 7, 2011).
105 Ex Parte Notice Letter, dated Dec. 7, 2011, from Glenn T. Reynolds, USTA, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary,
FCC (filed Dec. 13, 2011). But see Ex Parte Notice Letter, dated Nov. 18, 2011, from Nneka Ezenwa, Executive
Director, Verizon, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, at 1 (opposing extension of the outage reporting
requirements to interconnected VoIP providers as redundant, costly, and burdensome) (filed Nov. 22, 2011); see
also Ex Parte
Notice Letter, dated Nov. 21, 2011 from Brian J. Raymond, Director, Technology Policy, National
Association of Manufacturers, to Chairman Genachowski and Commissioners Copps, McDowell, and Clyburn, at 1
(opposing extension of Part 4 to interconnected VoIP providers as a additional regulatory burden) (filed Nov. 22,
2011).
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reformatting and uploading that information into NORS.106 Many of the interconnected VoIP customers
are served by providers that already have years of experience filing outage reports in NORS with respect
to other services.107 For those interconnected VoIP service providers for which NORS will be new, there
will be an additional learning curve. Few parties resist reporting the complete loss of interconnected
VoIP service and/or connectivity based on the costs involved in reporting the data.108 Starting with
information in the record from parties with experience filing in NORS and extrapolating that to the total
cost that industry will bear to start reporting significant interconnected VoIP outages in NORS, we
estimate that industry-wide the total operating cost for reporting on interconnected VoIP outages and
administering outage reporting programs likely is less than $1 million in the first year109 and less than
$500,000 per year thereafter for all the providers who will report.110
55.
Comparison of benefits and costs. In arriving at our decision today, we considered
feasible alternatives. We evaluated the cost effectiveness of our adopted approach against a less stringent
option (i.e., collecting no additional outage information) as well as several more stringent options (i.e,
collecting several types of performance degradation data in addition to collecting data on complete
outages). We also considered other mechanisms, such as certification (by which, for example, we
monitor compliance with statutory obligations regarding Customer Proprietary Network Information),111
complaint-driven mechanisms, and the imposition of performance standards.


106 For business reasons, providers would naturally want to know if customers are experiencing any major problem
with service continuity. There are no commenters who have said that they do not already have the capability of
determining whether their customers have experienced significant, complete, “hard-down” outages.
107 For example, Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse interconnected VoIP customers are served by Verizon and
AT&T respectively, both companies having years of experience filing outage reports in NORS.
108 See supra note 103 and accompanying text.
109 Commission staff estimate first-year costs to include one-time training costs of $416,000 to train approximately
300 new reporting entities (i.e., 5 employees * 100 large service providers * 4 hours * $80/hour = $160,000 and 2
employees * 200 small service providers * 8 hours * $80/hrs = $256,000 for a total of $416,000 in first-year training
costs) in addition to the annual cost to report outages and administer the outage reporting program. According to
data received on Form 477, there are 466 companies providing interconnected VoIP service. Of those companies,
staff estimates that at least one-third are already under obligation to report outages of legacy services under the
existing Part 4 rules, and that therefore, approximately 300 providers of interconnected VoIP service will now be
obligated to report outages that meet the thresholds of the new rule. Based on years of experience coordinating with
reporting entities, Commission staff estimates that the largest companies train an average of five staff on outage
reporting, and that smaller companies train up to two. In terms of the amount of training necessary, staff estimates
that four hours of training will be required for staff in those companies that are already reporting outages of legacy
services, and twice that amount will be required for companies that are new to outage reporting. Labor costs were
assumed to be $80 per hour. As discussed in note 110, infra, the anticipated reporting costs are $450,000.
Therefore, the anticipated first-year costs are $416,000 plus $450,000, or approximately $866,000.
110 Commission staff estimates the annual outage reporting costs to be $450,000 (i.e., $300 per report * 1,500
additional reports). Underlying this calculation is the comment of ATIS that one carrier has indicated its average
labor costs associated solely with the preparation of outage reports is approximately $300 per report. See ATIS
Comments at 7, n.9. With respect to the number of expected additional reports, staff extrapolated from several years
of outage reporting data regarding wireline service outages (which are functionally equivalent to outages of
interconnected VoIP services) and estimates that up to 1,500 additional outage reports per year might be filed for the
entire interconnected VoIP industry. Thus, 1,500 reports * $300/report equals $450,000 annual cost for outage
reporting.
111 See 47 C.F.R. § 64.2009(e); Implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996: Telecommunications
Carriers’ Use of Customer Proprietary Network Information and Other Customer Information; IP-Enabled Services,
Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, CC Docket. No. 96-115, WC Docket. No. 04-36, 22
(continued….)
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56.
Our approach captures most of the expected benefits while avoiding the much larger
costs associated with more intrusive options. Our approach balances (a) the need for outage information
on interconnected VoIP services that facilitates improved E9-1-1 and critical communications reliability
with (b) the need to minimize the associated costs and burdens imposed on this growing segment of the
communications industry. Further, the Nation and consumers will benefit from increased reliability of
interconnected VoIP service, specifically with respect to 9-1-1 service by bringing interconnected VoIP
services within the framework the Commission has established for collaborating with industry to bring
about network improvements through voluntary applications of best practices. Even a modest
improvement in the reliability of 9-1-1 services potentially represents lives saved. Based on the record,
our analysis concluded the net benefits will be greater with the approach we are adopting. With respect to
the less stringent option, our adopted approach provides all the benefits of increased reliability at a
nominal cost estimated to be less than $1 million industrywide. With respect to the more stringent option,
our approach captures most of the expected benefits while avoiding the much larger costs associated with
those options.
57.
While some commenters urge a period of transition before any mandatory outage
reporting requirements go into effect,112 we find any significant delay unjustified in light of the fact that
providers already monitor this type of activity in the ordinary course of their business and that the costs of
electronically reporting related outages will not be substantial. Also, the vast majority of interconnected
VoIP services are provided by an entity that also provides legacy services and, therefore, has years of
experience filing in NORS.113 Finally, as our ultimate approach is much more circumscribed than the one
proposed in the NPRM,114 implementing the required reporting will be far less complicated. A short
interval is necessary, however, to ensure that NORS updates are completed to receive these new reports
and PSHSB has an opportunity to present the updates to reporting providers and resolve questions.
Therefore, we will make the mandatory reporting requirement effective 90 days after the Office of
Management and Budget approves the information collection and will notify providers of the exact date
by public notice as soon as possible after we receive the approval from OMB.

C.

Legal Authority to Require Reporting of Outages of Interconnection VoIP Service

58.
In the NPRM, we requested comment on the Commission’s legal authority to extend the
Part 4 outage reporting rules to interconnected VoIP service providers.115 We conclude that the
Commission has sufficient legal authority to require the reporting of outages of interconnected VoIP
service.
59.
Comments. Some commenters originally expressed harsh opposition to the requirements
proposed in the NPRM: three industry commenters argue that the Commission lacks authority to take the
actions proposed in the NPRM with regard to interconnected VoIP.116 Others argue that the
Commission’s authority is either unclear or questionable.117 Several parties maintain that the link between
the obligation to ensure 9-1-1 compliance by VoIP service providers and the imposition of outage reporting
(Continued from previous page)


FCC Rcd 6927 ¶¶ 51-53, 54 (2007) (extending Customer Proprietary Network Information requirements to
interconnected VoIP service providers and adopting annual certification requirement).
112 See, e.g., TIA Comments at 5; TIA Reply Comments at 5.
113 See supra note 107 and accompanying text.
114 NPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 7186 ¶ 49.
115 Id. at 7192-93 67-71.
116 AT&T Comments at 6; CTIA Comments at 12-16; Verizon Comments at 25-28.
117 ACA Comments at 1, 3-4; TIA Comments at 3-4. Like TIA, ATIS believes the issue of the Commission’s
authority needs to be resolved before we take any action. See ATIS Comments at 9.
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requirements on them is too tenuous to support any assertion of direct or ancillary jurisdiction.118 Others suggest,
however, that the Commission has some authority,119 or even that our authority here is “unambiguous.”120 In more
recent ex parte filings, many providers focus their legal objections on NPRM proposals that this Order
does not adopt. For instance, US Telecom continues to challenge the Commission’s authority to impose
outage reporting requirements for broadband services, but urges the Commission to “ensure that any
reporting requirements that might be adopted are closely aligned with the Commission’s stated public
policy goal of ensuring that consumers have access to emergency services. In order to accomplish this
goal, the Commission should limit any reporting obligations to outages affecting a company’s own 911
facility or involving a complete loss of its interconnected VoIP service that has an actual impact on
customers’ ability to reach emergency services.”121 Similarly, a group of providers jointly urges that
“[w]ith respect to interconnected VoIP services . . . any outage reporting apply only to events affecting a
911 facility or involving a complete loss of service that has an actual impact on customers’ ability to
reach emergency services.”122
60.
Discussion. We focus our analysis here on our authority to impose outage reporting
requirements on interconnected VoIP, and not on other actions that were proposed in the NPRM but are
not adopting here. We are not persuaded by arguments that the Commission lacks authority to extend our
outage reporting requirements to interconnected VoIP service. Consistent with our mission in section 1 to
“promote[e] safety of life and property,”123 section 615a-1 of the Communications Act clearly imposes a
“duty” on “each IP-enabled voice service [interconnected VoIP] provider to provide 9-1-1 service and
enhanced 9-1-1 service to its subscribers in accordance with the requirements of the Federal
Communications Commission.”124 Further, section 615a-1(c) generally directs the Commission to issue


118 See, e.g., Comcast Comments at 7-8; CTIA Comments at 12-16; Verizon Comments at 35-36.
119 See CenturyLink Comments at 25 (“The Commission's statutory responsibility to ensure access to 9-1-1 services
by subscribers to IP-enabled voice services likely provides it with the authority to adopt outage reporting
requirements for interconnected VoIP service providers that are reasonable, directly related and limited to 9-1-1
service connectivity for interconnected VoIP subscribers.”); Comcast Comments at 2 (“Comcast supports the
Commission’s efforts to extend reporting requirements to [interconnected VoIP] providers.”); see XO Comments at
9 (“XO agrees that the Commission has sufficient ancillary jurisdiction to require providers of interconnected VoIP
services to report outages of their mandatory 9-1-1 services.”).
120 See NASUCA Comments at 9; NASUCA Reply Comments at 14.
121 See Ex Parte Notification Letter dated Feb. 1, 2012, from Glenn Reynolds, USTA, to Marlene Dortch, Secretary,
FCC (filed Feb. 1, 2012); see also Ex Parte Notification Letter, dated Feb. 2, 2012, from Brian M. Josef, Assistant
Vice President—Regulatory Affairs, CTIA, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC (filed Feb. 2, 2012) (referencing
the “reasonableness” of “reporting obligations in the event of a full, or ‘hard outage,’ occurring to interconnected
VoIP service,” relative to broader proposals in the NPRM); Ex Parte Notification Letter dated Nov.14, 2011, from
Barbara Esbin, Cinnamon Mueller for ACA, et al. to James Arden Barnett, Jr., Rear Admiral (Ret.), Chief, Public
Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, FCC (filed Nov. 14, 2011) (urging the Commission “to explore less
burdensome alternatives” to the NPRM proposals and to “develop a set of outage reporting criteria that is designed
to provide meaningful information about actual service disruptions that affect access to emergency services”).
122 Ex Parte Notification Letter, dated Nov. 23, 2011, from Joseph Marx, AT&T; Melissa Newman, CenturyLink;
Kathy Zachem, Comcast; Trey Forgety, NENA; Kathy Grillo, Verizon; and Brendan Kasper, Vonage, to Marlene
Dortch, Secretary, FCC (filed Nov. 23, 2011).
123 47 U.S.C. § 151.
124 47 U.S.C. § 615a-1(a). The term “IP-enabled voice service” means “interconnected VoIP service” as defined in
section 9.3 of our rules. Id. § 615b (8).
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regulations implementing the statute.125 Section 615a-1(c) thus grants the Commission authority to
require network outage reporting with respect to interconnected VoIP services as provided herein.
61.
In addition, the Communications Act grants the Commission broad authority to take
necessary steps to implement the Act’s mandates, and thus provides concurrent sources of authority for
our actions to require network outage reporting. Sections 4(i) and 303(r) generally authorize the
Commission to take any actions “as may be necessary” to ensure that interconnected VoIP providers
fulfill their statutory 9-1-1 and E9-1-1 duties in section 615a-1.126 As explained above,127 network outage
reporting for interconnected VoIP providers is one of the less intrusive means by which the Commission
may monitor compliance with the statutory obligation to provide 9-1-1 and E9-1-1 service and identify
and work to eliminate barriers to that compliance. Similarly, we find authority for mandatory reporting in
section 403, which authorizes the Commission to launch inquiries to resolve compliance matters and
other questions regarding the provisions of the Communications Act.128 With regard to affiliates of
common carriers –-- the subscribers of which represent an increasing share of all residential
interconnected VoIP subscribers, currently over ten percent129 the Commission also is authorized to


125 See 47 U.S.C. § 615a-1(c)(1) (requiring that “[t]he Commission—(1) within 90 days after July 23, 2008 issue
regulations implementing [the NET 911 A]ct” and providing a non-exhaustive list of matters to address therein).
Our actions here are not time-barred by the statutory deadline in Section 615a-1(c). See Section 615a-1(c)(3)
(authorizing the Commission to “modify such regulations [provided for in section 615a-1(c)(1)] from time to time,
as necessitated by changes in the market or technology, to ensure the ability of an IP-enabled voice service providers
to comply with its obligation under section [615a-1](a) . . . .”); see also Connect America Fund: A National
Broadband Plan for our Future: Establishing Just and Reasonable Rates for Local Exchange Carriers; High-Cost
Universal Service Support; Developing a Unified INterCarrier Compensation Regime; Federal-State Joint Board on
Universal Service; LifeLine and LinkUp; Universal Service Reform—Mobility Fund,
WT Docket No. 10-208,
Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 54 Comm. Reg. (P&F) 637,
¶ 767 n.1381 (rel. Nov. 18, 2011) (rejecting arguments that section 251(d)(1) deadline for Commission rulemaking
implementing section 251 provisos barred subsequent Commission action); see also Gottlieb v. Pena, 41 F.3d 730,
733 (D.C. Cir. 1994) (even when an agency misses a statutory deadline, it retains jurisdiction over the matter unless
Congress has set forth consequences for its failure to act, citing Brock v. Pierce County, 476 U.S. 253 (1986)).
126 See 47 U.S.C. § 154(i) (authorizing the Commission to “perform any and all acts, make such rules and regulations,
and issue such orders, not inconsistent with this Act, as may be necessary in the execution of its functions”); 47
U.S.C. § 303(r) (the Commission shall “[m]ake such rules and regulations and prescribe such restrictions and
conditions, not inconsistent with law, as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act …”).
127 See supra para. 53.
128 See 47 U.S.C. § 403 (“The Commission shall have full authority and power at any time to institute an inquiry, on
its own motion, in any case and as to any matter or thing concerning which complaint is authorized to be made, to or
before the Commission by any provision of this chapter, or concerning which any question may arise under any of
the provisions of this chapter, or relating to the enforcement of any of the provisions of this chapter.”).
129 Approximately 7 percent of residential interconnected VoIP subscriptions were attributable to incumbent local
exchange carriers (ILECs) in June 2010, and the share had increased to approximately 9 percent by December 2010.
See March 2011 Local Competition Report, Figure 4 (1.7M/25.2M). See also October 2011 Local Competition
Report
, Figure 4 (2.5M/27.1M). Information from corporate earnings reports suggests that the share continues to
increase. See http://www22.verizon.com/idc/groups/public/documents/adacct/2011_4q_quarterly_bulletin.pdf (last
visited Jan. 24, 2012), Wireline – Selected Operating Statistics showing Verizon FiOS Digital Voice residence
connections totaled 1.884M in 4Q2011. See also
http://www.att.com/Investor/Financial/Earning_Info/docs/4Q_11_IB_FINAL.pdf (last visited Feb. 3, 2012),
Consumer Revenue Connections, note 2 showing AT&T U-verse consumer VoIP connections totaled 2.278M as of
December 31, 2011. Therefore, Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse reported a combined total of 4.162M residential
VoIP subscribers at year-end 2011, as compared to 3.218M six months earlier (+29 percent in six months). See
http://www22.verizon.com/idc/groups/public/documents/adacct/2011_q2_qb.pdf (last visited Feb. 3, 2012),
Wireline – Selected Operating Statistics. See also
(continued….)
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impose outage reporting requirements under section 218, which grants the Commission broad
investigatory powers to inquire into the management of the business, which would include, inter alia,
VoIP service providers that are affiliates of common carriers subject to the Act.130 Finally, section 4(o)
directs the Commission to study of all phases of a problem for the purpose of effective communications in
connection with safety of life or property.131 As explained above,132 we do just that when we collect and
examine outage reports. Hence, the Commission is on solid statutory ground to adopt the subject
reporting rules, in order to implement the requirements of section 615a-1 and carry out our duties under
section 4(o) and are supported by our authority under sections 218 and 403.133
62.
We disagree with several commenters alternative assessments of the relationship between
Section 615a-1 and our authority. AT&T, for instance, argues that section 615a-1 is not an express grant
of authority to the Commission to order the regulation of VoIP service providers, but rather the
Commission’s role under that provision is to “pave the way” for VoIP service providers to provide 9-1-1
and E9-1-1 service by adopting regulations applicable to the owners and controllers of 9-1-1 facilities,
who are ILECs, CLECs, and third-party providers, to make that possible.134 AT&T points to the context
of the enactment of Section 615a-1 as indicative of the limited nature of its scope.135 Similarly, CTIA
argues that “[i]t is a strain” to impose outage reporting on VoIP service providers because “the scope of
615a-1 contemplates only the ‘duty of each IP-enabled voice service provider to provide 9-1-1 service
and enhanced 9-1-1 service to its subscribers’” and section 615a-1(e)(1) “specifically limits the
Commission’s authority to ‘require or impose a specific technology or technological standard.’”136
63.
AT&T’s and CTIA’s arguments are inconsistent with the express terms of the statute,
which covers VoIP service providers and plainly is not limited to the owners and controllers of trunks and
routers. Among the Commission rules that section 615a-1 codified are rules directly applicable to VoIP
service providers. These rules impose detailed obligations on the manner in which interconnected VoIP
providers provide E9-1-1. For instance, section 9.5(d) requires interconnected VoIP service providers to
obtain from their customers the registered location of the end user, and to provide end users one or more
methods of updating their registered location. Section 9.5(e) imposed on interconnected VoIP service
providers notification and recordkeeping requirements concerning the limitations of the customer’s
E9-1-1 service. These requirements are now codified in the Communications Act. Although AT&T is
(Continued from previous page)


http://www.att.com/Investor/Financial/Earning_Info/docs/2Q_11_IB_FINAL.pdf (last visited Feb. 3, 2012),
Consumer Revenue Connections, note 5.
130 See 47 U.S.C. § 218 (“The Commission may inquire into the management of the business of all carriers subject to
this chapter, and shall keep itself informed as to the manner and method in which the same is conducted and as to
technical developments and improvements in wire and radio communication and radio transmission of energy to the
end that the benefits of new inventions and developments may be made available to the people of the United States.
The Commission may obtain from such carriers and from persons directly or indirectly controlling or controlled by,
or under direct or indirect common control with, such carriers full and complete information necessary to enable the
Commission to perform the duties and carry out the objects for which it was created.”).
131 Section 154(o) of the Act states: “For the purpose of obtaining maximum effectiveness from the use of radio and
wire communications in connection with safety of life and property, the Commission shall investigate and study all
phases of the problem and the best methods of obtaining the cooperation and coordination of these systems.” Id.
§ 154(o).
132 See supra para. 32.
133 47 U.S.C. § 615a-1(c).
134 AT&T Comments at 2-3.
135 Id.
136 CTIA Comments at 12.
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correct insofar as section 615a-1 is intended to “fill” a “missing piece of the VoIP 9-1-1 Service
provisioning puzzle,” the reason is not, as AT&T states, that the Commission does not have authority
over interconnected VoIP service providers and does not need to regulate them directly to ensure that they
provide E9-1-1 service. Rather, Congress recognized that the Commission does have this authority over
interconnected VoIP service providers and already had used it, so that most of the additional rules needed
at the time of section 615a-1’s enactment would pertain to the “owners and controllers of routers and
trunks.”137
64.
Further, AT&T’s and CTIA’s arguments are inconsistent with the Commission’s
previous views on the scope of section 615a-1. Following enactment of the NET 911 Improvement Act,
the Commission in implementing section 615a-1 adopted rules in the NET 911 Report and Order, which
requires interconnected VoIP service providers to comply with all applicable industry network security
standards to the same extent as traditional telecommunications carriers when accessing capabilities
traditionally used by carriers.138 This standard is comprehensive and not limited to network security
standards that are ostensibly E9-1-1-related, in recognition that “the security of the nation’s emergency
services network depends on many interlocking measures that collectively preserve the integrity of the
9-1-1 system from unauthorized access and use.”139
65.
With respect to CTIA’s concern about technological neutrality expressed in section 615a-
1(e)(1) limitation, nothing in this Report and Order violates that limitation. Section 615a-1(e)(1) states
that “[n]othing in [section 615a-1] shall be construed to permit the Commission to issue regulations that
require or impose a specific technology or technological standard.”140 The outage reporting requirement
and threshold in this Report and Order do not favor or disfavor any particular technology. To the
contrary, our action today arguably corrects an imbalance that existed by requiring some providers of
voice and 9-1-1 service to report outages, but not others. Moreover, the rules adopted today treat
interconnected VoIP service providers virtually identically to the way Part 4 current defines “outage,”141
sets the threshold that triggers reporting of an outage,142 and the outage reporting process.143 Accordingly,
we find AT&T and CTIA’s views unpersuasive.


137 See H.R. Rep. 110-442 at 1012-13 (at Background and Need for Legislation, “H.R. 3403 does not reverse the
Commission’s actions to date. The Commission, however, only imposed E-911 requirements on providers of VoIP
service that today service as a substitute for traditional wireline telephone service. It did not require entities—
typically LECs—that control certain key facilities and infrastructure that are needed to complete 911 and ED-911
calls to give VoIP providers access to those facilities and that infrastructure. As a result, VoIP service providers
entered into commercial arrangements with LECs or third parties to gain access to 911 components. The
Commission also concluded that it lacked authority to extend the liability protections afforded to wireline and
wireless 911 calls to VoIP 911 calls. H.R. 3403 would resolve these issues….”), 1018 (at Section-by-Section
Analysis of the Legislation, “New subsection [615a-1)(1a)] is not intended to reverse the Commission’s actions to
date concerning the duty of VoIP service providers to provide 911 and E-911 services.
138 Implementation of the NET 911 Improvement Act of 2008, WC Docket 08-171, Report and Order, 23 FCC Rcd
15884, 15901 ¶ 38 (2008).
139 Id.

140 47 U.S.C. § 615a-1(e)(1). See H.R. 110-442 at 1020 (at “Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation”) “New
subsection [615a-1](e) would provide that nothing in H.R. 3403 be construed to permit the Commission to require or
impose a specific technology or technology standard. The Commission may, however, adopt technology-neutral,
performance-based standards or requirements”.
141 See 47 C.F.R. § 4.5(a).
142 See 47 C.F.R. § 4.9.
143 See 47 C.F.R. § 4.11.
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66.
In addition, the Commission has ancillary authority to ensure both that interconnected
VoIP providers fulfill their duty to provide 9-1-1 services and to address major obstacles to their doing so,
such as failures in underlying communications networks.144 We find unpersuasive the arguments of
several commenters that take the view that the Commission has no ancillary authority over VoIP service
providers. CTIA argues that “the proposed rules sweep too broadly to be linked to the expressly
delegated responsibility to provide 9-1-1 services, and the current record evidence does not begin to
demonstrate that the proposed rules here are needed, considering the unique nature of IP networks.”145
AT&T similarly argues that the NPRM fails to make the factual case for supporting the Commission’s
ancillary authority to adopt the proposed outage requirements, contending that:
[T]he fact that networks are disrupted does not translate into an
inability to offer 911 service. In brief, networks are temporarily disrupted,
the disruption is corrected, and service continues. There is nothing in
extending the Part 4 rules that will change that fact. Indeed, Congress
did not expect, and the Commission cannot ensure, that networks over which
911 Services ride will never be disrupted. And the imposition of outage
reporting obligation will not of themselves [sic] effect any changes in the
way VoIP Providers provision their services, in general, or 911 Services,
in particular.146
67.
Verizon makes similar arguments that the Commission has provided no explanation
regarding how its proposed requirements would result in ensuring that VoIP providers meet their statutory
duty to provide 9-1-1 service.147 We have done so here. The relationship between network reliability and
reliable 9-1-1 service is clear; without reliable network operations, there can be no reliable 9-1-1 service.
As explained throughout this decision, reporting obligations act as a critical element to enable the
Commission to identify and evaluate lapses in the provision of 9-1-1 service in order to enable providers
to meet their obligations under the statute. Indeed, as a general matter, the Commission regularly imposes
reporting requirements on its regulatees to ensure compliance with statutory and regulatory obligations.148


144 Under the definition of ancillary authority recently stated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia Circuit, it is clear that the Commission may exercise ancillary authority when “(1) the Commission’s
general jurisdictional grant under Title I [of the Communications Act] covers the regulated subject and (2) the
regulations are reasonably ancillary to the Commission’s effective performance of its statutorily mandated
responsibilities.” Comcast Corp. v. FCC, 600 F.3d 642, 646 (D.C. Cir. 2010) (quoting Am. Lib. Ass’n v. FCC, 406
F.3d 689, 691-92 (D.C. Cir. 2005). The provision of interconnected VoIP is “communication by wire or radio”
within the general jurisdictional grant of section 2 of the Act. 47 U.S.C. § 152; see also Comcast, 600 F.3d at 646-
47; IP-Enabled Services, Report and Order, 24 FCC Rcd 6039, 6045 ¶ 10 (2009). Further, collecting outage
information from interconnected VoIP providers as adopted here is “reasonably ancillary” to ensuring that
interconnected VoIP providers are able to satisfy their 9-1-1 obligations under the Act as implemented in our Part 9
rules, and to enable the Commission to assist in improving the reliability of these mandated services. See supra
notes 125, 127, and 128 and accompanying text.
145 CTIA Comments at 14.
146 AT&T Comments at 4.
147 Verizon Comments at 34. Verizon also claims that there is a lack of evidence that interconnected VoIP service
providers experience recurring, widespread outages, and that there is evidence showing that interconnected VoIP
service providers employ protective measures to prevent outages from occurring and to minimize any impact on
customers. Id. at 34-35.
148 See, e.g., note 111 supra (noting extension of CPNI requirements to interconnected VoIP service providers, and
adoption of annual certification requirement); see also, e.g., 47 C.F.R. § 73.3615 (requiring that broadcasters
(continued….)
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And the imposition of such reporting requirements in this instance is appropriate not only to enable the
Commission to ensure that providers are complying with their legal obligations, but also to enhance the
reliability of such service industry-wide.

D.

Interconnected VoIP Service Providers – Outage Metrics and Thresholds

1.

Facilities-Based vs. Non-Facilities-Based Interconnected VoIP Services

68.
As discussed below, we conclude that the outage reporting requirements adopted herein
should apply to both facilities- and non-facilities-based interconnected VoIP services.
69.
Proposal. As the Commission has recognized, interconnected VoIP services
increasingly are viewed by consumers as a substitute for traditional telephone service.149 As of December
31, 2010, 31 percent of the more than 87 million residential telephone subscriptions were provided by
interconnected VoIP providers.150 But unlike legacy telephone service, the Commission has no
mechanism to identify outages of VoIP service that impact end users and, thus, cannot address the cause
of 9-1-1 outages relating to VoIP service. Accordingly, in the NPRM we proposed to extend our outage
reporting rules to both facilities-based and non-facilities-based interconnected VoIP service providers –
just as 9-1-1 service requirements apply to these providers.151 Both groups are subject to the E9-1-1
(Continued from previous page)


annually file Ownership Report FCC Form 323); 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.2110(n) (requiring that wireless licensees that have
been granted designated entity (DE) status annually certify that its DE status remains valid).
149 See High-Cost Universal Service Support; Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service; Lifeline and Link Up;
Universal Service Contribution Methodology; Numbering Resource Optimization; Implementation of the Local
Competition Provisions in the Telecommunications Act of 1996; Developing a Unified Intercarrier Compensation
Regime; Intercarrier Compensation for ISP-Bound Traffic; IP-Enabled Services, WC Docket No. 05-337; CC
Docket No. 96-45; WC Docket No. 03-109; WC Docket No. 06-122; CC Docket No. 99-200; CC Docket No. 96-98;
CC Docket No. 01-92; CC Docket No. 99-68; WC Docket No. 04-36, Order on Remand and Report and Order and
Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
, 24 FCC Rcd 6475, 6590 ¶ 210 n.670 (2008); see also Telephone Number
Requirements for IP-Enabled Services Providers; Local Number Portability Porting Interval and Validation
Requirements; IP-Enabled Services; Telephone Number Portability; CTIA Petitions for Declaratory Ruling on
Wireline-Wireless Porting Issues; Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis; Numbering Resource Optimization, WC
Docket No. 07-243; WC Docket No. 07-244; WC Docket No. 04-36; CC Docket No. 95-116; CC Docket No. 99-
200, Report and Order, Declaratory Ruling, Order on Remand, and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 22 FCC Rcd
19531, 19547 ¶ 28 (2007).
150 See Local Telephone Competition: Status as of December 31, 2010, Industry Analysis and Technology Division,
Wireline Competition Bureau, Federal Communications Commission (Oct. 2011), Figure 2 - Wireline Retail Local
Telephone Service Connections by Technology and Customer Type as of December 31, 2010, available at
http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2011/db1007/DOC-310264A1.pdf (last visited Feb. 3,
2012). See supra note 6 and accompanying text.
151 Facilities-based interconnected VoIP service providers own and operate the broadband access communications
infrastructure required to deliver VoIP services. They may provide retail VoIP services directly to residential and
business customers or they may provide wholesale VoIP services to other businesses, including non-facilities-based
VoIP service providers that resell VoIP service to end users. See Local Telephone Competition: Status as of
December 31, 2010
, Industry Analysis and Technology Division, Wireline Competition Bureau, Federal
Communications Commission (Oct. 2011), Figure 5 – Interconnected VoIP Subscribership by Reported Service
Features as of December 31, 2010. Approximately 15 percent of the 31.7 million total interconnected VoIP
subscriptions reported for December 2010 was sold as stand-alone service by providers that are not incumbent local
exchange carriers, including some facilities-based providers, such as cable companies and also “over the top” non-
facilities-based providers. Id. Unlike Vonage or several other non-facilities-based VoIP services, facilities-based
VoIP is not an application that is issued “over-the top” of a high-speed Internet access service purchased by a
consumer. Significantly, facilities-based VoIP customers do not need to subscribe to broadband Internet service,
and their providers do not route their respective traffic over the public Internet. Rather, the facilities-based VoIP
service is based on specifications that typically involve the use of a managed IP network. Many companies offer IP-
(continued….)
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obligations in Part 9 of the rules.
70.
Comments. Several commenters agree that, if the Commission adopts rules extending
outage reporting to interconnected VoIP services, the rules should apply equally to both facilities-based
and non-facilities-based interconnected VoIP services. For example, NASUCA and the New Jersey
Division of Rate Counsel take this position as both types of VoIP services are already subject to 9-1-1
service obligations.152 Comcast points out that other interconnected VoIP providers, whether facilities-
based or non-facilities-based, similarly hold out their services as replacements for traditional voice
services and promote the 9-1-1 capabilities of their services. Comcast maintains that, like their facilities-
based competitors, non-facilities-based providers are in the best position to determine when their services
experience an outage. Therefore, Comcast supports the Commission’s efforts to extend reporting
requirements to these services.153
71.
Some commenters argue against inclusion of non-facilities-based, interconnected VoIP
services. For example, Vonage, which provides services that ride “over the top” of the public Internet and
its end-users’ broadband connections, argues that the Commission should not require interconnected VoIP
providers to report on outages occurring on other providers’ networks (such as the public Internet and
their subscribers’ broadband services providers’ networks), because it and other similarly situated
providers have no visibility into other providers’ networks.154 TIA and MegaPath, Inc. (MegaPath)
similarly argue that non-facilities based interconnected VoIP service providers should be responsible for
reporting an “outage” only of their own service components.155 The VON Coalition states that for many
VoIP providers, infrastructure and interconnected VoIP are not inherently linked.156 Vonage uses the
example that it knows at all times the status of its own network elements. However, according to Vonage,
it cannot monitor the underlying broadband networks over which its service travels any more than it can
monitor the status of the PSTN networks to which its service connects.157
72.
Discussion. We adopt our proposal to extend the outage reporting rules to both facilities-
based and non-facilities-based interconnected VoIP service providers.158 We agree with NASUCA and
Comcast that we should extend outage reporting rules to both facilities-based and non-facilities-based
interconnected VoIP service providers, because both groups of providers are subject to the same statutory
and regulatory duties to provide E9-1-1, and subscribers of non-facilities-based interconnected VoIP
services should benefit from our work with industry to ensure robust access to emergency services just as
subscribers of facilities-based interconnected VoIP and traditional services do.
(Continued from previous page)


enabled services over these managed networks, including voice and video services that are distinct from the high-
speed Internet access service.
152 NASUCA Comments at 6.
153 Comcast Comments at 2-3. Comcast explains that “[T]he fact that over-the-top providers do not control the
underlying networks does not jeopardize their ability to detect when a subscriber’s service is down. A variety of
important components, such as applications, soft switches, and gateways, do fall within the control of the service
provider, whether over-the-top or facilities-based. When a customer of an over-the-top interconnected VoIP service
attempts to complete a call, the service provider makes routing decisions without the input, or even the knowledge,
of the underlying network operators.” Id. at 3.
154 Vonage Comments at 4.
155 MegaPath Comments at 8; TIA Comments at 6.
156 VON Coalition Comments at 1.
157 Vonage Reply Comments at 3.
158 Included are affiliated and non-affiliated entities that maintain or provide communications networks or services
used by the provider in offering such communications.
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73.
We acknowledge that there are relevant technical differences between facilities-based and
non-facilities based interconnected VoIP services. TIA and other non-facilities–based interconnected
VoIP providers state that they should only be responsible for reporting outages on service components
over which they have control, and maintain that non-facilities-based interconnected VoIP service
providers are unable to observe the inner workings of other providers’ networks.159 Because of its
inability to see into underlying broadband networks, Vonage states that it may not be technically feasible
for non-facilities-based interconnected VoIP service providers to comply with mandatory reporting of
outages of such networks.160
74.
Therefore, we require non-facilities-based VoIP service providers to report service
outages that involve facilities that they own, operate, lease, or otherwise utilize. Our intention is that non-
facilities-based VoIP providers report service outages that meet the threshold to the extent that they have
access to information on service outages affecting their customers. As both facilities- and non-facilities-
based interconnected VoIP providers are able to use NMS to determine the connectivity of their end-
devices,161 we expect that they will be able to report on the loss of service and/or connectivity to their
customers’ terminals. VoIP terminals are IP-enabled, thus, they also may be polled with Internet Control
Message Protocol (ICMP) and SNMP polls or GET/TRAP messages, keep alive mechanisms, etc. The
non-facilities VoIP providers may not be able to tell where connectivity has failed if the failure has
occurred in another provider’s network which the non-facilities-based provider uses to deliver its service,
but it can tell that its call management (SIP Proxy, Call Manager, etc.) cannot reach the end-user devices,
and thus, an outage has occurred that affects its customers. They should be able to report significant
outages where their call management systems have lost connectivity to their customers’ end-user devices.
Such situations may be coded in a manner such that the “outage cause” or other reporting parameter
indicates that it is a failure outside the control of the non-facilities-based VoIP provider. This is important
because, if a broadband data network that the non-facilities-based interconnected VoIP provider uses to
deliver its service fails, the Commission will not have any visibility that the data service failure also
resulted in the loss of non-facilities interconnected VoIP and E9-1-1 services that ride “over-the-top.”
Also, even where broadband networks provide facilities-based VoIP service, there will still be a number
of end-users that will use a non-facilities-based interconnected VoIP service instead of the broadband
service associated with the facilities-based interconnected VoIP service provider. Thus, the Commission
would not know the true loss of voice service to end-users, as it is actually facilities-based plus non-
facilities-based outages that should be counted. Thus, we will require both facilities-based and non-
facilities-based interconnected VoIP to report service outages. This type of reporting will allow the
Commission to determine the true impact and scope of the outage and allow a cross-check on significant
outage reporting at the control plane (call control) and data plane (call path – public Internet).
2.

Definition of Outage of Interconnected VoIP Service

75.
As set forth below, we conclude that the current Part 4 definition of “outage” should
apply also to outages of interconnected VoIP service.
76.
Proposal. Currently, under Part 4 of our rules, an “outage” is defined to include “a
significant degradation in the ability of an end user to establish and maintain a channel of communication


159 MegaPath Comments at 8; TIA Comments at 6; Vonage Comments at 4.
160 Vonage Reply Comments at 3.
161 At the FCC Workshop, Mark Adams stated: “So at a basic level, we obviously do device-level monitoring, and
based on the types of devices, we know generally – not always, but generally – is it completely service-affecting, or
is it going to result in some kind of degradation. So, we do device-level monitoring. We monitor our end points for
on or off status right through the switches, and through our cable modems.” Mark Adams, Executive Director,
Technology Operations, Cox Communications, FCC Workshop, Transcript at 106.
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as a result of failure or degradation in the performance of a communications provider's network.”162 Our
current rules tailor the definition of a reportable significant degradation to communications over cable,
telephony carrier tandem, satellite, SS7, wireless, or wireline facilities.163 Broadband networks operate
differently than legacy networks, so the impact of outages is likely to be different. This difference does
not appear to require a different definition of outage for reporting purposes, and in the NPRM, the
Commission proposed to apply the existing definition of outage to interconnected VoIP, tailored to the
characteristics of the broadband technologies. In the NPRM, the Commission also proposed a broad
standard of a “loss of generally-useful availability and connectivity” to represent the degradation in the
performance of a communication provider’s network and sought comment on packet loss, round-trip
latency, and jitter as appropriate metrics to trigger the outage reporting.164
77.
Comments. Many commenting parties support applying the current Part 4 definition of
an “outage” to interconnected VoIP service providers.165 Other parties raise concerns with the definition
of “outage.” CTIA is concerned about a regulatory scheme for VoIP service that would treat perceived or
actual performance degradation as a reportable outage, and argues that this would diverge from current
wireline and wireless outage reporting requirements that are based on actual loss of service to
customers.166 MegaPath states that the current outage definition is overly broad and fails to take into


162 47 C.F.R. § 4.5(a).
163 With respect to cable facilities, reporting is required when an outage of at least 30 minutes is experienced on any
facilities owned, operated, leased, or otherwise utilized that: “(1) Potentially affects at least 900,000 user minutes of
telephony service; (2) Affects at least 1,350 DS3 minutes: (3) Potentially affects any special offices and facilities. . .;
or (4) Potentially affects a 9-1-1 special facility . . . .” 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(a). With respect to tandem switches (or their
equivalents) and interoffice facilities used in the provision of interexchange or local exchange communications,
reporting is required when an outage is experienced for at least 30 minutes in which at least 90,000 calls are blocked
or at least 1,350 DS3-minutes are lost. If technically feasible, these providers must use real-time blocked calls to
determine whether criteria for reporting are met. 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(b). With respect to satellite facilities, reporting is
required when an outage of at least 30 minutes is experienced on facilities owned, operated, leased, or otherwise
utilized that manifests itself as a failure of any of the following key system elements: One or more satellite
transponders, satellite beams, inter-satellite links, or entire satellites. In the case of Mobile Satellite Service, with
limited exception, the failure of any gateway earth station is also a reportable outage. 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(c)(1). All
satellite communications providers must report any outages of at least 30 minutes on any facilities owned, operated,
leased, or otherwise utilized that manifests itself as: “(i) A loss of complete accessibility to at least one satellite or
transponder; (ii) A loss of a satellite communications link that potentially affects at least 900,000 user-minutes . . . ;
(iii) Potentially affecting any special offices and facilities . . . other than airports; or (iv) Potentially affecting a 9-1-
1 special facility . . . .” 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(c)(2). With respect to SS7 facilities, reporting is required when an outage of
at least 30 minutes is experienced on facilities owned, operated, leased, or otherwise utilized that manifests “as the
generation of at least 90,000 blocked calls based on real-time traffic data or at least 30,000 lost calls based on
historic carried loads.” 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(d). With respect to wireless facilities, reporting is required when an outage
of at least 30 minutes is experienced on facilities owned, operated, leased, or otherwise utilized: “(1) Of a Mobile
Switching Center (MSC) (2) That potentially affects at least 900,000 user minutes of either telephony and associated
data (2nd generation or lower) service or paging service; (3) That affects at least 1,350 DS3 minutes; (4) That
potentially affects any special offices and facilities . . . other than airports through direct service facility
agreements; or (5) That potentially affects a 9-1-1 special facility . . . .” 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(e). With respect to wireline
facilities, reporting is required when an outage of at least 30 minutes is experienced on facilities owned, operated,
leased, or otherwise utilized: “(1) Potentially affects at least 900,000 user minutes of either telephony or paging; (2)
Affects at least 1,350 DS3 minutes; (3) Potentially affects any special offices and facilities . . . ; or (4) Potentially
affects a 9-1-1 special facility . . . .” 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(f).
164 NPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 7178-79 ¶ 27.
165 See, e.g., XO Comments at 10.
166 CTIA Comments at 8.
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account the unique characteristics of the present broadband network. MegaPath further argues that
“[R]equiring a report whenever the backbone experiences some service degradation is overly inclusive
and will not yield meaningful data or lead to discussions of the root causes for an outage.”167
78.
CenturyLink maintains that if the Commission extends outage reporting requirements to
interconnected VoIP service providers, the definition of an interconnected VoIP outage must be limited to
the complete loss of service or connectivity.168 Similarly, TIA asserts that outage thresholds should be set
at a significant loss of functionality for primary uses as opposed to temporary degradations in service that
still allow for basic uses.169
79.
Several commenting parties do not support the concept of “loss of generally-useful
availability or connectivity” in differentiating among outages. For example, MetroPCS states that
because of how the Internet is designed, the cause of service degradations may not be clearly identifiable,
particularly in a limited timeframe. MetroPCS argues that a broad standard of “loss of generally-useful
availability and connectivity” exacerbates the problem of precisely associating an outage with underlying
network conditions. Further, MetroPCS argues that the degradation of a real-time voice service
immediately and negatively impacts the service experienced by the user, but that a “loss of generally-
useful availability and connectivity” can mean many things, including a five-second delay, as an email is
rerouted, which may not be noticeable to the end-user.170 Similarly, Vonage argues the Commission
should not require service providers trigger outage reporting based on “loss of generally-useful
availability or connectivity.” Vonage agrees with CTIA’s arguments that such reporting is vastly
different from that required of wireline and wireless communications providers. Vonage further argues
that the measures proposed in the NPRM – packet loss, latency, and jitter – do not relate to actual outages,
but are instead measures of call quality. Vonage further argues that the collection of such quality of
service information simply will not indicate when a VoIP customer loses the ability to make an
emergency call. Therefore, Vonage contends that an outage should include only the complete loss of
ability to complete calls.171
80.
Discussion. We apply to interconnected VoIP services172 the current Part 4 definition of
an “outage” as “a significant degradation in the ability of an end user to establish and maintain a channel
of communications as a result of failure or degradation in the performance of a communications
provider's network.”173 We note, however, that the triggering criteria for a reportable “outage” for
interconnected VoIP outage reporting purposes that we adopt today excludes the concept of a “loss of
generally-useful availability and connectivity” proposed in the NPRM174 based on performance
degradations. As discussed above, we defer a decision on that issue.175 For the purposes of the rules we
adopt today, a “significant degradation” resulting in “the complete loss of service or connectivity to
customers” is a reportable outage if it meets the reporting criteria and thresholds.


167 MegaPath Comments at 8.
168 CenturyLink Comments at 6.
169 TIA Comments at 6.
170 MetroPCS Comments at 10-11.
171 Vonage Reply Comments at 6.
172 Included are affiliated and non-affiliated entities that maintain or provide communications networks or services
used by the provider in offering such communications.
173 47 C.F.R. § 4.5(a).
174 NPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 7178-79 ¶ 27.
175 Id.
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81.
Although similar arguments in favor of a more-narrow definition of an outage were
raised and rejected by the Commission in 2004 when the existing Part 4 Rules were adopted,176 we are
persuaded by the recent arguments of the parties that the proposed reporting of an interconnected VoIP
outage be based on the “the complete loss of service or connectivity to customers.” We agree with
Vonage’s rationale that triggering the reporting of an interconnected VoIP outage based on “the loss of a
user’s ability to make or receive a call,” as opposed to the “loss of generally-useful availability and
connectivity,” as measured by packet loss, latency, and jitter standards, would avoid the need to revise
[packet loss, latency, and jitter] standards as providers continue to improve performance.177
82.
Furthermore, we accept MetroPCS’s argument that determining what constitutes a “loss
of generally-useful availability and connectivity” in a broadband environment (which includes the
environment in which interconnected VoIP service operates) is considerably more complicated than in the
legacy network context. In a broadband environment, voice is a real-time application that utilizes
broadband connectivity and is more sensitive to network impairments than non-real-time applications
such as email.178 Although we believe performance degradations do affect the ability of facilities-based
and non-facilities-based interconnected VoIP service providers to establish and maintain 9-1-1 calls,
adopting a bright-line reporting criteria reduces the burden on the providers while, we expect, delivering
to us the information we need. Should the Commission determine in the future that a more nuanced
definition of “outage” is needed, the Commission can revisit the issue at a later time.
3.

Reporting Thresholds

83.
As discussed below, we conclude that the outage reporting thresholds for interconnected
VoIP service outages should be similar to the existing Part 4 wireline and wireless communications
service outage reporting thresholds. As indicated above, we address here only those outages that result
from a complete loss of service and not those that are the result of performance degradation.
84.
Proposal. Based on how interconnected VoIP service is typically configured and
provided, the NPRM proposed that a significant degradation of interconnected VoIP service exists and
must be reported when an interconnected VoIP service provider has experienced an outage or service
degradation for at least 30 minutes: (a) on any major facility (e.g., Call Agent, Session Border Controller,
Signaling Gateway, CSCF, HSS) that it owns, operates, leases, or otherwise utilizes; (b) potentially
affecting generally useful availability and connectivity of at least 900,000 user minutes (e.g., average
packet loss of greater than one percent for 30,000 users for 30 minutes); or (c) otherwise potentially
affecting special offices, or special facilities, including 9-1-1 PSAPs.179
85.
Comments. Although NASUCA comments that it is plausible that industry would be
tracking these aspects of their operations in order to compete effectively in relevant markets,180 most
industry commenters oppose the adoption of any performance degradation metric (e.g., packet loss,181


176 See 2004 Part 4 Order and FNPRM, 19 FCC Rcd at 16862 ¶ 55 n.182.
177 Vonage Comments at 4.
178 The VON Coalition states that only packet loss in the 5-7 percent range – as opposed to the proposed 1 percent
threshold - would degrade service such that VoIP service would be significantly impaired, and similarly, only
latency in the range of 250-300 ms would seriously impair service. See VON Coalition Comments at 9-10.
179 See NPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 7200, App. A, proposed rule § 4.9.
180 NASUCA Reply Comments at 30.
181 See RFC 2680 A One-way Packet Loss Metric for IP Performance Metrics (IPPM) (Sept. 1999), available at
https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/rfc2680/?include_text=1 (last visited Feb. 3, 2012).
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latency,182 and jitter183) as a triggering mechanism for a reportable outage. The parties argue the reporting
of outages should be based on actual loss of service rather than performance degradation measurements
that were proposed in the NPRM.184 AT&T, for example, states that the Commission should develop an
outage reporting threshold that incorporates some of the elements of existing wireline reporting standards
and, at the same time, eliminates unrealistic reporting deadlines and unnecessary and duplicative
reports.185 It argues that this standard is appropriate because it is consistent with what is used now for
traditional telephone service under Part 4 of the rules, which is easier to apply operationally (as many
providers are positioned to provide similar reporting today), and competitively fairer (as interconnected
VoIP service is not held to a substantially different standard than is legacy telephony service).186
86.
NENA agrees with the comments of AT&T and others who would have the Commission
cast the outage reporting requirements in terms of “actual” service interruption, rather than on
performance degradation metrics. However, NENA recognizes that some threshold of latency, speed
reductions, or jitter can create a “soft outage” condition, under which a customer still technically has
service, but cannot effectively use that service.187
87.
Other parties argue that requiring outage reports based on quality of service
measurements would greatly increase regulatory compliance burdens and expand the obligations of
interconnected VoIP service providers beyond those that apply to providers of circuit-switched telephony
under the current Part 4 Rules.188 Specifically, ACA notes the outage reporting requirements proposed in
the NPRM are likely to be disproportionately burdensome on smaller providers, particularly the obligation
to report outages affecting “special facilities.” ACA explains that under the proposed rules,189 a small
VoIP provider would have to report any outage at a “special facility” that occurs for even a very short
time. ACA states that most small operators’ networks cannot monitor whether a specific user -- whether a


182 See RFC 2681 A Round-Trip Delay Metric for IPPM (Sept. 1999), available at
https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/rfc2681/ (last visited Feb. 3, 2012).
183 See RFC 3393 IP Packet Delay Variation Metric for IPPM (Nov. 2002), available at
http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc3393 (last visited Feb. 3, 2012). See also RFC 3550 RTP – A Transport Protocol for
Real-Time Applications (Jul. 2003), available at http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3550.txt (last visited Feb. 3, 2012) for a
discussion on estimating the interarrival jitter.
184 See, e.g., ACA Comments at 1, 7-10; AT&T Comments at 23-24; ATIS Comments at 11-13; CenturyLink
Comments at 6-7; CTIA Comments at 8-9; MegaPath Comments at 8; Sprint Comments at 6-8; T-Mobile
Comments at 10-12; Time Warner Comments at 4-6; Vonage Comments at 7-8; XO Comments at 3, 10; Wireless
Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) Comments at 5; See also National Emergency Number Association
(NENA) Reply Comments at 2; Sprint Reply Comments at 6; T-Mobile Reply Comments at 7-8; Vonage Reply
Comments at 7-8, 11; XO Reply Comments at 1.
185 AT&T Reply Comments at 8-9. AT&T further proposes that all interconnected VoIP providers submit
electronically a Final Report within 30 days of discovering that they have experienced on any facilities that they
own, operate, lease, or otherwise utilize, an outage of at least 120 minutes’ duration: (1) of a non-redundant VoIP
network element; (2) that potentially isolates subscribers’ service for at least 900,000 user minutes; or (3) potentially
affects a 911 special facility (as defined in paragraph (e) of Section 4.5). See AT&T Comments at 23-24.
186 AT&T argues further that this standard comports with the Commission’s stated aim of addressing outages that
have the potential of affecting consumers’ access to emergency services and that “it provides the Commission with
real outage data as opposed to flooding the Commission with useless (i.e., non-consumer affecting) quality of
service information.” AT&T Comments at 24.
187 NENA Reply Comments at 2.
188 ACA Comments at 2-3; Comcast Comments at 5-7; Time Warner Comments at 5; USTA Comments at 1-2.
189 See NPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 7200 App. A, proposed rule § 4.9.
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household or “special facility” -- has experienced an outage unless and until contacted by the user with a
trouble report. The cost associated with requiring small operators with few employees and very minimal
operating budgets to update their networks and plants to allow outage monitoring and reporting would
impose an undue burden according to ACA.190
88.
With respect to reporting outages or service degradation as a result of a major facility
failure (e.g., Call Agent, Session Border Controller, Signaling Gateway, CSCF, HSS), Verizon states that
it deploys many of these elements in a redundant, diverse manner such that an outage on a given network
element may have no impact on a subscriber’s ability to establish and maintain a channel of
communications.191 Similarly, AT&T states that, if Part 4 Rules are extended to interconnected VoIP
service providers, those service providers should be required to report only those outages or service
degradations resulting from major facility failures of non-redundant VoIP network elements.
89.
Discussion. We adopt outage reporting thresholds for interconnected VoIP service
outages similar to the existing Part 4 wireline and wireless communications service outage reporting
thresholds. Specifically, we apply to interconnected VoIP service providers192 the obligation to report
when they have experienced, on any facilities that they own, operate, lease, or otherwise utilize, an outage
of at least 30 minutes duration: (1) that potentially affects at least 900,000 users; (2) that potentially
affects any special offices and facilities (in accordance with paragraphs (a) - (d) of section 4.5); or (3) that
potentially affects a 9-1-1 special facility (as defined in (e) of section 4.5), in which case they also shall
notify, as soon as possible by telephone or other electronic means, any official who has been designated
by the management of the affected 9-1-1 facility as the provider’s contact person for communications
outages at that facility, and they shall convey to that person all available information that may be useful to
the management of the affected facility in mitigating the effects of the outage on callers to that facility.
90.
We defer action at this time on the performance degradation reporting metrics and
thresholds proposed in the NPRM.193 Based on the record developed in response to the NPRM, we
believe that the simpler rules we adopt today will provide a clear view into E9-1-1 compliance as well as
advance the goals we have laid out above with regard to working with industry to improve performance.
We also believe that the rules we adopt today are more consistent with the rules we apply to other
providers under the existing rules. Therefore, we will not at this time require reporting based on packet
loss, latency, or jitter. Instead, we will require the reporting of an interconnected VoIP outage based on
the complete loss of service or connectivity.194 We believe this approach best balances the Commission’s
need for interconnected outage reporting data and is less burdensome than the reporting requirements
proposed in the NPRM.
91.
With respect to reporting outages due to major facility failures, we are persuaded by the
arguments posed by the commenters and, therefore, will not at this time adopt the proposal in the NPRM
to require outage reporting when an interconnected VoIP service experiences a major facility failure of a
Call Agent, Session Border Controller, Signaling Gateway, Call Session Control Function, or Home
Subscriber Server. We believe the rules, as adopted, sufficiently account for major facility failures that


190 ACA Reply Comments at 5.
191 Verizon Comments at 18.
192 Included are affiliated and non-affiliated entities that maintain or provide communications networks or services
used by the provider in offering such communications.
193 NPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 7200 App. A § 4.9(g).
194 A complete loss of service or connectivity results when an end user is unable to establish and maintain a channel
of communications as a result of failure or degradation in the performance of a communications provider’s network
(an outage). See 47 C.F.R. § 4.5(a).
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result in reportable outages meeting the thresholds defined. We recognize a major facility failure of a
Call Agent, Session Border controller, Signaling Gateway, Call Session Control Function, or Home
Subscriber Server, depending on how the interconnected VoIP service provider has engineered those
major facilities, may not necessarily result in a reportable outage meeting the thresholds, and we,
therefore, do not require, at this time, the reporting of outages on this basis.
4.

Reporting Process for Outages of Interconnected VoIP Service

92.
As set forth below, we conclude that the reporting process for significant outages of
interconnected VoIP service should differ in certain respects from the proposal in the NPRM.
Specifically, we extend the time frame for notification of an outage and reduce and the number of
required submissions.
93.
Proposal. The NPRM proposed to follow the current Part 4 reporting process for
interconnected VoIP service providers.195 Under the current rules, providers are required to notify the
Commission with very basic information within two hours of discovering a reportable outage,196 file an
initial report within 72 hours, and file a final report within 30 days that provides detail on the outage.197
Part 4 specifies the type of information that is to be included at each stage.198 Final Reports must be
submitted by a person authorized by the provider to submit such reports to the Commission and to bind
the provider legally to the truth, completeness, and accuracy of the information contained in the report.199
The Final Communications Outage Report must contain all potentially significant information known
about the outage after a good faith effort has been made to obtain it, including any information that was
not contained in, or that has changed from, the Initial Report. Besides timing and the content of reporting,
the current NORS process provides an electronic reporting template to facilitate outage reporting by those
currently subject to our Part 4 rules.200 In the NPRM, we proposed to follow the same reporting process.
94.
Comments. The majority of parties commenting on this issue focused on the burden of
(a) filing multiple reports, and (b) filing those reports while simultaneously seeking to resolve the
network outage.201 Although state government commenters generally support the proposed deadlines,202


195 NPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 7191 61.
196 See 47 C.F.R. § 4.9. Pursuant to 47 C.F.R. § 4.11, a Notification must include: “The name of the reporting
entity; the date and time of onset of the outage; a brief description of the problem; service effects; the geographic
area affected by the outage; and a contact name and contact telephone number . . . .”
197 See 47 C.F.R. § 4.9. Pursuant to 47 C.F.R. § 4.11, the Initial Report must “contain all pertinent information then
available on the outage and shall be submitted in good faith.” Id. A Final Report must “contain all pertinent
information on the outage, including any information that was not contained in, or that has changed from that
provided in, the Initial report.” Id.
198 See 47 C.F.R. § 4.9.
199 See 47 C.F.R. § 4.11.
200 Reports are submitted electronically, using Commission-approved Web-based outage reporting templates. If
there are technical impediments to using the Web-based system, then the reports may be submitted to the
Commission by e-mail, FAX, or courier; submissions made by these alternative methods shall contain all the
required information. See id. This requirement applies to all communications providers covered by the
requirements of Part 4. Since we do not propose to change this rule, it would also apply to providers of
interconnected VoIP. See http://www.fcc.gov/pshs/outage/nors_manual.pdf (last visited Feb. 3, 2012).
201 See, e.g., AT&T Comments at 20-21 (questioning the efficacy of requiring an initial report, and urging that the
first notification to the Commission of an outage be filed by the close of the next business day after the outage has
been resolved); NCTA Comments at 8-9 (initial notification should be eliminated, and only two reports (one at 72
hours, the other at 30 days) ought to be required); Verizon Comments at 14-17 (The 120-minute time frame and
three-tier reporting structure in the current Part 4 rules already are too burdensome).
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industry commenters argue that the proposed deadlines would be too restrictive.203 Opposition to the
proposed reporting timeframes centers on several arguments: reporting requires critical personnel to
spend time reporting instead of fixing the underlying problem;204 the complexity of the network makes it
too difficult to report within two hours;205 and, to develop best practices, the only report needed is a 30-
day final report.206 Specifically, the ACA argues that small operators should be required to file reports
only well after the incident.207 MetroPCS argues that requiring interconnected VoIP service providers to
submit a notification within two hours of a discovered outage not only has possibility of prolonging the
outage due to the nature of the requested information, but would also distract providers from what should
be their number one priority – solving the problem.208 Verizon recommends that the process be
streamlined into a two-tiered reporting process.209 AT&T argues that the deadline for filing the
Notification should be longer than the present 120-minute requirement, and that the Initial Report
requirement should not be adopted.210
95.
Discussion. We are persuaded by commenters’ arguments to adopt a reporting process
similar to NORS, but to lengthen the notification interval to allow more time for interconnected VoIP
service providers to work the outage problem as opposed to reporting on the outage. We agree with
MetroPCS’ rationale for lengthening the initial notification in that “this change is particularly important
since data networks operate differently than voice networks, and the cause of some degradations of
service may not be as clearly identifiable, which can lead to inaccurate reporting, or over-reporting, under
strict time constraints.”211 Therefore, with respect to outages that meet the reporting threshold, a
notification will be due within 24 hours of discovering that an outage is reportable and a final report
within 30 days.
96.
Verizon’s suggested two-reporting system, in which a provider would file a notification
within four hours and a final report within thirty days, makes more sense to us in situations that could
have the potential to have a significant negative impact on the 9-1-1 infrastructure. A two-tier report
system would still provide a measure of “situational awareness” to allow the Commission to become
involved in significant outages early should it choose to do so. Final reports would still give the
Commission the opportunity to obtain the full details within the same timeframe as it does so today. Yet,
eliminating the initial report would reduce the providers’ workloads, and if implemented in conjunction
with a four-hour window for the notification, would likely still provide the Commission with valuable
information at the outset of the outage.212
(Continued from previous page)


202 MDTC Comments at 5-6; NYPSC Comments at 4-5.
203 See AT&T Comments at 21; ATIS Comments at 12-13; CenturyLink Comments at 21-22; Comcast Comments at
3-4; NCTA Comments at 8-9; Sprint Comments at 9; T-Mobile Comments at 10; Time Warner Comments at 6;
Verizon Comments at 10, 14-15; VON Coalition Comments at 10-11.
204 See, e.g., Verizon Comments at 16.
205 See Comcast Comments at 3-4.
206 AT&T Comments at vi, 20.
207 ACA Reply Comments at 5-6.
208 MetroPCS Reply Comments at 5. See also Comcast Comments at 3-4; NCTA Comments at 8; T-Mobile
Comments at 10; Verizon Comments at 14-16; VON Coalition Comments at 8.
209 Verizon Comments at 16.
210 AT&T Reply Comments at 4.
211 See MetroPCS Reply Comments at 3.
212 Verizon Comments at 16.
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97.
We do not, however, adopt the 24-hour interval with respect to outages that may have a
significant negative impact on the 9-1-1 infrastructure. For these outages, we adopt Verizon’s suggested
two-tier reporting structure and require notification for outages that may have a significant negative
impact on the 9-1-1 infrastructure within four hours and a final report within 30 days. This provides a
measure of “situational awareness” to allow the Commission to become involved in significant outages
early should it choose to do so. Final reports would still give the Commission the opportunity to obtain
the full details within the same timeframe as it does so today. Yet, eliminating the initial report would
reduce providers’ workloads considerably without harming the Commission’s ability to react in the short
term or facilitate the development and application of best practices in the long term.
98.
Accordingly, the Commission adopts the following outage reporting requirements for
outages of interconnected VoIP service: All interconnected VoIP service providers must submit
electronically a Notification to the Commission within four hours of discovering that they have
experienced on any facilities that they own, operate, lease, or otherwise utilize, an outage of at least 30
minutes duration that potentially affects a 9-1-1 special facility. In such situations, they also must notify,
as soon as possible by telephone or other electronic means, any official who has been designated by the
management of the affected 9-1-1 facility as the provider’s contact person for communications outages at
that facility, and the provider must convey to person all available information that may be useful to the
management of the affected facility in mitigating the effects of the outage on efforts to communicate with
that facility. Such timing of the Notification targets conditions in which the 9-1-1 infrastructure is most
likely to experience a direct, negative impact, and singles out a short Notification requirement while
balancing costs and burdens.213
99.
Interconnected VoIP service providers who have not experienced on any facilities that
they own, operate, lease, or otherwise utilize, an outage of at least 30 minutes duration that potentially
affects a 9-1-1 special facility, but who have rather experienced on any facility that they own, operate,
least or otherwise utilize, an outage of at least 30 minutes duration: (a) that potentially affects at least
900,000 user minutes of interconnected VoIP service and results in complete loss of service; or (b) that
potentially affects any special offices and facilities, must submit electronically a Notification to the
Commission within twenty-four hours of discovering such an outage. Such timing of the Notification
therefore appropriately applies a less stringent time reporting standard, recognizing that under such
conditions the 9-1-1 infrastructure is less likely to experience a negative impact than described in the
previous paragraph but the ability of users to make individual 9-1-1 calls may nonetheless be impaired.
Accordingly, the design of the two different timing standards under the adopted reporting scheme
balances different potential benefits with costs and burdens.214
100.
Finally, regardless of which of the two above conditions prompts the Notification, not
later than 30 days after discovering the outage, the provider must submit electronically a Final
Communications Outage Report to the Commission. Moreover, we are adopting a very similar level of
specificity in reporting content and the same electronic reporting processing as is required by NORS,
including utilizing an electronic reporting template to show the various types of information that should
be reported by providers.


213 Examples of outages in which the interconnected VoIP service provider must submit an electronic Notification to
the Commission within four hours include: (1) loss of all facilities (i.e., no reroute) connecting a selective router to
a PSAP; and (2) complete loss of the ability to provide location information (i.e., Automatic Location Information)
for interconnected VoIP calls.
214 Examples of outages in which the interconnected VoIP service provider must submit an electronic Notification to
the Commission within twenty-four hours include: (1) complete loss of an access router; and (2) loss of all facilities
connecting the access router to the backbone network. These two examples illustrate that the outage would affect all
interconnected VoIP calls, not just calls to 9-1-1.
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101.
The process we adopt today for reporting significant outages of interconnected VoIP
service reduces the burden on providers from that proposed in the NPRM. Reducing the number of
reports from three to two and extending the time frame for reporting will provide the Commission with
the information it needs while reducing the reporting burden on the providers. In addition, we believe it is
likely that most interconnected VoIP service providers currently collect information on significant
outages in the ordinary course of their business in order to serve their customers effectively. 215
Therefore, on balance, we conclude that the reporting burden is minimal and well-justified by the benefits
to 9-1-1 reliability described above.

E.

Application of Part 4 Rules to Voice Service Provided Using New Wireless Spectrum
Bands

102.
In the discussion below, we clarify that Part 4 of the rules currently covers all providers
of CMRS voice (and paging) service regardless in which spectrum band the service is provided and that
the process that applies to reporting outages of these services should be the process in the current Part 4
rules.
1.

Clarification of Application of Part 4

103.
Proposal. In the 2004 Part 4 Order and FNPRM, the Commission extended its outage
reporting requirements beyond wireline providers to include wireless providers. In that decision, the
Commission enumerated several types of licensees providing wireless service that would be covered by
the Part 4 outage reporting obligations.216 Since that time, licensing in additional spectrum bands, e.g.,
Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) and 700 MHz licensing, has become available for wireless services.
The 2004 Part 4 Order and FNPRM suggests that the Commission intended to extend the scope of outage
reporting to include all non-wireline providers, including new technologies developed after the adoption
of the 2004 Part 4 Order and FNPRM.217 In the NPRM, we sought comment on whether we should


215 See supra notes 103 and 106 and accompanying text (discussion of several commenters on information
collected. No commenter claims an undue burden will result from the information collection requirement adopted
here). In the 2004 Part 4 Order and FNPRM, we found that most of the providers that would be subject to the
reporting requirements and process adopted therein were collecting much of the same information that would be
required to be reported under Part 4. See 2004 Part 4 Order and NPRM, 19 FCC Rcd at 16912-14 166-69; see
also 1992 Part 4 Report and Order
, 7 FCC Rcd at 2013 ¶17.
216 See 2004 Part 4 Order and FNPRM, 19 FCC Rcd at 16922, App. B. Those services are reflected in the Section
4.3(f) of the Commission’s rules, which defines “wireless service providers” for purposes of Part 4 to include:
Commercial Mobile Radio Service communications providers that use cellular architecture
and CMRS paging providers. In particular, they include Cellular Radio Telephone Service
(part 22 of the Commission's Rules) providers; Personal Communications Service (PCS)
(part 24) providers; those Special Mobile Radio Service (part 90) providers that meet the
definition of “covered CMRS” providers pursuant to §§ 20.18(a), 52.21, and 52.31 of the
Commission's rules, those private paging (part 90) providers that are treated as CMRS
providers (see of this chapter); and narrowband PCS providers (part 24) of this chapter.
Also included are affiliated and non-affiliated entities that maintain or provide
communications networks or services used by the provider in offering such communications.
217 In the order extending the scope of the outage reporting rules beyond wireline carriers and establishing the
current outage rules, the Commission stated that it would “adopt [its proposal in the NPRM] to extend mandatory
outage reporting to non-wireline communications providers ….” 2004 Part 4 Order and FNPRM, 19 FCC Rcd at
16855 ¶ 46. In the same proceeding’s NPRM, the Commission proposed “to extend our disruption reporting
requirements to communications providers who are not wireline carriers,” and further explained that “[b]y the term
‘communications provider’ we mean an entity that provides two-way voice and/or data communications, and/or
paging service, by radio, wire, cable, satellite, and/or lightguide for a fee to one or more unaffiliated entities.” New
Part 4 of the Commission's Rules Concerning Disruptions to Communications, ET Docket No. 04-35, Notice of
(continued….)
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amend Section 4.3(f) to clarify and reflect this meaning.218 For instance, we asked if the rule should be
amended to state explicitly that the rule also applies to new services using spectrum bands or new
wireless technologies that come into being after the adoption of the rule.219
104.
Comments. MetroPCS argues that competition and innovation are best served by not
extending the current outage reporting rules to new spectrum bands or technologies, including AWS and
700 MHz.220 It, however, recognizes that if the Commission were to adopt MetroPCS’s recommendation
to not extend the current Part 4 Rules to newly licensees in the AWS and 700 MHz spectrum bands, an
unlevel wireless service provider playing field may result.
105.
The WCS Coalition also argues that AWS, 700 MHz, WCS and other similarly situation
licensees be exempted from new Part 4 outage reporting requirements until such time as they are required
to meet their initial performance or substantial service obligations under their service-specific rules.221
106.
Discussion. We believe that the existing rules222 apply to wireless service providers
including Commercial Mobile Radio Service communications providers that use cellular architecture and
CMRS paging providers.223 That includes AWS and 700 MHz, as well as Personal Communications
Service (PCS), Broadband Radio Service (BRS) that elect common carrier service, Educational
Broadband Service (EBS) that elect common carrier service, and Wireless Communications Service
(WCS) wireless service providers, inter alia, operating as CMRS communications providers that use
cellular architecture or as CMRS paging providers, are subject to the outage reporting obligation. We
also believe that the 2004 Part 4 Order and FNPRM extended the scope of outage reporting to include all
non-wireline providers, including new technologies developed after the adoption of the 2004 Part 4
Order and FNPRM
.224 The 2004 Part 4 Order and FNPRM225 included an illustrative list of wireless
services subject to the outage reporting obligation. To eliminate any potential for confusion, we amend
the rule by eliminating the specific example services. In doing so, we will avoid any potential for
(Continued from previous page)


Proposed Rulemaking, 19 FCC Rcd 3373, 3375 ¶1, n.1 (2004). More specifically, in that proceeding’s NPRM
concerning “Application to Wireless Communications,” the Commission stated that “we propose to extend our
outage reporting requirements to wireless providers.” Id. at 3381-82 ¶14. The Commission further explained:
From this point forward, we use the phrase ‘wireless services’ to refer to communications that are
provided using cellular architecture in the Cellular Radio Telephone Service (‘CRTS’) (Part 22 of
the Commission's Rules); Personal Communications Service (“PCS”) (Part 24); and enhanced
Special Mobile Radio Service (‘SMRS’) (Part 90) (such as that provided by NEXTEL). It is also
our intention to include Short Message Service (‘SMS’) communications, which consist of short
text messages (typically 20 octets or less), as well as CMRS paging services (see 47 C.F.R. §§
20.9(a) (1), (6), 22.99, 22.507(c), and 90.7) and narrowband PCS (Part 24), as wireless services.
Entities that provide wireless services will be referred to as ‘wireless service providers.’
Id. at 3381 ¶14 n.30.
218 NPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 7188-89 ¶ 55.
219 Id.
220 MetroPCS Comments at 20.
221 Wireless Communication Service Coalition Comments at 3.
222 See 47 C.F.R. § 4.3(f).
223 Included are affiliated and non-affiliated entities that maintain or provide communications networks or services
used by the provider in offering such communications.
224 See supra note 217 and accompanying text.
225 See 47 C.F.R. § 4.3(f).
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confusion as to the rule’s scope as new spectrum bands are authorized and/or reallocated.
107.
We are not persuaded by commenters’ arguments that AWS and 700 MHz services
should be exempt from outage reporting requirements. As MetroPCS acknowledges, to provide an
exemption for AWS and 700 MHz would lead to an unlevel playing field among competing mobile
service providers. Moreover, these newer wireless technologies are forming the core of major
deployments whereby an outage could impact an increasingly significant number of users.226
2.

Reporting Process

108.
Discussion. We conclude that the reporting process as reflected in the existing reporting
structure in NORS, including the timing of outage reports, should be the same for AWS and 700 MHz
wireless service providers as for the other wireless service providers. Since we have clarified that Section
4.3(f) should be read broadly to include such services as AWS and 700 MHz as among those wireless
service providers covered by the Part 4 reporting obligations,227 it follows that the technical requirements
for making the reports used for these other wireless service providers should also apply to AWS and 700
MHz service providers. We see no technical or policy reason that would warrant different treatment.

IV.

SHARING OF INFORMATION AND CONFIDENTIALITY

109.
As discussed below, we apply the same confidential treatment and restricted information
sharing to reports of interconnected VoIP service outages as currently apply to outage reports of services
already subject to Part 4 of the rules.
110.
Proposal. The NPRM proposed to treat outage reports filed with respect to
interconnected VoIP service as presumptively confidential, as is the case for outage reports currently filed
under Part 4.228 The NPRM also sought comment on making aggregated information across companies
public (e.g., total number of incidents by root cause categories), and whether the Commission should
share this new outage information with other Federal agencies on a presumptively confidential basis,229 as
it currently does under Part 4 with respect to legacy technologies.230
111.
Comments. Most commenters addressing the issue support treating reported information
as presumptively confidential.231 ATIS, AT&T, CenturyLink, and New York PSC support the


226 See Matt Buchanan, Verizon’s $9.36 Billion 700 MHz Plans: High-Speed 4G LTE Network Up and Running
before AT&T
, Gizmodo, April 4, 2008, available at http://gizmodo.com/376103/verizons-936-billion-700mhz-
plans-high+speed-4g-lte-network-up-and-running-before-att (last visited Feb. 7, 2012).
227 See supra notes 216-217 and accompanying text.
228 NPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 7192 66. 47 C.F.R. § 4.2 provides that “[r]eports filed under this part will be presumed
to be confidential. Public access to reports filed under this part may be sought only pursuant to the procedures set
forth in 47 CFR § 0.461.” See also 2004 Part 4 Report and Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 16856.
229 See 47 C.F.R. § 0.442. See also 47 U.S.C. § 154(i) (authorizing Commission to “perform any and all acts, make
such rules and regulations, and issue such orders, not inconsistent with the [Communications] Act, as may be
necessary in the execution of its functions”).
230 NPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 7192 66. We note that, in its ex parte filing on February 8, 2012, NARUC requests that
the Commission provide State commissions with an opportunity to have direct and immediate access to outage
reporting data and to all outage reports filed by interconnected VoIP service providers. See NARUC February 8,
2012 Ex Parte Filing. NARUC’s request is beyond the scope of this proceeding.
231 ATIS Comments at 19; AT&T Comments at 22; CenturyLink Comments at 22; NYPSC Comments at 2-3, 7; T-
Mobile Comments at 12; TIA Comments at 11; Time Warner Comments at 6, n.14.
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Commission’s sharing of information with other Federal agencies.232 AT&T, CenturyLink, ATIS, and
WISPA do not oppose the public disclosure of aggregated outage information provided the individual
service provider data will not be identified,233 while the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)
opposes the public disclosure of the aggregated information, pointing out that the Commission has
acknowledged that “disclosure of outage reporting information to the public could present an
unacceptable risk of more effective terrorist activity,”234 and that the record on outage reporting has
clearly established that reports should be protected by the Freedom of Information Act.235 Also, TIA
believes that the record reflects wide consensus for maintaining confidentiality for data submitted through
the NORS system.236
112.
Discussion. Consistent with Section 4.2 of the Rules that affords a presumption of
confidentiality to outage report filed pursuant to Part 4 of the Rules, we direct that individual outage
reports of interconnected VoIP service providers also be treated on a presumptively confidential basis,
that sharing of such reports with other Federal agencies, as needed, be conducted on the same basis, and
that aggregated information across providers may be publicly reported. As addressed in the 2004 Part 4
Order and FNPRM
, the Commission makes outage reports available to the U.S. Department of Homeland
Security (DHS), pursuant to the authority of DHS under the Homeland Security Act of 2002.237 Sharing
confidential materials with other Federal agencies is governed by Section 0.442 of the Commission’s
rules, which provides that the Commission may share with other Federal agencies materials received
under a request for confidential treatment or that are presumptively confidential, and the confidentiality of
the records travels with the records.238
113.
Publicly reported aggregate data would have the benefit of increasing the public dialogue
on the reliability and emergency preparedness of interconnected VoIP service provider while imposing no


232 AT&T Comments at 22; CenturyLink Comments at 23; NYPSC Comments at 7-8; T-Mobile Comments at 12;
VON Coalition Comments at 11, n.11. See also NASUCA Reply Comments at 15-19 (arguing that information
should not be considered presumptively confidential, and noting MDTC’s comment that state and local entities often
serve as the first line of defense for public safety and emergency situations, where delays in acquiring outage data
carry serious consequences. Id., citing MDTC Comments at 8-9).
233 AT&T Comments at 22; ATIS Comments at 19; CenturyLink Comments at 22; WISPA Comments at 7. See also
T-Mobile Comments at 12; TIA Comments at 11-12; Time Warner Comments at 6, n.14 (all generally opposing
direct release of information).
234 TIA Comments at 11, citing 2004 Part 4 Order and FNPRM, 19 FCC Rcd at 16833 ¶ 3..
235 Id.
236 Id. citing California Public Utilities Commission Comments, ET Docket No. 04-35, WC Docket No. 05-271, GN
Docket Nos. 09-47, 09-51, and 09-137 (filed Aug. 2, 2010) at 9; District of Columbia Public Service Commission
Comments, ET Docket No. 04-35, WC Docket No. 05-271, GN Docket Nos. 09-47, 09-51, and 09-137 (filed Aug.
2, 2010) at 3; Comments of Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable, ET Docket No. 04-35,
WC Docket No. 05-271, GN Docket Nos. 09-47, 09-51, 09-137 (filed Aug. 16, 2010), New York Public Service
Commission Comments, ET Docket No. 04-35, WC Docket No. 05-271, GN Docket Nos. 09-47, 09-51, and 09-137,
at 3 (filed Aug. 2, 2010); Qwest Communications Comments, ET Docket No. 04-35, WC Docket No. 05-271, GN
Docket Nos. 09-47, 09-51, and 09-137, at 12-14 (filed Aug. 2, 2010).
237 See 2004 Part 4 Order and FNPRM, 19 FCC Rcd at 16856 ¶47 n.143.
238 47 C.F.R. §0.442. Section 0.442 is based on 44 U.S.C. § 3510, which provides that, if information obtained by
an agency is released by that agency to another agency, all the provisions of law (including penalties) that relate to
the unlawful disclosure of information apply to the officers and employees of the agency to which information is
released to the same extent and in the same manner as the provisions apply to the officers and employees of the
agency which originally obtained the information. 44 U.S.C. § 3510(b)(1).
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additional cost or burden on the providers given that their identities would not be revealed. The
Commission order to which TIA refers in support of its contention that aggregated data should not be
publicly reported, does not address the release only of aggregated data contemplated here, but rather
addresses the release of outage reporting information in an unredacted form, which could reveal
potentially harmful details about particular network vulnerabilities if the information disclosed were to
include a provider’s name, specific geographic location(s), particular network characteristics and
limitation, etc.239 Our action to allow public reporting of aggregated information across providers does
not extend to such raw data. On the narrower issue of aggregated data, most commenters addressing the
issue believe that the information should be publicly released. Indeed, our approach to confidentiality
here is identical to the approach we have taken with regard to outage reports from traditional providers
subject to the existing Part 4 rules; we are aware of no problems resulting from the current approach.

V.

CONTINUING VOLUNTARY DIALOGUE REGARDING INTERNET SERVICE
PROVIDER OUTAGE ISSUES

114.
The NPRM addressed whether the Commission should extend its outage reporting
requirements to significant outages of broadband Internet service, and if so, what outage metrics and
thresholds should apply.240 We believe that the technical issues involved in identifying and reporting
significant outages of broadband Internet services require further study. The record in this proceeding
reflects a willingness on the part of broadband Internet service providers to participate in a voluntary
process to improve the Commission’s understanding of the underlying technical issues associated with
broadband Internet service outages to assist public safety and first responders in protecting the American
people.241

VI.

CONCLUSION

115.
For the reasons stated above, we adopt outage reporting requirements for interconnected
VoIP service providers. We conclude that this action will best serve the public interest by enabling the
Commission to obtain the necessary information regarding services disruptions in an efficient and
expeditious manner. This action addresses the need for rapid, full, and accurate information on service
disruptions that could affect homeland security, public health and safety, including the reliability of the
Nation’s 9-1-1 system, as well as the economic well being of our Nation. This action takes into account
the increasing national trend in greater VoIP service usage and its potential impact on the Nation’s 9-1-1
infrastructure, and the increasing importance of IP networks, on which U.S. consumers increasingly rely
for their safety and well being. We make these additions to our existing communications outage-
reporting requirements to fulfill the objectives and mandates of the Communications Act.


239 2004 Part 4 Order and FNPRM, 19 FCC Rcd at 16833 ¶ 3.
240 See NPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 26 FCC Rcd at 7180-90 (2011) (NPRM).
241See, e.g., ATIS Comments at 16 (observing that a voluntary reporting program would be flexible and
collaborative); AT&T Comments at 17-18 (stating that a voluntary program would better allow the Commission to
ascertain what actual reliability issues may exist); CenturyLink Comments at 20-21 (engaging affected broadband
ISPs in a collaborative effort to determine relevant metrics and thresholds for defining ISP network outages will
yield more productive results); Sprint Comments at 3 (establishing a voluntary pilot program is preferable to
mandatory reporting); T-Mobile Comments at 10 (positing that voluntary reporting based on metrics developed by
industry groups and standards bodies provides the necessary flexibility to obtain outage information best suited to
emerging technologies); TIA Comments at 5 (noting that intra- and inter-industry voluntary efforts are already
currently underway that adequately address reliability and resiliency concerns, including best practices, standards,
and public-private efforts) (footnote omitted); Verizon Comments at 8 (noting that to the extent the Commission
may require additional data on broadband reliability to perform its statutory obligations, the Commission could
promote the industry’s establishment of a voluntary IP outage reporting program).
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VII.

PROCEDURAL MATTERS

A.

Accessible Formats

116.
To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (Braille, large print,
electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer & Governmental
Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).

B.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

117.
As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, see 5 U.S.C. § 604, the
Commission has prepared a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) of the possible significant
economic impact on small entities of the policies and rules addressed in this document. The FRFA is set
forth in Appendix B.

C.

Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis

118.
We analyzed this Report and Order with respect to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995
(“PRA”)242 and determine it contains modified information collection requirements.243 The Report and
Order contains new information collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995
(PRA), Public Law No. 104-13. It will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for
review under section 3507(d) of the PRA.244 The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to reduce
paperwork burdens, invites OMB, the general public, and other interested parties to comment on the
information collection requirements contained in this proceeding. In addition, we note that pursuant to
the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002,245 we previously sought specific comment on how the
Commission might further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with
fewer than 25 employees.246 We describe impacts that might affect small businesses, which includes most
businesses with fewer than 25 employees, in the FRFA in Appendix B, infra.

D.

Congressional Review Act

119.
The Commission will send a copy of this Report and Order in a report to be sent to
Congress and the Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (CRA),
see 5 U.S.C. § 801(a)(1)(A).

VIII.

ORDERING CLAUSES

120.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to Sections 1, 2, 4(i)-(k), 4(o), 218, 219, 230,
256, 301, 302(a), 303(f), 303(g), 303(j), 303(r), 403, 615a-1, 621(b)(3), 621(d), and 1302(a), and 1302(b)
of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151, 152, 154(i)-(k), 154(o), 218, 219,
230, 256, 301, 302(a), 303(f), 303(g), 303(j), 303(r), 403, 615a-1, 621(b)(3), 621(d), 1302(a), and 1302(b)
and Section 1704 of the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of
1998, 44 U.S.C. § 3504, this Report and Order in PS Docket No. 11-82 IS ADOPTED and that Part 4 of
the Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. Part 4 is amended as set forth in Appendix C.


242 The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Pub. L. No. 104-13, 109 Stat 163 (1995) (codified in Chapter 35
of title 44 U.S.C.).
243 We propose to modify existing information collection requirements relating to the Commission’s network outage
reporting rules. See OMB Control No. 3060-0484.
244 44 U.S.C. § 3507(d).
245 The Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002 (“SBPRA”), Pub. L. No. 107-198, 116 Stat 729 (2002)
(codified in Chapter 35 of title 44 U.S.C.); see 44 U.S.C. § 3506(c)(4).
246 NPRM, 26 FCC Rcd at 7196 ¶ 80.
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121.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the rules adopted herein WILL BECOME
EFFECTIVE on the date specified in a Commission notice published in the Federal Register announcing
their approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act by the Office of Management and Budget.
122.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Commission’s Consumer and Governmental
Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, SHALL SEND a copy of this Report and Order, including
the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business
Administration.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Marlene H. Dortch
Secretary
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APPENDIX A

List of Commenting Parties

Comments:

1.
Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (“ATIS”)
2.
American Cable Association (“ACA”)
3.
AT&T Inc. (“AT&T”)
4.
CenturyLink (“CenturyLink”)
5.
Comcast Corporation (“Comcast”)
6.
CTIA – The Wireless Association (“CTIA”)
7.
Level 3 Communications, LLC (“Level 3”)
8.
Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable
9.
MegaPath Communications, Inc.
10.
MetroPCS Communications, Inc. (“MetroPCS”)
11.
Michigan Public Service Commission (“Michigan PSC”)
12.
National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates and New Jersey Division of Rate
Counsel (“NASUCA”)
13.
National Cable & Telecommunications Association (“NCTA”)
14.
New York State Public Service Commission (“NYPSC”)
15.
PayPal, Inc.
16.
Sprint Nextel Corporation (“Sprint”)
17.
T-Mobile USA, Inc. (“T-Mobile”)
18.
Telecommunications Industry Association (“TIA”)
19.
Time Warner Cable Inc. (“Time Warner”)
20.
United States Telecom Association (“USTA”)
21.
Verizon and Verizon Wireless (“Verizon”)
22.
Voice on the Net Coalition (“VON Coalition”)
23.
Vonage Holdings Corporation (“Vonage”)
24.
WCS Coalition (“WCS”)
25.
Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (“WISPA”)
26.
XO Communications (“XO”)

Reply Comments:

1.
ATIS
2.
ACA
3.
AT&T
4.
CTIA
5.
Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council
6.
Fixed Wireless Internet Service Providers (Washington Broadband, Inc.; Shelby Broadband;
Vistabeam; BackWoods Wireless; Crescomm Services, Inc.; Communications Specialists Company of
Wilmington, LLC; Electronic Solutions, Inc.; NGL Connection; Rock Solid Internet & Telephone;
Alluretech; On-Ramp Indiana, Inc.; Rapid DSL, Inc; Central Coast Internet; New Wave Net Corp.;
ECSIS.net, LLC; Rural Broadband Networks Services LLC; MohaveBroadBand.com LLC; and Imagine
Networks)
7.
Laurence Brett Glass d/b/a LARIAT
8.
MetroPCS
9.
Michigan PSC
10.
NASUCA
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11.
National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, the National League of
Cities, and the National Association of Counties (“NATOA”)
12.
National Emergency Number Association (“NENA”)
13.
Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia
14.
SANS Institute (“SANS”)
15.
Sprint
16.
TIA
17.
T-Mobile
18.
United States Internet Service Provider Association (“USISPA”)
19.
Utilities Telecom Council (“UTC”)
20.
Vonage
21.
Wireless Communications Association International, Inc. (“WCAI”)
22.
Wireless Internet Service Providers Association
23.
XO

Ex parte

Submissions:

1.
ACA
2.
Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International, Inc. (“APCO”)
3.
AT&T
4.
Blooston Rural Carriers
5.
CenturyLink
6.
Clearwire
7.
Comcast
8.
CompTel -The Competitive Communications Association
9.
Critical Infrastructure Communications Coalition (Southern Company Services; Duke Energy;
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association; American Petroleum Institute; Utilities Telecom Council)
10.
CTIA
11.
eBay Inc.
12.
Edison Electric Institute
13.
Frontier Communication Corporation
14.
Gallagher, Colin
15.
Independent Telephone and Telecommunications Alliance
16.
Intrado Inc.
17.
Kepner, Rita Marie
18.
Level 3
19.
MetroPCS
20.
NASUCA
21.
National Association of Manufacturers
22.
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
23.
NATOA
24.
NCTA
25.
National Telecommunications Cooperative Association
26.
NYPSC
27.
Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies
28.
Public Knowledge/Open Technology Initiative
29.
SANS
30.
Sprint
31.
T-Mobile
32.
TechAmerica
33.
TIA
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34.
Time Warner
35.
UTC
36.
USISPA
37.
USTA
38.
VON Coalition
39.
Vonage
40.
Verizon
41.
WCAI
42.
WCS Coalition
43.
Windstream Communications
44.
XO

Participants at FCC Workshop: Ensuring Broadband Reliability and Resiliency (Sep. 8, 2011):

1.
Mark Adams, Executive Director, Technology Operations, Cox Communications
2.
John Carlson, representing the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council,
3.
Laurie Flaherty, Coordinator, National 911 Program, U.S. Department of Transportation,
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Office of Emergency Medical Services,
National 911 Office
4.
Masaru Fujino, Counselor, Embassy of Japan in the United States, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
5.
Stacy Hartman, Director, Federal Public Policy, CenturyLink
6.
Roger Hixson, Technical Issues Director, NENA
7.
Uffe Holst Jensen, Councellor, European Commission
8.
Robert Kondilas, Cloud Strategist, Computer Sciences Corporation
9.
Mike Mayernik, Senior Director of Network Operations, Vonage
10.
Anthony Myers, Chairman, Maryland Emergency Number Systems Board, State of Maryland
11.
Scott F. Robohn, Director, Technology and Solutions – Americas, Juniper Networks
12.
Michael Rowley, Interim Chief, Network Reliability, New York Department of Public Service
13.
Duminda Wijesekera, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, George Mason
University
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APPENDIX B

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

1. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA),1 an Initial
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) was included in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in PS Docket
No. 11-82 (NPRM).2 The Commission sought written public comment on the proposals in these dockets,
including comment on the IRFA. This Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) conforms to the
RFA.3

A.

Need for, and Objectives of, the Final Rules

2. In this Report and Order, the Commission extends the Part 4 outage reporting requirements4
to interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers. Specifically, it:
·
extends the Commission’s mandatory outage reporting rules to facilities-based and non-
facilities-based interconnected VoIP service providers, and applies the current Part 4
definition of “outage”5 to outages of interconnected VoIP service, covering the complete loss
of service and/or connectivity to customers;
·
requires that such providers submit electronically a notification to the Commission within
240 minutes of discovering that they have experienced on any facilities that they own,
operate, lease, or otherwise utilize, an outage of at least 30 minutes’ duration that potentially
affects a 9-1-1 special facility;
·
requires any such providers submit an electronic notification within 24 hours of discovering
that they have experienced an outage of at least 30 minutes duration that potentially affects at
least 900,000 user minutes of interconnected VoIP service and results in complete loss of
service; or potentially affects any special offices and facilities;
·
clarifies that the Part 4 rules apply to new wireless technologies; and
·
mandates that providers submit electronically a Final Communications Outage Report to the
Commission not later than thirty days after discovering the outage.
3. The Commission is taking this action because collecting data on significant outages of
interconnected VoIP services will help the Commission monitor compliance with the statutory 9-1-1
obligations of interconnected VoIP service providers6 as well as help ensure the Nation’s current and


1 See 5 U.S.C. § 603. The RFA, see 5 U.S.C. § 601-12., has been amended by the Small Business Regulatory
Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), Pub. L. No. 104-121. Title II, 110 Stat. 857 (1996).
2 See Proposed Extension of Part 4 of the Commission’s Rules Regarding Outage Reporting to Interconnected Voice
Over Internet Protocol Service Providers and Broadband Internet Service Providers, PS Docket No. 11-82, Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking
, 26 FCC Rcd 7166, 7202 (2011) (NPRM).
3 See 47 C.F.R. § 604.
4 47 C.F.R. Part 4.
5 “Outage” is defined as a significant degradation in the ability of an end user to establish and maintain a channel of
communications as a result of failure or degradation in the performance of a communication provider’s network.
See 47 C.F.R. § 4.5(a).
6 Under the New and Emerging Technologies 911 (NET 911) Improvement Act of 2008, Pub. L. No. 110-283, 122
Stat. 2620 (2008) (amending Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999, Pub. L. No. 106-81, 113
Stat. 1286 (1999)), interconnected VoIP providers are required to provide 9-1-1 services to their subscribers. See
also
Implementation of the NET911 Improvement Act of 2008, Report and Order, 23 FCC Rcd 1154 (2008).
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future 9-1-1 systems are as reliable and resilient as possible both on a day-to-day basis and in times of
major emergency. Consumers increasingly are relying on Internet Protocol (IP)-based technologies as
substitutes for communications services provided by older communications technologies, and
increasingly use interconnected VoIP services in lieu of traditional telephone service. As of December
31, 2010, 31 percent of the more than 87 million residential telephone subscriptions in the United States
were provided by interconnected VoIP providers7—an increase of 21 percent (from 22.4 million to 27.1
million) from the end of 2009;8 additionally, the Commission estimates that approximately 31 percent of
residential wireline 9-1-1 calls are made using VoIP service.

B.

Summary of Significant Issues Raised by Public Comments in Response to the IRFA

4. Three comments specifically addressed the proposed rules raised by the IRFA (i.e., how the
rules would impact small entities).9 The Commission determined to extend the Part 4 network outage
reporting rules to interconnected VoIP providers only at this time, obviating some of the broadband-
related concerns raised by these commenters. Nevertheless, we consider the issues raised by the three
commenters.
5. ACA notes that each new regulatory mandate imposes costs and each new mandate requiring
reporting to the Commission affects small providers disproportionately;10 significant difficulties will arise
if smaller providers are called upon to determine whether some specific, quantifiable level of service is
actually being received by their subscribers over their distribution networks for the purpose of outage
reporting.11 It urges that, if the Commission does, in fact, adopt rules extending the outage reporting
requirement to interconnected VoIP providers, it must do so in a way that “even the smallest rural
provider using existing technologies and network capabilities” can easily implement the reporting
regime.12 We agree with ACA, and adopt rules with which small providers can comply using existing
technology.
6. The VON Coalition asks that the Commission completely decline to extend outage reporting
requirements to VoIP providers. If the Commission decides to extend the rules, then the rules should be
modified to require such providers to report only complete outages within the provider’s control.
Reporting criteria and timing also must be modified to account for the greater complexity of VoIP and the
resources of small VoIP providers to allow additional time for reports and no financial penalties for
missing deadlines.13 In response, the Commission believes the cost of complying with the new rules will
be relatively low, particularly in light of the benefit obtained from getting a complete picture of


7 See Local Telephone Competition: Status as of December 31, 2010, Industry Analysis and Technology Division,
Wireline Competition Bureau, Federal Communications Commission (Oct. 2011), Figure 2 - Wireline Retail Local
Telephone Service Connections by Technology and Customer Type as of December 31, 2010,
http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2011/db1007/DOC-310264A1.pdf (last visited Oct. 17,
2011).
8 See Local Telephone Competition: Status as of December 31, 2009, Industry Analysis and Technology Division,
Wireline Competition Bureau, Federal Communications Commission (Jan. 2011), Figure 2 -Wireline Retail Local
Telephone Service Connections by Technology and Customer Type as of December 31, 2009,
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-304054A1.pdf (last visited Oct. 17, 2011).
9 See American Cable Association (ACA) Comments (filed Aug. 8, 2011); Voice on the Net Coalition (VON
Coalition) Comments (filed Aug. 8, 2011); Wireless Internet Service Provider Association (WISPA) Comments
(filed Aug. 8, 2011); see also ACA Reply Comments (filed Oct. 7, 2011); WISPA Reply Comments (filed Oct. 7,
2011).
10 ACA Comments at 6.
11 Id. at 9.
12 Id. at 12.
13 VON Coalition Comments at 12.
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interconnected VoIP network reliability. Further, by so significantly scaling back what rules it actually
adopts (as opposed to what was proposed), the Commission believes it is being responsive regarding the
effect of the rules on small providers. Having all VoIP providers, including small providers, report
outages will help advance the Commission’s goal of greater network reliability. Further, the Commission
believes that, because every interconnected VoIP service provider has a competitive interest in providing
reasonable network reliability to satisfy its customers, such a provider already tracks, in some manner, the
type of information the Commission seeks, so collecting and reporting would not be an additional undue
burden.
7. In urging that any rules adopted not unduly burden affect small providers, WISPA states that
these providers do not routinely collect and monitor all of the types of information envisioned in the
NPRM,14 and that a “one-size-fits-all”15 rule regarding quality metrics would disproportionately, and
negatively, impact small providers.16 WISPA would have small providers subject to outage reporting
affecting a 9-1-1 facility, but would exempt them from the “30 minutes/900,000 user minutes” rule.
WISPA believes this exemption will reduce the service provider's cost burden while also allowing the
Commission to improve the resilience and reliability of the Nation's commercial and public safety
communications infrastructure.17 As noted immediately above, the Commission believes that
interconnected VoIP service providers have a competitive interest in providing reasonable network
reliability to satisfy its customers, and most likely already track, in some manner, the type of information
the Commission seeks. We do not see this collecting and reporting, using existing technology, as an
additional undue burden.

C.

Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which Rules Will
Apply

8. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of, and, where feasible, an estimate of, the
number of small entities that may be affected by the rules adopted herein.18 The RFA generally defines
the term "small entity" as having the same meaning as the terms "small business," "small organization,"
and "small governmental jurisdiction."19 In addition, the term "small business" has the same meaning as
the term "small business concern" under the Small Business Act.20 A small business concern is one
which: (1) is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3)
satisfies any additional criteria established by the Small Business Administration (SBA).21
1.

Total Small Entities

9. Small Businesses, Small Organizations, and Small Governmental Jurisdictions. Our action
may, over time, affect small entities that are not easily categorized at present. We therefore describe here,


14 WISPA Comments at 3-4.
15 WISPA Comments at 4.
16 Id. at 4.
17 Id. at 4-6.
18 5 U.S.C. § 603(b)(3).
19 5 U.S.C. § 601(6).
20 5 U.S.C. § 601(3) (incorporating by reference the definition of "small business concern" in the Small Business Act,
15 U.S.C. § 632). Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 601(3), the statutory definition of a small business applies "unless an
agency, after consultation with the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration and after opportunity for
public comment, establishes one or more definitions of such term which are appropriate to the activities of the agency
and publishes such definition(s) in the Federal Register."
21 Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. § 632.
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at the outset, three comprehensive, statutory small entity size standards.22 First, nationwide, there are a
total of approximately 27.5 million small businesses, according to the SBA.23 In addition, a “small
organization” is generally “any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned and operated and
is not dominant in its field.”24 Nationwide, as of 2007, there were approximately 1,621,315 small
organizations.25 Finally, the term “small governmental jurisdiction” is defined generally as “governments
of cities, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special districts, with a population of less than
fifty thousand.”26 Census Bureau data for 2011 indicate that there were 89,476 local governmental
jurisdictions in the United States.27 We estimate that, of this total, as many as 88, 506 entities may qualify
as “small governmental jurisdictions.”28 Thus, we estimate that most governmental jurisdictions are
small.
2.

Interconnected VoIP and Broadband ISPs

10. Internet Service Providers. The 2007 Economic Census places these firms, the services of
which might include Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), in either of two categories, depending on
whether the service is provided over the provider’s own telecommunications facilities (e.g., cable and
DSL ISPs), or over client-supplied telecommunications connections (e.g., dial-up ISPs). The former are
within the category of Wired Telecommunications Carriers,29 which has an SBA small business size
standard of 1,500 or fewer employees.30 These are also labeled “broadband.” The latter are within the
category of All Other Telecommunications,31 which has a size standard of annual receipts of $25 million
or less.32 These are labeled non-broadband.


22 See 5 U.S.C. §§ 601(3)–(6).
23 See SBA, Office of Advocacy, “Frequently Asked Questions,” web.sba.gov/faqs (last visited May 6,2011;
figures are from 2009).
24 5 U.S.C. § 601(4).
25 INDEPENDENT SECTOR, THE NEW NONPROFIT ALMANAC & DESK REFERENCE (2010).
26 5 U.S.C. § 601(5).
27 U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES: 2011, Table 427 (2007)
28The 2007 U.S Census data for small governmental organizations indicate that there were 89, 476 “Local
Governments” in 2007. (U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES 2011,
Table 428.) The criterion by which the size of such local governments is determined to be small is a population of
50,000. However, since the Census Bureau does not specifically apply that criterion, it cannot be determined with
precision how many of such local governmental organizations is small. Nonetheless, the inference seems reasonable
that substantial number of these governmental organizations has a population of less than 50, 000. To look at Table
428 in conjunction with a related set of data in Table 429 in the Census’s Statistical Abstract of the U.S., that
inference is further supported by the fact that in both Tables, many entities that may well be small are included in
the 89,476 local governmental organizations, e.g. county, municipal, township and town, school district and special
district entities. Measured by a criterion of a population of 50,000 many specific sub-entities in this category seem
more likely than larger county-level governmental organizations to have small populations. Accordingly, of the
89,746 small governmental organizations identified in the 2007 Census, the Commission estimates that a substantial
majority is small.
29 See U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 NAICS Definitions, “517110 Wired Telecommunications Carriers,”
http://www.census.gov/naics/2007/def/ND517110.HTM#N517110 (last visited May 11, 2011).
30 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517110.
31 See U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 NAICS Definitions, “517919 All Other Telecommunications,”
http://www.census.gov/naics/2007/def/ND517919.HTM#N517919 (last visited May 11, 2011).
32 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517919 (updated for inflation in 2008).
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11. The most current Economic Census data for all such firms are 2007 data, which are detailed
specifically for ISPs within the categories above. For the first category, the data show that 396 firms
operated for the entire year, of which only 2 operated with more than 1,000 employees.33 For the second
category, the data show that 2,383 firms operated for the entire year.34 Of those, only 37 had annual
receipts of more than $25,499,999 per year. Consequently, we estimate that the majority of firms are
small entities. To ensure that this IRFA describes the universe of small entities that our action might
affect, we discuss different types of entities that might be currently providing interconnected VoIP
service.
3.

Wireline Providers

12. Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (Incumbent LECs). Neither the Commission nor the
SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for incumbent local exchange services.
The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the category Wired Telecommunications Carriers.
Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census Bureau data
for 2007, which now supersede data from the 2002 Census, show that there were 3,188 firms in this
category that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 3,144 had employment of 999 or fewer, and 44
firms had had employment of 1,000 employees or more. Thus under this category and the associated
small business size standard, the majority of these incumbent local exchange service providers can be
considered small.35
13. The Commission has included small incumbent LECs in this present RFA analysis. As noted
above, a “small business” under the RFA is one that, inter alia, meets the pertinent small business size
standard (e.g., a telephone communications business having 1,500 or fewer employees), and “is not
dominant in its field of operation.”36 The SBA’s Office of Advocacy contends that, for RFA purposes,
small incumbent LECs are not dominant in their field of operation because any such dominance is not
“national” in scope.37 The Commission has therefore included small incumbent LECs in this RFA
analysis, although the Commission emphasizes that this RFA action has no effect on Commission
analyses and determinations in other, non-RFA contexts.
14. Interexchange Carriers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small
business size standard specifically for providers of interexchange services. The appropriate size standard
under SBA rules is for the category Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a
business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.38 Census Bureau data for 2007, which now
supersede data from the 2002 Census, show that there were 3,188 firms in this category that operated for
the entire year. Of this total, 3,144 had employment of 999 or fewer, and 44 firms had had employment
of 1,000 employees or more. Thus under this category and the associated small business size standard,


33 See U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 Economic Census, Subject Series: Information, “Establishment and Firm Size,”
NAICS code 5171103 (released Nov. 19, 2010) (employment size),
http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-_skip=700&-ds_name=EC0751SSSZ5&;-
_lang=en (last visited May 11, 2011).
34 See U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 Economic Census, Subject Series: Information, “Establishment and Firm Size,”
NAICS code 5179191 (released Nov. 19, 2010) (receipts size).
35 See http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-fds_name=EC0700A1&-geo_id=&-_skip=600&;-
ds_name=EC0751SSSZ5&-_lang=en (last visited May 11, 2011).
36 5 U.S.C. § 601(3).
37 Letter from Jere W. Glover, Chief Counsel for Advocacy, SBA, to William E. Kennard, Chairman, FCC (filed
May 27, 1999). The Small Business Act contains a definition of “small business concern,” which the RFA
incorporates into its own definition of “small business.” 15 U.S.C. § 632(a); 5 U.S.C. § 601(3). SBA regulations
interpret “small business concern” to include the concept of dominance on a national basis. 13 C.F.R. § 121.102(b).
38 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517110.
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the Commission estimates that the majority of interexchange carriers are small entities that may be
affected by our action today.39
15. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard
specifically for operator service providers. The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the
category Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has
1,500 or fewer employees.40 According to Commission data, 33 carriers have reported that they are
engaged in the provision of operator services. Of these, an estimated 31 have 1,500 or fewer employees
and 2 have more than 1,500 employees.41 Consequently, the Commission estimates that the majority of
operator service providers are small entities that may be affected by our action today.
4.

Wireless Providers – Fixed and Mobile

16. To the extent the wireless services listed below are used by wireless firms for VoIP services,
the rules adopted today may have an impact on those small businesses as set forth above and further
below. Accordingly, for those services subject to auctions, we note that, as a general matter, the number
of winning bidders that claim to qualify as small businesses at the close of an auction does not necessarily
represent the number of small businesses currently in service. Also, the Commission does not generally
track subsequent business size unless, in the context of assignments and transfers or reportable eligibility
events, unjust enrichment issues are implicated.
17. Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite). Since 2007, the Census Bureau has
placed wireless firms within this new, broad, economic census category.42 Prior to that time, such firms
were within the now-superseded categories of “Paging” and “Cellular and Other Wireless
Telecommunications.”43 Under the present and prior categories, the SBA has deemed a wireless business
to be small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.44 For the category of Wireless Telecommunications
Carriers (except Satellite), Census data for 2007, which supersede data contained in the 2002 Census,
show that there were 1,383 firms that operated that year.45 Of those 1,383, 1,368 had fewer than 100
employees, and 15 firms had more than 100 employees. Thus under this category and the associated small
business size standard, the majority of firms can be considered small. Similarly, according to
Commission data, 413 carriers reported that they were engaged in the provision of wireless telephony,
including cellular service, Personal Communications Service (PCS), and Specialized Mobile Radio
(SMR) Telephony services.46 Of these, an estimated 261 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 152 have


39 See http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-_skip=600&-ds_name=EC0751SSSZ5&;-
_lang=en (last visited May 11, 2011).
40 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517110.
41 TRENDS IN TELEPHONE SERVICE, tbl. 5.3.
42 See U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 NAICS Definitions, “Wireless Communications Carriers (Except Satellite),
NAICS code 517210,” http://www.census.gov/naics/2007/def/ND517210.HTM#N517210 (last visited May 11,
2011).
43See U.S. Census Bureau, 2002 NAICS Definitions, “517211 Paging,”
http://www.census.gov/epcd/naics02/def/NDEF517.HTM (last visited May 11, 2011); and also U.S. Census Bureau,
2002 NAICS Definitions, “517212 Cellular and Other Wireless Telecommunications,”
http://www.census.gov/epcd/naics02/def/NDEF517.HTM (last visited May 11, 2011).
44 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517210 (2007 NAICS). The now-superseded, pre-2007 CFR citations were 13
C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS codes 517211 and 517212 (referring to the 2002 NAICS).
45 See U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 Economic Census, Sector 51, 2007 NAICS code 517210 (rel. Oct. 20, 2009),
http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?—bm=y&-geo—id=&-fds—name=EC0700A1&-—skip=700&-ds—
name=EC0751SSSZ5&-—lang=en (last visited May 11, 2011).
46 See Trends in Telephone Service at Table 5.3.
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more than 1,500 employees.47 Consequently, the Commission estimates that approximately half or more
of these firms can be considered small. Thus, using available data, we estimate that the majority of
wireless firms can be considered small.
18. Wireless Communications Services. This service can be used for fixed, mobile, radiolocation,
and digital audio broadcasting satellite uses. The Commission defined “small business” for the wireless
communications services (WCS) auction as an entity with average gross revenues of $40 million for each
of the three preceding years, and a “very small business” as an entity with average gross revenues of $15
million for each of the three preceding years.48 The SBA has approved these definitions.49 The
Commission auctioned geographic area licenses in the WCS service. In the auction, which commenced
on April 15, 1997 and closed on April 25, 1997, seven bidders won 31 licenses that qualified as very
small business entities, and one bidder won one license that qualified as a small business entity.
19. 1670–1675 MHz Services. This service can be used for fixed and mobile uses, except
aeronautical mobile.50 An auction for one license in the 1670–1675 MHz band commenced on April 30,
2003 and closed the same day. One license was awarded. The winning bidder was not a small entity.
20. Wireless Telephony. Wireless telephony includes cellular, personal communications services,
and specialized mobile radio telephony carriers. As noted, the SBA has developed a small business size
standard for Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite).51 Under the SBA small business
size standard, a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.52 According to Trends in Telephone
Service
data, 413 carriers reported that they were engaged in wireless telephony.53 Of these, an estimated
261 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 152 have more than 1,500 employees.54 Therefore, more than
half of these entities can be considered small.
21. Specialized Mobile Radio Licenses. The Commission awards “small entity” bidding credits
in auctions for Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) geographic area licenses in the 800 MHz and 900 MHz
bands to firms that had revenues of no more than $15 million in each of the three previous calendar
years.55 The Commission awards “very small entity” bidding credits to firms that had revenues of no
more than $3 million in each of the three previous calendar years.56 The SBA has approved these small
business size standards for the 900 MHz Service.57 The Commission has held auctions for geographic
area licenses in the 800 MHz and 900 MHz bands. The 900 MHz SMR auction began on December 5,
1995, and closed on April 15, 1996. Sixty bidders claiming that they qualified as small businesses under
the $15 million size standard won 263 geographic area licenses in the 900 MHz SMR band. The 800
MHz SMR auction for the upper 200 channels began on October 28, 1997, and was completed on


47 See id.
48 Amendment of the Commission’s Rules to Establish Part 27, the Wireless Communications Service (WCS), Report
and Order
, 12 FCC Rcd 10785, 10879, ¶ 194 (1997).
49 See Letter from Aida Alvarez, Administrator, SBA, to Amy Zoslov, Chief, Auctions and Industry Analysis
Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, FCC (filed Dec. 2, 1998) (Alvarez Letter 1998).
50 47 C.F.R. § 2.106; see generally 47 C.F.R. §§ 27.1–.70.
51 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517210.
52 Id.
53 TRENDS IN TELEPHONE SERVICE, tbl. 5.3.
54 Id.
55 47 C.F.R. § 90.814(b)(1).
56 Id.
57 See Letter from Aida Alvarez, Administrator, SBA, to Thomas Sugrue, Chief, Wireless Telecommunications
Bureau, FCC (filed Aug. 10, 1999) (Alvarez Letter 1999).
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December 8, 1997. Ten bidders claiming that they qualified as small businesses under the $15 million
size standard won 38 geographic area licenses for the upper 200 channels in the 800 MHz SMR band.58
A second auction for the 800 MHz band was held on January 10, 2002 and closed on January 17, 2002
and included 23 BEA licenses. One bidder claiming small business status won five licenses.59
22. The auction of the 1,053 800 MHz SMR geographic area licenses for the General Category
channels began on August 16, 2000, and was completed on September 1, 2000. Eleven bidders won 108
geographic area licenses for the General Category channels in the 800 MHz SMR band and qualified as
small businesses under the $15 million size standard.60 In an auction completed on December 5, 2000, a
total of 2,800 Economic Area licenses in the lower 80 channels of the 800 MHz SMR service were
awarded.61 Of the 22 winning bidders, 19 claimed small business status and won 129 licenses. Thus,
combining all four auctions, 41 winning bidders for geographic licenses in the 800 MHz SMR band
claimed status as small businesses.
23. In addition, there are numerous incumbent site-by-site SMR licenses and licensees with
extended implementation authorizations in the 800 and 900 MHz bands. We do not know how many
firms provide 800 MHz or 900 MHz geographic area SMR service pursuant to extended implementation
authorizations, nor how many of these providers have annual revenues of no more than $15 million. In
addition, we do not know how many of these firms have 1,500 or fewer employees, which is the SBA-
determined size standard.62 We assume, for purposes of this analysis, that all of the remaining extended
implementation authorizations are held by small entities, as defined by the SBA.
24. Lower 700 MHz Band Licenses. The Commission previously adopted criteria for defining
three groups of small businesses for purposes of determining their eligibility for special provisions such
as bidding credits.63 The Commission defined a “small business” as an entity that, together with its
affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross revenues not exceeding $40 million for the
preceding three years.64 A “very small business” is defined as an entity that, together with its affiliates
and controlling principals, has average gross revenues that are not more than $15 million for the
preceding three years.65 Additionally, the lower 700 MHz Service had a third category of small business
status for Metropolitan/Rural Service Area (MSA/RSA) licenses—“entrepreneur”—which is defined as
an entity that, together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross revenues that are
not more than $3 million for the preceding three years.66 The SBA approved these small size standards.67
An auction of 740 licenses (one license in each of the 734 MSAs/RSAs and one license in each of the six
Economic Area Groupings (EAGs)) commenced on August 27, 2002, and closed on September 18, 2002.
Of the 740 licenses available for auction, 484 licenses were won by 102 winning bidders. Seventy-two of


58 See Correction to Public Notice DA 96-586 “FCC Announces Winning Bidders in the Auction of 1020 Licenses to
Provide 900 MHz SMR in Major Trading Areas,”
Public Notice, 18 FCC Rcd 18367 (WTB 1996).
59 See Multi-Radio Service Auction Closes, Public Notice, 17 FCC Rcd 1446 (WTB 2002).
60 See 800 MHz Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) Service General Category (851–854 MHz) and Upper Band (861–
865 MHz) Auction Closes; Winning Bidders Announced
, Public Notice, 15 FCC Rcd 17162 (2000).
61 See 800 MHz SMR Service Lower 80 Channels Auction Closes; Winning Bidders Announced, Public Notice, 16
FCC Rcd 1736 (2000).
62 See generally 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517210.
63 See Reallocation and Service Rules for the 698746 MHz Spectrum Band (Television Channels 5259), Report
and Order
, 17 FCC Rcd 1022 (2002) (Channels 5259 Report and Order).
64 See Channels 52–59 Report and Order, 17 FCC Rcd at 1087-88, ¶ 172.
65 See id.
66 See id., 17 FCC Rcd at 1088, ¶. 173.
67 See Alvarez Letter 1999.
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the winning bidders claimed small business, very small business or entrepreneur status and won a total of
329 licenses.68 A second auction commenced on May 28, 2003, closed on June 13, 2003, and included
256 licenses: 5 EAG licenses and 476 Cellular Market Area licenses.69 Seventeen winning bidders
claimed small or very small business status and won 60 licenses, and nine winning bidders claimed
entrepreneur status and won 154 licenses.70 On July 26, 2005, the Commission completed an auction of 5
licenses in the Lower 700 MHz band (Auction No. 60). There were three winning bidders for five
licenses. All three winning bidders claimed small business status.
25. In 2007, the Commission reexamined its rules governing the 700 MHz band in the 700 MHz
Second Report and Order.71 An auction of 700 MHz licenses commenced January 24, 2008 and closed
on March 18, 2008, which included 176 Economic Area licenses in the A Block, 734 Cellular Market
Area licenses in the B Block, and 176 EA licenses in the E Block.72 Twenty winning bidders, claiming
small business status (those with attributable average annual gross revenues that exceed $15 million and
do not exceed $40 million for the preceding three years) won 49 licenses. Thirty three winning bidders
claiming very small business status (those with attributable average annual gross revenues that do not
exceed $15 million for the preceding three years) won 325 licenses.
26. Upper 700 MHz Band Licenses. In the 700 MHz Second Report and Order, the Commission
revised its rules regarding Upper 700 MHz licenses.73 On January 24, 2008, the Commission commenced
Auction 73 in which several licenses in the Upper 700 MHz band were available for licensing: 12
Regional Economic Area Grouping licenses in the C Block, and one nationwide license in the D Block.74
The auction concluded on March 18, 2008, with 3 winning bidders claiming very small business status
(those with attributable average annual gross revenues that do not exceed $15 million for the preceding
three years) and winning five licenses.
27. 700 MHz Guard Band Licensees. In 2000, in the 700 MHz Guard Band Order, the
Commission adopted size standards for “small businesses” and “very small businesses” for purposes of
determining their eligibility for special provisions such as bidding credits and installment payments.75 A
small business in this service is an entity that, together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has
average gross revenues not exceeding $40 million for the preceding three years.76 Additionally, a very
small business is an entity that, together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross
revenues that are not more than $15 million for the preceding three years.77 SBA approval of these
definitions is not required.78 An auction of 52 Major Economic Area licenses commenced on September


68 See Lower 700 MHz Band Auction Closes, Public Notice, 17 FCC Rcd 17272 (WTB 2002).
69 See Lower 700 MHz Band Auction Closes, Public Notice, 18 FCC Rcd 11873 (WTB 2003).
70 See id.
71 700 MHz Second Report and Order, Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd 15289, 15359 n. 434 (2007).
72 See Auction of 700 MHz Band Licenses Closes, Public Notice, 23 FCC Rcd 4572 (WTB 2008).
73 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd 15289.
74 See Auction of 700 MHz Band Licenses Closes, Public Notice, 23 FCC Rcd 4572 (WTB 2008).
75 See Service Rules for the 746–764 MHz Bands, and Revisions to Part 27 of the Commission’s Rules, Second
Report and Order, 15 FCC Rcd 5299 (2000) (746–764 MHz Band Second Report and Order).
76 See 746–764 MHz Band Second Report and Order, 15 FCC Rcd at 5343, para. 108.
77 See id.
78 See id. at 5343, para. 108 n.246 (for the 746–764 MHz and 776–794 MHz bands, the Commission is exempt from
15 U.S.C. § 632, which requires Federal agencies to obtain SBA approval before adopting small business size
standards).
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6, 2000, and closed on September 21, 2000.79 Of the 104 licenses auctioned, 96 licenses were sold to nine
bidders. Five of these bidders were small businesses that won a total of 26 licenses. A second auction of
700 MHz Guard Band licenses commenced on February 13, 2001, and closed on February 21, 2001. All
eight of the licenses auctioned were sold to three bidders. One of these bidders was a small business that
won a total of two licenses.80
28. Air-Ground Radiotelephone Service. The Commission has previously used the SBA’s small
business size standard applicable to Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite), i.e., an
entity employing no more than 1,500 persons.81 There are fewer than 10 licensees in the Air-Ground
Radiotelephone Service, and under that definition, we estimate that almost all of them qualify as small
entities under the SBA definition. For purposes of assigning Air-Ground Radiotelephone Service licenses
through competitive bidding, the Commission has defined “small business” as an entity that, together
with controlling interests and affiliates, has average annual gross revenues for the preceding three years
not exceeding $40 million.82 A “very small business” is defined as an entity that, together with
controlling interests and affiliates, has average annual gross revenues for the preceding three years not
exceeding $15 million.83 These definitions were approved by the SBA.84 In May 2006, the Commission
completed an auction of nationwide commercial Air-Ground Radiotelephone Service licenses in the 800
MHz band (Auction No. 65). On June 2, 2006, the auction closed with two winning bidders winning two
Air-Ground Radiotelephone Services licenses. Neither of the winning bidders claimed small business
status.
29. AWS Services (1710–1755 MHz and 2110–2155 MHz bands (AWS-1); 1915–1920 MHz,
1995–2000 MHz, 2020–2025 MHz and 2175–2180 MHz bands (AWS-2); 2155–2175 MHz band (AWS-
3)).
For the AWS-1 bands, the Commission has defined a “small business” as an entity with average
annual gross revenues for the preceding three years not exceeding $40 million, and a “very small
business” as an entity with average annual gross revenues for the preceding three years not exceeding $15
million.85 In 2006, the Commission conducted its first auction of AWS-1 licenses.86 In that initial AWS-
1 auction, 31 winning bidders identified themselves as very small businesses.87 Twenty-six of the
winning bidders identified themselves as small businesses.88 In a subsequent 2008 auction, the


79 See 700 MHz Guard Bands Auction Closes: Winning Bidders Announced, Public Notice, 15 FCC Rcd 18026
(WTB 2000).
80 See 700 MHz Guard Bands Auction Closes: Winning Bidders Announced, Public Notice, 16 FCC Rcd 4590 (WTB
2001).
81 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS codes 517210.
82 Amendment of Part 22 of the Commission’s Rules to Benefit the Consumers of Air-Ground Telecommunications
Services et al.
, Order on Reconsideration and Report and Order, 20 FCC Rcd 19663, paras. 2842 (2005).
83 Id.
84 See Letter from Hector V. Barreto, Administrator, SBA, to Gary D. Michaels, Deputy Chief, Auctions and
Spectrum Access Division, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, FCC (filed Sept. 19, 2005).
85 See Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 1.7 GHz and 2.1 GHz Bands, Report and Order, 18 FCC
Rcd 25,162, App. B (2003), modified by Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services In the 1.7 GHz and 2.1 GHz
Bands, Order on Reconsideration, 20 FCC Rcd 14,058, App. C (2005).
86 See “Auction of Advanced Wireless Services Licenses Scheduled for June 29, 2006; Notice and Filing
Requirements, Minimum Opening Bids, Upfront Payments and Other Procedures for Auction No. 66,” AU Docket
No. 06-30, Public Notice, 21 FCC Rcd 4562 (2006) (“Auction 66 Procedures Public Notice”).
87 See “Auction of Advanced Wireless Services Licenses Closes; Winning Bidders Announced for Auction No. 66,”
Public Notice, 21 FCC Rcd 10,521 (2006) (“Auction 66 Closing Public Notice”).
88 See id.
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Commission offered 35 AWS-1 licenses.89 Four winning bidders identified themselves as very small
businesses, and three of the winning bidders identified themselves as a small business.90For AWS-2 and
AWS-3, although we do not know for certain which entities are likely to apply for these frequencies, we
note that the AWS-1 bands are comparable to those used for cellular service and personal
communications service. The Commission has not yet adopted size standards for the AWS-2 or AWS-3
bands but has proposed to treat both AWS-2 and AWS-3 similarly to broadband PCS service and AWS-1
service due to the comparable capital requirements and other factors, such as issues involved in relocating
incumbents and developing markets, technologies, and services.91
30. 3650–3700 MHz band. In March 2005, the Commission released a Report and Order and
Memorandum Opinion and Order that provides for nationwide, non-exclusive licensing of terrestrial
operations, utilizing contention-based technologies, in the 3650 MHz band (i.e., 3650–3700 MHz).92 As
of April 2010, more than 1270 licenses have been granted and more than 7433 sites have been registered.
The Commission has not developed a definition of small entities applicable to 3650–3700 MHz band
nationwide, non-exclusive licensees. However, we estimate that the majority of these licensees are
Internet Access Service Providers (ISPs) and that most of those licensees are small businesses.
31. Fixed Microwave Services. Microwave services include common carrier,93 private-
operational fixed,94 and broadcast auxiliary radio services.95 They also include the Local Multipoint
Distribution Service (LMDS),96 the Digital Electronic Message Service (DEMS),97 and the 24 GHz
Service,98 where licensees can choose between common carrier and non-common carrier status.99 The
Commission has not yet defined a small business with respect to microwave services. For purposes of the
IRFA, the Commission will use the SBA’s definition applicable to Wireless Telecommunications Carriers
(except satellite)—i.e., an entity with no more than 1,500 persons is considered small.100 For the category


89 See AWS-1 and Broadband PCS Procedures Public Notice, 23 FCC Rcd at 7499. Auction 78 also included an
auction of broadband PCS licenses.
90 See “Auction of AWS-1 and Broadband PCS Licenses Closes, Winning Bidders Announced for Auction 78,
Down Payments Due September 9, 2008, FCC Forms 601 and 602 Due September 9, 2008, Final Payments Due
September 23, 2008, Ten-Day Petition to Deny Period,” Public Notice, 23 FCC Rcd 12,749 (2008).
91 Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 1915–1920 MHz, 1995–2000 MHz, 2020–2025 MHz and
2175–2180 MHz Bands et al., Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 19 FCC Rcd 19,263, App. B (2005); Service Rules
for Advanced Wireless Services in the 2155–2175 MHz Band, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 22 FCC Rcd 17,035,
App. (2007); Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 2155-2175 MHz Band, Further Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking
, 23 FCC Rcd 9859, App. B (2008).
92 The service is defined in section 90.1301 et seq. of the Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. § 90.1301 et seq.
93 See 47 C.F.R. Part 101, Subparts C and I.
94 See 47 C.F.R. Part 101, Subparts C and H.
95 Auxiliary Microwave Service is governed by Part 74 of Title 47 of the Commission’s Rules. See 47 C.F.R. Part
74. Available to licensees of broadcast stations and to broadcast and cable network entities, broadcast auxiliary
microwave stations are used for relaying broadcast television signals from the studio to the transmitter, or between
two points such as a main studio and an auxiliary studio. The service also includes mobile TV pickups, which relay
signals from a remote location back to the studio.
96 See 47 C.F.R. Part 101, Subpart L.
97 See 47 C.F.R. Part 101, Subpart G.
98 See id.
99 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 101.533, 101.1017.
100 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517210.
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of Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite), Census data for 2007, which supersede data
contained in the 2002 Census, show that there were 1,383 firms that operated that year.101 Of those 1,383,
1,368 had fewer than 100 employees, and 15 firms had more than 100 employees. Thus under this
category and the associated small business size standard, the majority of firms can be considered small.
The Commission notes that the number of firms does not necessarily track the number of licensees. The
Commission estimates that virtually all of the Fixed Microwave licensees (excluding broadcast auxiliary
licensees) would qualify as small entities under the SBA definition.
32. Local Multipoint Distribution Service. Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS) is a
fixed broadband point-to-multipoint microwave service that provides for two-way video
telecommunications.102 In the 1998 and 1999 LMDS auctions,103 the Commission defined a small
business as an entity that has annual average gross revenues of less than $40 million in the previous three
calendar years.104 Moreover, the Commission added an additional classification for a “very small
business,” which was defined as an entity that had annual average gross revenues of less than $15 million
in the previous three calendar years.105 These definitions of “small business” and “very small business” in
the context of the LMDS auctions have been approved by the SBA.106 In the first LMDS auction, 104
bidders won 864 licenses. Of the 104 auction winners, 93 claimed status as small or very small
businesses. In the LMDS re-auction, 40 bidders won 161 licenses. Based on this information, the
Commission believes that the number of small LMDS licenses will include the 93 winning bidders in the
first auction and the 40 winning bidders in the re-auction, for a total of 133 small entity LMDS providers
as defined by the SBA and the Commission’s auction rules.
5.

Satellite Service Providers

33. Satellite Telecommunications Providers. Two economic census categories address the
satellite industry. The first category has a small business size standard of $15 million or less in average
annual receipts, under SBA rules.107 The second has a size standard of $25 million or less in annual
receipts.108
34. The category of Satellite Telecommunications “comprises establishments primarily engaged
in providing telecommunications services to other establishments in the telecommunications and
broadcasting industries by forwarding and receiving communications signals via a system of satellites or
reselling satellite telecommunications.”109 Census Bureau data for 2007 show that 512 Satellite


101 See U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 Economic Census, Sector 51, 2007 NAICS code 517210 (rel. Oct. 20, 2009),
http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-fds_name=EC0700A1&-_skip=700&;-
ds_name=EC0751SSSZ5&-_lang=en (last visited May 11, 2011).
102 See Local Multipoint Distribution Service, Second Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd 12545 (1997).
103 The Commission has held two LMDS auctions: Auction 17 and Auction 23. Auction No. 17, the first LMDS
auction, began on February 18, 1998, and closed on March 25, 1998. (104 bidders won 864 licenses.) Auction No.
23, the LMDS re-auction, began on April 27, 1999, and closed on May 12, 1999. (40 bidders won 161 licenses.)
104 See LMDS Order, 12 FCC Rcd at 12545.
105 Id.
106 See Letter to Daniel Phythyon, Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (FCC) from A. Alvarez,
Administrator, SBA (January 6, 1998).
107 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517410.
108 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517919.
109 See U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 NAICS Definitions, “517410 Satellite Telecommunications.
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Telecommunications firms that operated for that entire year.110 Of this total, 464 firms had annual
receipts of under $10 million, and 18 firms had receipts of $10 million to $24,999,999.111 Consequently,
the Commission estimates that the majority of Satellite Telecommunications firms are small entities that
might be affected by our action.
35. The second category, i.e., “All Other Telecommunications” comprises “establishments
primarily engaged in providing specialized telecommunications services, such as satellite tracking,
communications telemetry, and radar station operation. This industry also includes establishments
primarily engaged in providing satellite terminal stations and associated facilities connected with one or
more terrestrial systems and capable of transmitting telecommunications to, and receiving
telecommunications from, satellite systems. Establishments providing Internet services or Voice over
Internet protocol (VoIP) services via client-supplied telecommunications connections are also included in
this industry.”112 For this category, Census Bureau data for 2007 show that there were a total of 2,383
firms that operated for the entire year.113 Of this total, 2,346 firms had annual receipts of under $25
million and 37 firms had annual receipts of $25 million to $49, 999,999.114 Consequently, the
Commission estimates that the majority of All Other Telecommunications firms are small entities that
might be affected by our action.
6.

Cable Service Providers.

36. Wired Telecommunications Carriers. The 2007 North American Industry Classification
System (“NAICS”) defines “Wired Telecommunications Carriers” as follows: “This industry comprises
establishments primarily engaged in operating and/or providing access to transmission facilities and
infrastructure that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using
wired telecommunications networks. Transmission facilities may be based on a single technology or a
combination of technologies. Establishments in this industry use the wired telecommunications network
facilities that they operate to provide a variety of services, such as wired telephony services, including
VoIP services; wired (cable) audio and video programming distribution; and wired broadband Internet
services. By exception, establishments providing satellite television distribution services using facilities
and infrastructure that they operate are included in this industry.”115 The SBA has developed a small
business size standard for wireline firms within the broad economic census category, “Wired
Telecommunications Carriers.”116 Under this category, the SBA deems a wireline business to be small if
it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census data for 2007, which supersede data from the 2002 Census, show
that 3,188 firms operated n 2007 as Wired Telecommunications Carriers. 3,144 had 1,000 or fewer
employees, while 44 operated with more than 1,000 employees.117


110 See http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-_skip=900&-ds_name=EC0751SSSZ4&;-
_lang=en (last visited May 11, 2011).
111 Id.
112 See http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/sssd/naics/naicsrch?code=517919&search=2007%20NAICS%20Search (last
visited May 11, 2011).
113 See http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-_skip=900&-ds_name=EC0751SSSZ4&;-
_lang=en (last visited May 11, 2011).
114 See http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-_skip=900&-ds_name=EC0751SSSZ4&;-
_lang=en (last visited May 11, 2011).
115 See U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 NAICS Definitions, “517110 Wired Telecommunications Carriers,”
http://www.census.gov/naics/2007/def/ND517110.HTM#N517110 (last visited May 11, 2011).
116 13 C.F.R. § 121.201 (NAICS code 517110).
117 See http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-_skip=900&-ds_name=EC0751SSSZ4&;-
_lang=en (last visited May 11, 2011).
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37. Cable Companies and Systems. The Commission has also developed its own small business
size standards, for the purpose of cable rate regulation. Under the Commission’s rules, a “small cable
company” is one serving 400,000 or fewer subscribers nationwide.118 Industry data indicate that all but
ten cable operators nationwide are small under this size standard.119 In addition, under the Commission’s
rules, a “small system” is a cable system serving 15,000 or fewer subscribers.120 Industry data indicate
that, of 6,101 systems nationwide, 4,410 systems have under 10,000 subscribers, and an additional 258
systems have 10,000-19,999 subscribers.121 Thus, under this standard, most cable systems are small.
38. Cable System Operators. The Communications Act of 1934, as amended, also contains a size
standard for small cable system operators, which is “a cable operator that, directly or through an affiliate,
serves in the aggregate fewer than 1 percent of all subscribers in the United States and is not affiliated
with any entity or entities whose gross annual revenues in the aggregate exceed $250,000,000.”122 The
Commission has determined that an operator serving fewer than 677,000 subscribers shall be deemed a
small operator, if its annual revenues, when combined with the total annual revenues of all its affiliates,
do not exceed $250 million in the aggregate.123 Industry data indicate that, of 1,076 cable operators
nationwide, all but ten are small under this size standard.124 We note that the Commission neither
requests nor collects information on whether cable system operators are affiliated with entities whose
gross annual revenues exceed $250 million,125 and therefore we are unable to estimate more accurately
the number of cable system operators that would qualify as small under this size standard.

D.

Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance
Requirements

39. The rules adopted in this Report and Order require interconnected VoIP providers to submit
electronically a notification to the Commission within 240 minutes of discovering that they have
experienced on any facilities that they own, operate, lease, or otherwise utilize, an outage of at least 30
minutes’ duration that potentially affects a 9-1-1 special facility. The rules also require that such any such
providers submit an electronic notification within 24 hours of discovering that they have experienced an
outage of at least 30 minutes duration that potentially affects at least 900,000 user minutes of
interconnected VoIP service and results in complete loss of service; or potentially affects any special
offices and facilities. The rules require that providers submit electronically a Final Communications
Outage Report to the Commission not later than thirty days after discovering the outage; and clarify that
the Part 4 rules apply to new wireless technologies.


118 47 C.F.R. § 76.901(e). The Commission determined that this size standard equates approximately to a size
standard of $100 million or less in annual revenues. Implementation of Sections of the 1992 Cable Act: Rate
Regulation,
Sixth Report and Order and Eleventh Order on Reconsideration, 10 FCC Rcd 7393, 7408 (1995).
119 See BROADCASTING & CABLE YEARBOOK 2010 at C-2 (2009) (data current as of Dec. 2008).
120 47 C.F.R. § 76.901(c).
121 See TELEVISION & CABLE FACTBOOK 2009 at F-2 (2009) (data current as of Oct. 2008). The data do not
include 957 systems for which classifying data were not available.
122 47 U.S.C. § 543(m)(2); see 47 C.F.R. § 76.901(f) & nn. 1–3.
123 47 C.F.R. § 76.901(f); see FCC Announces New Subscriber Count for the Definition of Small Cable Operator,
Public Notice, 16 FCC Rcd 2225 (Cable Services Bureau 2001).
124 See BROADCASTING & CABLE YEARBOOK 2006, at A-8, C-2 (Harry A. Jessell ed., 2005) (data current as of June
30, 2005); TELEVISION & CABLE FACTBOOK 2006, at D-805 to D-1857 (Albert Warren ed., 2005).
125 The Commission does receive such information on a case-by-case basis if a cable operator appeals a local
franchise authority’s finding that the operator does not qualify as a small cable operator pursuant to § 76.901(f) of
the Commission’s rules. See 47 C.F.R. § 76.909(b).
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E.

Steps Taken to Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and
Significant Alternatives Considered

40. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered in
reaching its final approach, which may include (among others) the following four alternatives: (1) the
establishment of differing compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into account the
resources available to small entities; (2) the clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance or
reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; (3) the use of performance, rather than design,
standards; and (4) an exemption from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities.126
41. The Commission considered two significant alternatives to the rules as adopted, for the
benefit (.i.e., less compliance cost) of small business: (1) a small business exception, under which small
business would ultimately need to comply with the rules, but on a more relaxed basis, with significantly
more time to contact the Commission regarding on outage, and (2) a small business exemption, under
which small businesses would be exempt completely from the rules, except with respect to outages of 30
minutes or more to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) or special facilities. In considering these
alternatives, the Commission was concerned about the compliance burden on small interconnected VoIP
providers.
42. The Commission ultimately rejected these alternatives, and decided to make the rule
generally applicable. The Commission’s reasons were many. The rules proposed in the NPRM , in
particular those related to broadband monitoring and quality of service metrics, may have created
considerable administrative and logistic burden for all providers, and for small providers in particular.
Instead of requiring a wide variety of outage information from broadband access, broadband backbone,
and interconnected VoIP providers, the Commission is requiring limited information from interconnected
VoIP providers only, which dramatically decreases compliance costs. Further, as noted throughout the
Report and Order, the Commission believes all parties covered by these rules, including small businesses,
already collect the information the Commission seeks, if only because it is in their own interest to know
the circumstances of a significant network outage. In the Commission’s view, establishing a generally-
applicable reporting rule will promote both safety and network reliability; people and business that are
customers of smaller VoIP providers are entitled to no less.
43. Expected data collection costs. The Commission believes that, because every interconnected
VoIP service provider has a competitive interest in providing reasonable network reliability to satisfy
their customers, such providers already track the type of information the Commission seeks this sort of
information in some manner, and thus would not be an additional undue administrative burden. We note
also that the configuration of VoIP service should already make this information available for all
providers. End-user VoIP terminals are IP-enabled devices that run Simple Network Management
Protocol (SNMP) with the associated Management Information Base (MIB). Thus, the Network
Management System (NMS) of interconnected VoIP providers is able to auto-poll or execute a manual
poll of a portion or all of its VoIP-enabled devices to determine connectivity.127 The inability of a VoIP-
enabled device to connect with its call management system (SIP proxy, Call Manager, etc.) prevents the
end-user VoIP-enabled device from making a call, whether or not the end-user device has IP connectivity.
This call management system is similar to SS7, where a similar failure would also prevent voice service.
These types of failures, if large enough, would most certainly generate a “trouble ticket” or, for smaller
incidents, register on similar systems that track outages and customer technical issues. Therefore, we


126 5 U.S.C. § 603(c).
127 At the FCC Workshop, Mark Adams commented: “So, at a basic level, we obviously do device level monitoring,
and based on the types of devices, we know generally -- not always, but generally -- is it completely service
affecting, or is it going to result in some kind of degradation. So we do device level monitoring. We monitor our
end points for on or off status right through the switches, and through our cable modems.” Mark Adams, Executive
Director, Technology Operations, Cox Communications, FCC Workshop, Transcript at 106.
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conclude that interconnected VoIP service providers have a relatively low-cost ability to monitor VoIP-
enabled end-user devices for connectivity. Additionally, we note that no commenter indicated it would
need to purchase and install any additional equipment into its network to detect when a large number of
VoIP customers are out of service.
44. Expected data reporting costs. Because service providers already have technical and
competitive reasons to collect outage information in the normal course of business, the costs of
compliance with a reporting requirement are essentially those of identifying those outages that meet the
reporting threshold and reformatting and uploading that information into Network Outage Reporting
System (NORS). The vast majority of interconnected VoIP customers are served by providers that
already have years of experience filing outage reports in NORS with respect to other services. Starting
with information in the record from parties with experience filing in NORS and extrapolating that to the
total cost that industry will bear to start reporting significant interconnected VoIP outages in NORS, we
estimate that industry-wide the total operating cost for reporting on interconnected VoIP outages and
administering outage reporting programs likely is less than $1 million in the first year128 and less than
$500,000 per year thereafter for all the providers who will report.129
45. Finally, the Commission’s experience suggests that few, if any, small interconnected VoIP
providers will ever reach the threshold of experiencing an outage (as defined by the Part 4 rules, and as
requiring notification to the Commission). Based on NORS reporting, only a handful of small entities
ever have endured an outage that reaches the minimum “30 minutes/900,000 user minutes” threshold.
Should such an outage befall a small provider, the benefit of providing various information on that outage
would clearly outweigh whatever negligible burden might exist. While the burden of reporting may be
small, the benefit of such reporting are nation-wide, by allowing the Commission to better understand the
causes of network outages, and the steps that can be taken to prevent them.


128 Commission staff estimate first-year costs to include one-time training costs of $416,000 to train approximately
300 new reporting entities (i.e., 5 employees * 100 large service providers * 4 hours * $80/hour = $160,000 and 2
employees * 200 small service providers * 8 hours * $80/hrs = $256,000 for a total of $416,000 in first-year training
costs) in addition to the annual cost to report outages and administer the outage reporting program. According to
data received on Form 477, there are 466 companies providing interconnected VoIP service. Of those companies,
staff estimates that at least one-third are already under obligation to report outages of legacy services under the
existing Part 4 rules, and that therefore, approximately 300 providers of interconnected VoIP service will now be
obligated to report outages that meet the thresholds of the new rule. Based on years of experience coordinating with
reporting entities, Commission staff estimates that the largest companies train an average of five staff on outage
reporting, and that smaller companies train up to two. In terms of the amount of training necessary, staff estimates
that four hours of training will be required for staff in those companies that are already reporting outages of legacy
services, and twice that amount will be required for companies that are new to outage reporting. Labor costs were
assumed to be $80 per hour. As discussed below, the anticipated reporting costs are $450,000. Therefore, the
anticipated first-year costs are $416,000 plus $450,000, or approximately $866,000.
129 Commission staff estimates the annual outage reporting costs to be $450,000 (i.e., $300 per report * 1,500
additional reports). Underlying this calculation is the comment of ATIS that one carrier has indicated its average
labor costs associated solely with the preparation of outage reports is approximately $300 per report. See ATIS
Comments at 7, n.9. With respect to the number of expected additional reports, staff extrapolated from several years
of outage reporting data regarding wireline service outages (which are functionally equivalent to outages of
interconnected VoIP services) and estimates that up to 1,500 additional outage reports per year might be filed for the
entire interconnected VoIP industry. Thus, 1,500 reports * $300/report equals $450,000 annual cost for outage
reporting.
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APPENDIX C

Final Rules

For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal Communications Commission amends Part 4 of
Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) as follows:

PART 4 – DISRUPTIONS TO COMMUNICATIONS

GENERAL

The authority citation for Part 4 is amended to read as follows:

Authority:

Sec. 5, 48 Stat. 1068, as amended; 47 U.S.C. 154, 155, 201, 251, 307, 316, 615a-1, 1302(a),
and 1302(b).
1. Section 4.3 is amended by amending paragraph (f) and adding paragraphs (h), resulting in original
paragraph (h) now numbered as paragraph (i), to read as follows:
§ 4.3 Communications providers covered by the requirements of this part.
* * * * *
(f) Wireless service providers include Commercial Mobile Radio Service communications
providers that use cellular architecture and CMRS paging providers. See § 20.9 of this chapter
for the definition of Commercial Mobile Radio Service. Also included are affiliated and non-
affiliated entities that maintain or provide communications networks or services used by the
provider in offering such communications.
* * * * *
(h) Interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers are providers of interconnected
VoIP service. See § 9.3 of this chapter for the definition of interconnected VoIP service. Such
providers may be facilities-based or non-facilities-based. Also included are affiliated and non-
affiliated entities that maintain or provide communications networks or services used by the
provider in offering such communications.
(i) Exclusion of equipment manufacturers or vendors. Excluded from the requirements of this
Part 4 are those equipment manufacturers or vendors that do not maintain or provide
communications networks or services used by communications providers in offering
communications.
2. Section 4.7 is amended by changing paragraph (e) as follows:
§ 4.7 Definitions of metrics used to determine the general outage-reporting threshold
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criteria.
* * * * *
(e) “User minutes” are defined as:
(1) Assigned telephone number minutes (as defined in paragraph (c) of this
section), for telephony, including non-mobile interconnected VoIP telephony, and
for those paging networks in which each individual user is assigned a telephone
number;
(2) The mathematical result of multiplying the duration of an outage, expressed in
minutes, by the number of end users potentially affected by the outage, for all
other forms of communications. For wireless service providers and interconnected
VoIP service providers to mobile users, the number of potentially affected users
should be determined by multiplying the simultaneous call capacity of the
affected equipment by a concentration ratio of 8.
* * * * *
3. Section 4.9 is amended by adding paragraphs (g) to read as follows
§ 4.9 Outage reporting requirements – threshold criteria.
* * * * *
(g) Interconnected VoIP Service Providers. All interconnected VoIP service providers shall
submit electronically a Notification to the Commission:
(1) within 240 minutes of discovering that they have experienced on any facilities that they
own, operate, lease, or otherwise utilize, an outage of at least 30 minutes duration that
potentially affects a 9-1-1 special facility (as defined in (e) of § 4.5), in which case they
also shall notify, as soon as possible by telephone or other electronic means, any official
who has been designated by the management of the affected 9-1-1 facility as the
provider’s contact person for communications outages at that facility, and the provider
shall convey to that person all available information that may be useful to the
management of the affected facility in mitigating the effects of the outage on efforts to
communicate with that facility; or
(2) within 24 hours of discovering that they have experienced on any facilities that they own,
operate, lease, or otherwise utilize, an outage of at least 30 minutes duration:
(a) That potentially affects at least 900,000 user minutes of interconnected VoIP service
and results in complete loss of service; or
(b) That potentially affects any special offices and facilities (in accordance with
paragraphs (a)-(d) of § 4.5).
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Not later than thirty days after discovering the outage, the provider shall submit electronically a
Final Communications Outage Report to the Commission. The Notification and Final reports
shall comply with all of the requirements of § 4.11.
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STATEMENT OF

CHAIRMAN JULIUS GENACHOWSKI

Re:
Proposed Extension of Part Four of the Commission’s Rules Regarding Outage Reporting To
Interconnected Voice Over Internet Protocol Service Providers and Broadband Internet Service
Providers
, PS Docket No. 11-82
With today’s action, the FCC is helping ensure that our communications infrastructure is more
resilient. We are helping ensure that consumers will have access to reliable phone service, particularly
when calling 9-1-1, whether they are using a traditional telephone or one that operates by interconnected
VoIP service.
Public safety is a core mission for the agency. As part of that charge, the FCC has a statutory
obligation to ensure the public can make emergency calls, particularly when facing life-threatening
situations.
We are working to improve 9-1-1 service and reliability on several fronts. Last year, we laid out a
five-point action plan on the transition to Next Generation 9-1-1, which we continue to work on. The
plan calls for (1) development of location accuracy mechanisms for NG9-1-1, (2) enabling consumers to
send text, photos, and videos to 9-1-1 call centers, (3) facilitating the completion and implementation of
NG911 technical standards, (4) developing an NG9-1-1 governance framework, and (5) developing an
NG911 funding model. The Plan will increase public access to 9-1-1, provide enhanced information to
first responders, and increase the reliability of 9-1-1 networks. As part of that plan, we have launched a
proceeding to accelerate the development and deployment of Next Generation 9-1-1, and we have tasked
our Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council advisory committee to make
recommendations on incorporating new technologies into the 9-1-1 system.
The action we take today is part of this broader effort. Since its creation in 2005, the FCC’s
current network outage reporting system – or NORS – has resulted in demonstrably higher reliability for
our 9-1-1 system.
The outage data the FCC receives is analyzed and helps us spot trends and patterns that can affect
all carriers and networks. The FCC works with the carriers based on actual data to improve day-to-day
reliability, resulting in a more resilient communications infrastructure during emergencies.
But the existing Part 4 Outage Reporting rules apply only to legacy communications systems, not
to outages occurring over interconnected VoIP services. As a result, during emergencies like Hurricane
Irene this past summer, the Commission has not had the information it needs to analyze major outages of
interconnected VoIP service.
This is a glaring gap that I’m pleased we are closing today. Approximately 31% of U.S. wireline
consumers currently use VoIP as their residential phone service, and the number of VoIP users is only
growing. If you need to call 9-1-1, it shouldn’t matter who provides your telephone service.
Since public safety is a core mission of the FCC, we will continue to be vigilant to ensure
reliability as communications technologies develop. For example, we intend to work with Internet
Service Providers on mechanisms for voluntary reporting of broadband outages.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the public safety officials, carriers, cable systems and
communications providers who worked with us on this important step to promote communications
network reliability and ensure that the 9-1-1 system is secure and robust. I recognize that this requires a
commitment on your part, and I appreciate your partnership in this effort.
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FCC 12-22

I also want to thank the staff of our Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau for their superb
work on this item.
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Federal Communications Commission

FCC 12-22

STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER ROBERT M. McDOWELL

Re:
Proposed Extension of Part Four of the Commission’s Rules Regarding Outage Reporting To
Interconnected Voice Over Internet Protocol Service Providers and Broadband Internet Service
Providers
, PS Docket No. 11-82
Today, the FCC acts to collect important data regarding service outages experienced by
interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers and, more importantly, their customers. My
colleagues and I agree on the vital importance of voice calls, especially those to 9-1-1. All Americans
rightly expect their emergency calls to go through even though most may not be aware of the technologies
involved, how the systems operate or their regulatory treatment. I am grateful to all of the commenters
for sharing their important insights and marketplace experiences regarding network outage reporting in
response to last year’s notice of proposed rulemaking.

Given its narrow scope, I am voting to approve today’s order. Although our notice of proposed
rulemaking discussed an array of regulatory mandates, today we adopt reporting requirements only in
instances of a complete loss of interconnected VoIP service. There is a longstanding recognition that
ensuring clear and effective communications in times of emergency is a key aspect of the Commission’s
mission. Collecting data on significant outages from VoIP providers will help the Commission in its duty
to ensure the reliability and resiliency of our nation’s 9-1-1 voice systems, consistent with Congress’s
mandate set forth in Section 615a-1 of the Communications Act. Moreover, in the reporting context, we
put VoIP providers on par with wireline and wireless voice service providers, who already submit this
information to the Commission and have for some time.

It is important to emphasize that we are not imposing these rules on broadband service providers,
whether wireline or wireless. As I have stated many times before, the Commission does not have the
legal authority to regulate broadband in such a way. I thank the Chairman for his willingness to accept
edits to provide greater clarity regarding the narrow scope of the rules we adopt today, as well as to curtail
the possibility of broadening their applicability. I have every confidence that industry will continue to
work with the Commission on network outage matters for the benefit of protecting the safety and security
of the American people.
As always, I thank the folks in the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau for your
diligence and thoughtful work.
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Federal Communications Commission

FCC 12-22

STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER MIGNON L. CLYBURN

Re:
Proposed Extension of Part Four of the Commission’s Rules Regarding Outage Reporting To
Interconnected Voice Over Internet Protocol Service Providers and Broadband Internet Service
Providers
, PS Docket No. 11-82
With today’s Order, the Commission takes an important step to improve the reliability of an
advanced communications network that has, over the past few years, become increasingly popular. In
2008, Congress believed that Voice over Internet Protocol service was becoming such an integral part of
the nation’s communications infrastructure that it passed the NET-9-1-1 Act. This federal law states that
“it shall be the duty of each IP-enabled voice service provider to provide 9-1-1 service and enhanced 9-1-
1 service to its subscribers.” The NET-9-1-1 Act also required VoIP service providers to comply with
any rule changes the FCC might adopt for this 9-1-1 service.
Developments, since the enactment of this statute, underscore how important it is that Americans
have the ability to make 9-1-1 calls through interconnected VoIP networks. As of December 2010,
almost 32 million American households and businesses have interconnected VoIP subscriptions. That
number represents an increase of 46 percent between December 2008 and December 2010. However,
over the past two years, there have been a number of news reports of lengthy VoIP outages. In one case,
a carrier experienced an outage where more than one million customers lost interconnected VoIP service
for over four hours.
The President has assigned the FCC the mission essential function of ensuring continuous
operation of critical communications services. So when the FCC hears news reports about VoIP service
outages, it is incumbent upon the Commission to do everything in its power, to prevent such outages in
the future.
As the item explains, the Commission has been able to improve the emergency readiness of
traditional services such as: voice and paging services over wire line, wireless, cable, and satellite
networks. And, it has been able to make these improvements through a light regulatory touch. By that, I
mean, the Commission uses outage reporting requirements to facilitate the development and use of
voluntary best practices, instead of relying on measures such as mandating specific levels of performance.
What we are doing, today, is applying the same regulatory light touch to improving the reliability of
interconnected VoIP services.
I also agree with the item’s decision not to impose reporting requirements for outages of
broadband Internet service. Although the NPRM proposed such requirements, the record in response
revealed technical issues that the staff must study before imposing reporting requirements on this service.
I am encouraged, however, that the record also reveals a willingness of the industry to participate in a
voluntary process to help the Commission study these technical issues.
As I have said, before, collaboration by all stake holders is the best approach to address difficult
issues. We have seen this approach work well in other public safety contexts such as E-9-1-1 location
accuracy requirements for wireless service providers. Today is another example of this successful
approach. I thank the various stakeholders who have worked with the staff of the Public Safety and
Homeland Security Bureau to arrive at the rules we adopt today. The collaboration and input from VoIP
service providers, state and local governments, and others, such as my former colleagues at NARUC,
enabled the Commission to arrive at important reporting requirements that are not burdensome.
I commend Chairman Genachowski and Admiral Jamie Barnett for their leadership in this
important proceeding.
73

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