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FCC Encourages Providers to Implement 911 Best Practices

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Released: June 6, 2012

PUBLIC NOTICE

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th St., S.W.

Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

Washington, D.C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

DA 12-891

Released: June 6, 2012

FCC’S PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU REMINDS

TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICE PROVIDERS OF IMPORTANCE OF IMPLEMENTING

ESTABLISHED 9-1-1 AND ENHANCED 9-1-1 SERVICES BEST PRACTICES

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Public Safety and Homeland Security
Bureau (Bureau) encourages telecommunications service providers to adhere to 9-1-1/Enhanced 9-1-1 (9-
1-1/E9-1-1) service best practices developed by the former Network Reliability and Interoperability
Council (NRIC)1 and by its replacement the Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability
Council.2 Specifically, the Bureau reminds telecommunications service providers of the importance of
providing diversity and redundancy in the provisioning of 9-1-1/E9-1-1 services. The need to maintain
diversity and relevant best practices were addressed also in a March 2010 Bureau public notice,3 and the
Bureau reiterates the importance of these practices to reliable and continuous 9-1-1/E9-1-1 service.
Based on submissions in the Commission’s Network Outage Reporting System (NORS)4 and
publicly available data, the Bureau has observed a number of major 9-1-1/E9-1-1 service outages caused
by inadequate diversity and/or the failure to maintain diversity. Most of these major outages could have
been prevented if existing NRIC best practices had been followed. In one recent case, the location
information for wireless 9-1-1 calls from a 9-1-1 service provider entered a wireline carrier’s network at
two diverse entry points. The wireline carrier had two diverse Automatic Location Identification (ALI)5
databases to send the location information on wireless 9-1-1. However, all physical paths from the two
diverse entry points had a single point of failure, resulting in an outage that impacted service to a
significant number of PSAPs covering a large geographic region.


1 The Network Reliability and Interoperability Council (NRIC) was a Federal Advisory Committee to advise the
Commission regarding network reliability and interoperability. Many telecommunications service providers
participated in NRIC and the process of developing and recommending best practices.
2 Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC), a Federal Advisory Committee on
which many 9-1-1/E9-1-1 service providers are represented, is currently tasked with recommending best practices
and other actions the Commission can take to enhance the security, reliability and operability of communications
systems, including 9-1-1/E9-1-1. CSRIC II Working Group 4A recently recommended additional best practices for
9-1-1 and E9-1-1, available at http://transition.fcc.gov/pshs/advisory/csric/.
3 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,
DA10-494, released March 24, 2010.
4 The Network Outage Reporting System (NORS) is the Internet-based filing system through which communications
providers submit reports of service disruptions to the FCC. See 47 C.F.R. Part 4.
5 The Automatic Line Identification feature automatically provides the location of the E9-1-1 caller to the PSAP.

NRIC best practice 7-7-0566 addresses 9-1-1/E9-1-1 communications services and specifically
identifies the need for diversity in equipment and lines used to provide 9-1-1/E9-1-1 communications
services. The Bureau reminds service providers of this best practice and two others that could help
prevent the type of major 9-1-1/E9-1-1 outages we have recently observed.
8-7-0566: Network Operators and Service Providers should
consider placing and maintaining 9-1-1 circuits over diverse
interoffice transport facilities (e.g., geographically diverse facility
routes, automatically invoked standby routing, diverse digital cross-
connect system services, self-healing fiber ring topologies, or any
combination thereof).6 (Emphasis added.)
8-8-0575: Network Operators and Service Providers should deploy
Diverse Automatic Location Identification systems used in Public
Safety (e.g., Automatic Location Identification and Mobile
Positioning Center systems) in a redundant, geographically diverse
fashion (i.e., two identical ALI/MPC data base systems with
mirrored data located in geographically diverse locations). 7
8-7-0532: Diversity Audit - Network Operators should periodically
audit the physical and logical diversity called for by network design
and take appropriate measures as needed.8
The need to maintain diversity in 9-1-1/E9-1-1 service connections was also recognized by the
Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) in its National Diversity Assurance
Initiative,9 which found that maintaining physical diversity requires periodic audits. In arriving at this
conclusion, ATIS established ten diverse pairs of circuits and found that only four were still physically
diverse one year later.
All NRIC best practices are available on the Commission’s website in a searchable database at
https://www.fcc.gov/nors/outage/bestpractice/BestPractice.cfm.
For further information, contact Jeffery Goldthorp, Associate Chief for Cybersecurity and
Communications Reliability, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, (202) 418-1096,
jeffery.goldthorp@fcc.gov or John Healy, Assistant Chief, Cybersecurity and Communications
Reliability Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, (202) 418-2448, john.healy@fcc.gov.


6 Available at https://www.fcc.gov/nors/outage/bestpractice/ProcessBestPractice.cfm?RequestTimeout=500 (last
visited May 31, 2012).
7 Id.
8 Id.
9 Alliance for Telecommunications Solutions (ATIS), National Diversity Assurance Initiative Final Report, February
2006, available at http://transition.fcc.gov/bureaus/pshs/docs/clearinghouse/ATIS_NDAI_Final_Report_2006.pdf
(last visited May 31, 2012).
2

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