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FCC Proposes to Improve 9-1-1 Reliability

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Released: March 20, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

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Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)
Improving 9-1-1 Reliability
)
PS Docket No. 13-75
)
Reliability and Continuity of Communications
)
Networks, Including Broadband Technologies
)
PS Docket No. 11-60

NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING

Adopted: March 20, 2013

Released: March 20, 2013

Comment Date: [30 days after date of publication in Federal Register]
Reply Comment Date: [45 days after date of publication in Federal Register]

By the Commission: Chairman Genachowski and Commissioners McDowell, Clyburn, Rosenworcel
and Pai issuing separate statements.

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Notice or NPRM), we seek comment on
approaches to ensure the reliability and resiliency of the communications infrastructure necessary to
ensure continued availability of the Nation’s 9-1-1 system, particularly during times of major disaster.
We take this action in response to the findings and recommendations presented in the Public Safety and
Homeland Security Bureau’s (PSHSB or Bureau) January 10, 2013, report titled Impact of the June 2012
Derecho on Communications Networks and Services: Report and Recommendations (Derecho Report).1
In that report, following an extensive inquiry and review of comments, the Bureau found that the June
2012 derecho2 affecting the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic United States severely disrupted 9-1-1-related
communications and that these disruptions were due in large part to avoidable planning and systems
failures within 9-1-1 service providers’ networks. The Bureau concluded that these failures could, and
would, have been avoided if providers had followed industry best practices and other sound engineering
principles. Unlike a hurricane or superstorm predicted well in advance, the derecho arrived with very
little notice, testing the preparedness and resiliency of 9-1-1 communications in the face of a sudden
emergency. This test revealed serious vulnerabilities that cannot be overlooked. Accordingly, the Bureau
recommended that the Commission consider action in the following areas: (1) 9-1-1 circuit auditing; (2)

1 FCC PUB. SAFETY & HOMELAND SEC. BUREAU, IMPACT OF THE JUNE 2012 DERECHO ON COMMUNICATIONS
NETWORKS AND SERVICES: REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS (PSHSB, rel. Jan. 10, 2013), available at
http://www.fcc.gov/document/derecho-report-and-recommendations (Derecho Report).
2 The National Weather Service defines a derecho as “a widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a
band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms. Although a derecho can produce destruction similar to that of
tornadoes, the damage typically is directed in one direction along a relatively straight swath. As a result, the term
‘straight-line wind damage’ sometimes is used to describe derecho damage. By definition, if the wind damage
swath extends more than 240 miles (about 400 kilometers) and includes wind gusts of at least 58 mph (93 km/h) or
greater along most of its length, then the event may be classified as a derecho.” Robert H. Johns, Jeffry S. Evans, &
Stephen F. Corfidi, About Derechos, NOAA-NWS-NCEP STORM PREDICTION CTR. (Nov.7, 2012),
http://www.spc.noaa.gov/misc/AbtDerechos/derechofacts.htm.

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9-1-1 service provider central office backup power; (3) physical diversity of monitor and control links;
and (4) improved outage notification to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). This Notice seeks
comment on approaches to implement these recommendations.
2.
Our action today helps fulfill Congress’s charge to the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC or Commission) to ensure that communications networks of all types “promot[e]
safety of life and property.”3 Congress has also tasked the Commission with more specific
responsibilities relating to 9-1-1 service, in order to “ensur[e] that 911 service is available throughout the
country,”4 and in order to encourage and facilitate a “reliable” nationwide “infrastructure for
communications . . . to meet the Nation’s public safety and other communications needs.”5 Central to this
important responsibility is promoting the reliability and resiliency of critical communications
infrastructure at all times, including in times of natural and other disasters.
3.
Today’s Notice also builds on the Commission’s previous efforts to ensure that the public
has access to a state-of-the-art, reliable, and resilient 9-1-1 communications system. Most notably, the
Commission has taken a number of steps to promote the deployment of Next Generation 9-1-1
(NG9-1-1), an Internet Protocol (IP)-based architecture that can provide an expanded array of emergency
communications services, including improved 9-1-1 redundancy and reliability,6 compared to the circuit-
switched system. In September 2011, the Commission released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that
sought comment on a number of issues related to the deployment of NG9-1-1.7 In December 2012, the
Commission secured a voluntary commitment from the four largest wireless carriers to make text-to-9-1-1
available to their customers by May 15, 2014.8 Building on this commitment, the Commission has since
proposed to require all wireless carriers and certain other text providers to provide text-to-9-1-1 capability
to their customers within the same or a similar timeframe.9 In addition, in May 2012, the Commission
promoted the reliability of 9-1-1 for consumers relying on interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol
(VoIP) technologies by requiring interconnected VoIP service providers to report major disruptions to

3 47 U.S.C. § 151; see also 47 U.S.C. § 154(o) (addressing the “[U]se of communications in safety of life and
property”).
4 See Nuvio Corp. v. FCC, 473 F.3d 302, 311 (D.C. Cir. 2007) (Kavanaugh, J., concurring) (citing ENHANCE 911
Act of 2004, Pub. L. No. 108-494, § 102, 118 Stat. 3986, and stating that a universal 9-1-1 number with enhanced
capabilities should be available to all citizens in all regions of the nation).
5 Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999, Pub. L. No. 106-81, § 2(b), 113 Stat. 1286.
6 NG9-1-1’s use of IP-based architecture provides far more routing options than circuit-switched architecture
because it is not constrained by the location of the caller or the nearest PSAP to the caller. For example, in circuit-
switched networks, selective routers must be relatively close to the PSAPs they serve, whereas in NG9-1-1, 9-1-1
traffic can be easily rerouted to servers and locations outside the affected area, providing more resiliency and
redundancy in disaster situations. See Framework for Next Generation 911 Deployment, PS Docket No. 10-255,
Notice of Inquiry, 25 FCC Rcd 17869, 17880-81, ¶¶ 26, 29 (2010) (NG9-1-1 NOI).
7 See Facilitating the Deployment of Text-to-911 & Other Next Generation 911 Applications, Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking
, PS Docket No. 11-153, 26 FCC Rcd 13615 (2011).
8 See Letter from Terry Hall, APCO International, Barbara Jaeger, NENA, Charles W. McKee, Sprint Nextel, Robert
W. Quinn, Jr, AT&T, Kathleen O’Brien Ham, T-Mobile USA, and Kathleen Grillo, Verizon, to Julius Genachowski,
Chairman, Federal Communications Commission, and Commissioners McDowell, Clyburn, Rosenworcel and Pai;
PS Docket 11-153, PS Docket No. 10-255 (Dec. 6, 2012).
9 See Facilitating the Deployment of Text-to-911 & Other Next Generation 911 Applications, Further Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking
, PS Docket No. 11-153, 27 FCC Rcd 15659 (2012).
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communications services.10 Most recently, in February 2013, the Commission submitted a report to
Congress regarding the legal framework for deployment of NG9-1-1.11
4.
Taking a broader look at network reliability, in 2011, the Commission released a Notice
of Inquiry in this docket which sought comment on the reliability, resiliency, and continuity of our
Nation’s communications networks, including broadband technologies.12 Among other topics, we
inquired about “the ability of communications networks to provide continuity of service during major
emergencies, such as large-scale natural and man-made disasters.”13 The Commission also discussed a
variety of actions it could take “to foster improved performance with respect to the reliability and
continuity of operations.”14 Observing that “access to communications services increasingly becomes a
matter of life or death” during natural or human-caused disasters, the Commission emphasized that
“[p]eople dialing 9-1-1, whether using legacy or broadband-based networks, must be able to reach
emergency personnel for assistance.”15 Through this proceeding, the Commission sought to develop a
record aimed at strengthening communications networks and ensuring that emergency communications
services are available when they are needed most. More recently, in November 2012, Chairman Julius
Genachowski announced field hearings in which the Commission would gather information regarding the
reliability of the Nation’s communications networks.16 The first hearing, held on February 5, 2013, in
New York City and in Hoboken, New Jersey, focused on the severe impact to communications resulting
from Superstorm Sandy, the response, and access to information during the storm’s aftermath.17 A
second hearing on February 28, 2013, at Moffett Federal Airfield in California, focused on how
innovative network technologies, smart power solutions, social media, and mobile applications might
improve communications network resiliency in times of disaster.18

10 See Proposed Extension of Part 4 of the Commission’s Rules Regarding Outage Rule To Interconnected Voice
Over Internet Protocol Service Providers and Broadband Internet Service Providers, PS Docket No. 11-82, Report
and Order
, 27 FCC Rcd 2650 (2012).
11 See RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NEXT GENERATION 9-1-1 LEGAL FRAMEWORK: FCC REPORT TO CONGRESS (2013)
(submitted pursuant to § 6509 of the Next Generation 9-1-1 Advancement Act of 2012, enacted as part of the
Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-96, tit. VI, subtitle E) (NG9-1-1 Legal
Framework Report).
12 See In the Matter of Reliability and Continuity of Communications Networks, Including Broadband Technologies,
et al., Notice of Inquiry, PS Docket No. 11-60, et al., 26 FCC Rcd 5614 (2011) (Reliability NOI).
13 Id. at 5615, ¶ 2.
14 Id.
15 Id. at 5616, ¶ 5.
16 See News Release, FCC Chairman Genachowski Announces Post-Superstorm Sandy Field Hearings to Examine
New Challenges to Resiliency of U.S. Communications Networks During Natural Disasters & Other Times of Crisis
(Nov. 21, 2012), available at http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2012/db1121/DOC-
317543A1.pdf.
17 See FCC Announces Date and Locations for the First Post-Superstorm Sandy Field Hearing, Public Notice, DA
13-19 (Jan. 8, 2013), available at http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2013/db0108/DA-13-
19A1.pdf. While the hearings focus on communications reliability more generally, this Notice focuses on actions
specifically related to those entities providing 9-1-1 service as defined below, in light of the devastating impact
caused by the unanticipated June 2012 derecho on 9-1-1 communications.
18 See FCC Announces Additional Details of Second Field Hearing, Public Notice, DA 13-289 (Feb. 26, 2013)
available at http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-announces-additional-details-second-field-hearing.
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5.
In issuing this Notice, the Commission seeks comment on proposed approaches to
address the major recommendations in the Derecho Report with a view toward ensuring that the
devastating impact to 9-1-1 that resulted from the June 2012 derecho does not occur in the future. In
doing so, we seek to weigh both public safety concerns and the benefits of flexibility for service providers
in how they design and operate their networks and deploy advanced technologies. Our response takes
into account the evolving nature of network technologies, as well as the continuing migration of circuit-
switched services to IP-based platforms. Thus, any rules or other policies designed to improve 9-1-1
service reliability will be developed with the ongoing transition to NG9-1-1 in mind. We also seek to
avoid imposing burdensome constraints on providers in designing and maintaining their networks. At the
same time, the Bureau’s recommendations are largely drawn from industry best practices developed
through recognized fora. These recommendations have been acknowledged by industry to be best
practices, and many have been implemented to some degree already. In too many cases, however, neither
these best practices nor other compensating steps were sufficiently implemented to safeguard the public’s
access to 9-1-1 call centers.
6.
We recognize that each individual 9-1-1 network is complex and unique in many ways,
and that the reliability issues discussed in this Notice may not lend themselves to simple solutions based
on generalized assumptions. We therefore pose a variety of questions intended to develop a complete
record of the technological and policy considerations involved in 9-1-1 reliability, both now and in the
future. We also provide a range of proposals to implement each of the Bureau’s recommendations and
seek comment on all available options, including but not limited to the specific proposals identified in this
Notice. These include proposals to adopt reliability standards for 9-1-1 service providers,19 as well as less
prescriptive alternative approaches, such as requiring certification by a corporate officer that the company
has implemented best practices and sound engineering principles, including any specific exceptions. We
then propose specific revisions to the Commission’s existing rules regarding notification of PSAPs
affected by 9-1-1 outages. After identifying alternative approaches, we seek comment on which would be
most effective in implementing each recommendation, alone or in combination, in light of all relevant
considerations.

II.

BACKGROUND

7.
On June 29, 2012, a fast-moving derecho storm brought a wave of destruction across
wide swaths of the United States, beginning in the Midwest and continuing through the Appalachians and
Mid-Atlantic states until the early morning of June 30. The derecho resulted in 22 deaths and widespread
property damage, and left millions of residents without electrical power for as long as two weeks. While
the landfall of a hurricane can often be predicted days in advance, allowing first responders and
communications providers time to prepare, the derecho moved rapidly across multiple states with very
little warning, putting critical infrastructure to an unexpected test.
8.
The derecho caused particularly widespread disruptions to 9-1-1 services.20 From
isolated breakdowns in Ohio, New Jersey, Maryland, and Indiana, to systemic failures in northern
Virginia and West Virginia, a significant number of 9-1-1 systems and services were partially or

19 The Derecho Report focused on the performance during the derecho of 9-1-1 service providers, which, as noted in
the Report, are the providers (typically Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs)) responsible for routing and
delivering 9-1-1 calls to PSAPs. Derecho Report at 9, n.23. Recognizing, as the Bureau did in its Report, see id.,
that the transition to NG9-1-1 may broaden the class of entities that typically provide such service, we are seeking
comment on defining the term “9-1-1 service provider.” See infra ¶ 23.
20 See, e.g., Patricia Sullivan, 911 Failure Affected 2.3 Million in Northern Virginia, WASH. POST, July 11, 2012.
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completely down for as long as several days. In all, at least seventeen 9-1-1 call centers in three states
lost service completely, affecting the ability of more than 2 million residents to reach 9-1-1.21 Across the
storm’s path, at least seventy-seven PSAPs serving more than 3.6 million people in six states lost some
degree of network connectivity, including vital information on the location of 9-1-1 callers.22 To put
those numbers in perspective, nearly 9 percent of all PSAPs in the six affected states experienced some
loss of service, affecting more than 8 percent of those states’ total residents. The effects were particularly
severe in northern Virginia, where four PSAPs in the densely-populated National Capital Region lost
service completely, and in West Virginia, where eleven PSAPs could not receive 9-1-1 calls for as long as
twelve hours.23 Other affected PSAPs lost links providing automatic location information (ALI)24 or had
to reroute calls to other jurisdictions.
9.
Immediately after communications and 9-1-1 services were restored, the Bureau began a
comprehensive inquiry to determine why each outage occurred and how such problems could be
prevented in the future. The Bureau analyzed more than 500 confidential Network Outage Reporting
System (NORS) reports25 containing telling information on the cause, duration, and resolution of each
outage. The Bureau also activated a modified and targeted version of the Disaster Information Reporting
System (DIRS)26 allowing service providers in the area hit hardest by the storm to submit status reports to
the Commission on a voluntary basis.27 After the storm, Bureau staff interviewed representatives of eight
communications providers, 28 PSAPs, three battery manufacturers, one generator manufacturer, and

21 Derecho Report at 4.
22 Id.
23 Id. at 28-34.
24 ALI provides the PSAP with the caller’s telephone number, the address/location of the telephone, and
supplementary emergency services information. See Glossary of Technical Terms: Wireless E9-1-1,
http://www.apcowireless.com/library/ICMAGlossary.pdf.
25 NORS is the Commission’s mandatory web-based filing system through which communications providers
covered by the Part 4 outage reporting rules must 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. The
Cybersecurity and Communications Reliability Division of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau
administers NORS, monitors the outage reports submitted through NORS, and performs analyses and studies of the
communications disruptions reported. Generally, a NORS report must be filed when the effects of an outage reach a
certain threshold (e.g., lasting at least thirty minutes and potentially affecting 900,000 user-minutes). Then, the
filing party has up to thirty days to supplement the filing with more complete information. See 47 C.F.R. § 4.1 et
seq.; see also Network Outage Reporting System (NORS)
, FCC,
http://transition.fcc.gov/pshs/services/cip/nors/nors.html (last visited Feb. 19, 2013) (discussing NORS reporting
requirements).
26 DIRS is a voluntary, web-based system that communications companies, including wireless, wireline, broadcast,
and cable providers, can use to report communications infrastructure status and situational awareness information
during times of crisis. See Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS), FCC
http://transition.fcc.gov/pshs/services/cip/dirs/dirs.html (last visited Feb. 19, 2013) (discussing DIRS reporting and
enrollment process) Information submitted into DIRS is presumed confidential but may be shared with federal
agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security on a confidential basis. See The FCC’s Public Safety and
Homeland Security Bureau Launches Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS), Public Notice, DA 07-3871
(PSHSB 2007).
27 Sometimes a modified version of DIRS is activated, which calls for only certain fields in the system to be
completed and only by certain types of communications providers. During the derecho, for example, the
Commission did not seek DIRS data from companies such as broadcasters, who were generally understood to be less
adversely impacted by this storm.
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numerous state and county entities. These interactions, which included six supplemental data requests,
clarified and expanded the information the Commission had already received via NORS and DIRS. In
addition, the Bureau participated in several federal, state, and local meetings and hearings on the effects
of the derecho.28
10.
On July 18, 2012, the Bureau released a Public Notice seeking comment on issues
surrounding the derecho, including the cause of the outages, their effect on public safety, and the
resiliency and reliability of 9-1-1 networks generally.29 This Public Notice helped focus the
Commission’s ongoing proceeding regarding the reliability and continuity of communications networks30
on actions to ensure dependable 9-1-1 service, both now and in an NG9-1-1 environment. In response to
the Public Notice, the Bureau received several dozen filings, including comments and reply comments
from communications providers and trade associations, PSAPs and public safety groups, and private
citizens. These comments represented a diverse range of interests, from local governments concerned
about a pattern of 9-1-1 outages31 to communications providers calling for new best practices to address
problems they experienced during the derecho.32
11.
In the course of its inquiry, the Bureau found that many communications outages during
the derecho, including 9-1-1 outages, could have been prevented through implementation of industry best
practices developed by entities such as the Commission’s Communications Security, Reliability, and
Interoperability Council (CSRIC)33 and the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS)
Network Reliability Steering Committee (NRSC).34 The Bureau found that, above and beyond any
physical destruction by the derecho, 9-1-1 communications were disrupted in large part because of
avoidable planning and system failures, including inadequate physical diversity and a lack of functional

28 See Resilient Communications: Current Challenges and Future Advancement: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on
Emergency Preparedness, Response, & Commc’ns of the H. Comm. on Homeland Sec.
, 112th Cong. (Sept. 12,
2012) (statement of David S. Turetsky, Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau); Reliability of the
District’s 911 Call System: Hearing Before the D.C. Council Comm. on the Judiciary
(Sept. 20, 2012) (statement of
David S. Turetsky, Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau); COG to Review 9-1-1 Outages and Other
Failures Resulting from “Derecho,”
METRO. WASH. COUNCIL OF GOV’TS (Jul. 11, 2012), available at
http://www.mwcog.org/news/press/detail.asp?NEWS_ID=584..
29 Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Seeks Comment On 9-1-1 Resiliency and Reliability in Wake of
June 29, 2012, Derecho Storm in Central, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeastern United States, PS Docket No. 11-60,
Public Notice, 27 FCC Rcd 8131 (PSHSB July 18, 2012) (Derecho Public Notice).
30 See Reliability NOI, 26 FCC Rcd at 5614.
31 See, e.g., Comments of Fairfax County, Virginia, PS Docket No. 11-60, at 18-20 (Aug. 17, 2012) (Fairfax County
Comments).
32 See, e.g., Comments of Verizon and Verizon Wireless, PS Docket No. 11-60, at 14 (Aug. 17, 2012) (Verizon
Comments).
33 See FCC Encyclopedia, Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council, FCC,
http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/communications-security-reliability-and-interoperability-council-iii (last visited
Feb. 19, 2013). CSRIC replaces the Network Reliability and Interoperability Council (NRIC), which performed a
similar role from 1992 until CSRIC’s creation in 2007.
34 The ATIS NRSC “strives to improve network reliability by providing timely consensus-based technical and
operational expert guidance to all segments of the public communications industry.” See Network Reliability
Steering Committee (NRSC)
, ATIS, http://www.atis.org/NRSC/index.asp (last visited Feb. 19, 2013). The NRSC
advises the communications industry through developing and issuing standards, technical requirements, technical
reports, bulletins, best practices, and annual reports.
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backup power in central offices.35 Network monitoring systems also failed, depriving communications
providers of visibility into critical network functions.36
12.
For example, the 9-1-1 outages in northern Virginia resulted from backup generator
failures in two Verizon Communications, Inc. (Verizon) central offices, one of which was the sole
monitoring point for dozens of other facilities.37 In that office, two interdependent generators must
operate in tandem to provide adequate power, contravening a CSRIC best practice and leading to a
complete failure of backup power when one generator failed to start.38 A lack of physical diversity in
Verizon’s network also contributed to the 9-1-1 outages as single failures isolated large portions of the
9-1-1 network and disabled monitoring functions, preventing repair crews from receiving alarms.39 In
West Virginia, Frontier Communications Corp. (Frontier) also experienced generator failures and
deficiencies in network redundancy, compromising network monitoring functions and disrupting service
to multiple PSAPs.40 In most cases, the Bureau concluded, 9-1-1 and other communications problems
during the derecho could have been avoided if service providers had followed industry best practices,
their own internal policies, and other sound engineering principles, most of which were developed by the
industry.41
13.
Many of the vulnerabilities revealed by the derecho hinge on the concept of physical
diversity. Under generally accepted definitions, physical diversity means that two circuits follow
different paths separated by some physical distance so that a single failure such as a power outage,
equipment failure, or cable cut will not result in both circuits failing.42 For example, two circuits that ride
over the same fiber optic cable are not physically diverse, even though they utilize different fibers in that
cable and may be logically diverse for purposes of transmitting data. We seek comment on this definition
and any other concept of network diversity we should consider.
14.
In the Derecho Report, the Bureau detailed the findings of its inquiry and provided
recommendations for Commission action to ensure that service providers take appropriate steps to
improve the reliability and resiliency of 9-1-1 communications. Noting that service providers have often
been encouraged to implement industry-led best practices on a voluntary basis,43 but have not been

35 Derecho Report at 1.
36 See id. at 18, 21, 40-41.
37 See id. at 16-19.
38 Id. at 16-17.
39 Id. at 18.
40 See id. at 21, 33-34.
41 Id. at 39-41.
42 See, e.g., FCC PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU, TECH TOPIC 14: DIVERSITY, REDUNDANCY,
AND RESILIENCY - IN THAT ORDER, available at http://transition.fcc.gov/pshs/techtopics/techtopics14.html (“Route
diversity is generally defined as the communications routing between two points over more than one geographic or
physical path with no common points.”)
43 See, e.g., 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, Public Notice, DA 12-
891, 27 FCC Rcd 6085 (PSHSB rel. June 6, 2012) (“[T]he Bureau reminds telecommunications service providers of
the importance of providing diversity and redundancy in the provisioning of 9-1-1/E9-1-1 services”) (2012 Best
Practices PN
); see also 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,
(continued….)
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required to do so by Commission rules, the report recommended that the Commission take action to
ensure:44

Routine 9-1-1 Circuit Auditing:

If service providers do not regularly audit the physical routes
of 9-1-1 circuits and ALI links, they may be unaware of avoidable single points of failure in their
9-1-1 networks and unable to identify and correct instances where a single failure could disrupt
vital services to PSAPs and the public in an emergency. The Bureau therefore recommended that
service providers conduct periodic auditing of 9-1-1 circuits to maintain diversity, with this
auditing obligation to extend only to these high-priority circuits. The Bureau’s recommendation
did not necessarily encompass a requirement that providers diversify all circuits in particularly
expensive areas.45 CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-0532 provides that “[n]etwork operators should
periodically audit the physical and logical diversity called for by network design and take
appropriate measures as needed.”46 Seeing data that raised concerns about whether this practice
had been implemented, the Bureau has twice issued reminders.47 Yet during the derecho, the
public experienced the consequences of inadequate diversity of critical circuits, and we believe
providers were unaware of information they could have used to avoid this problem because they
had not conducted audits for physical diversity

Adequate Central Office Backup Power:

As the derecho made clear, reliable central office
backup power is essential for communications during large-scale emergencies, and backup power
failures in these key facilities can disable 9-1-1 communications services for an entire
community. The Bureau therefore recommended the Commission take action to ensure that
service providers maintain robust, resilient backup power in central offices, supported by
appropriate testing, maintenance, and records retention.48 Most service providers recognize the
importance of these practices in principle, but they may give way in the daily press of business,
with potentially dire consequences.

Physical Diversity of Monitor and Control Links:

The derecho revealed how vital it is for
9-1-1 service providers to have physically diverse monitor and control links and capabilities
throughout their networks to ensure accurate, timely situational awareness and rapid recovery
from outages. The Bureau therefore recommended that service providers maintain physically
diverse monitor and control links.49

Improved PSAP Notification When Outages Affect 9-1-1 Service:

Section 4.9 of the
Commission’s rules requires service providers experiencing an outage that potentially affects a
(Continued from previous page)
Public Notice, DA 10-494, 25 FCC Rcd 2805 (PSHSB rel. March 24, 2010) (“[T]he Bureau has observed a
significant number of 911/E911 service outages caused by a lack of diversity that could have been avoided at little
expense to the service provider”) (2010 Best Practices PN).
44 See Derecho Report at 40-41.
45 See id. at 40.
46 See CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-0532, available at
https://www.fcc.gov/nors/outage/bestpractice/DetailedBestPractice.cfm?number=8-7-0532.
47 See 2012 Best Practices PN, supra note 43; 2010 Best Practices PN, supra note 43.
48 See Derecho Report at 40.
49 See Derecho Report. at 40-41.
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PSAP to notify the PSAP “as soon as possible.”50 The Bureau recommended that the
Commission consider stating with more specificity what is expected of providers, including, for
example, acceptable methods of notification and a minimum level of detail in the information
provided to PSAPs.51
15.
The Bureau’s report provided additional recommendations for service providers and
PSAPs based on lessons learned during the derecho and called for the development of new best practices
consistent with sound engineering principles identified in the report.52 It also noted the relative advantage
in reliability and performance that NG9-1-1 technologies based on an IP architecture will offer compared
to the “legacy” 9-1-1 systems affected by the derecho.53

III.

DISCUSSION

16.
In this Notice, we seek comment on actions to improve 9-1-1 network reliability in light
of the widespread service outages encountered during the derecho and its aftermath, as well as numerous
9-1-1 outages over the years that have caused us to remind service providers of vital best practices.54 As
explained in greater detail below, we are considering a number of options to implement the Bureau’s
recommendations for Commission action in the Derecho Report. Our overarching goal in this portion of
the docketed Reliability and Continuity proceeding is to ensure the reliability and resiliency of the 9-1-1
system so that consumers can reach emergency assistance when they need it.
17.
While there is some potential difficulty in quantifying specific benefits and burdens of
implementing these recommendations, we seek to determine the benefits to consumers and other
communications users that would result from each proposal. Our intent is to maximize those consumer
benefits while taking into consideration any burden on service providers. We therefore request comment
on a range of questions that will help us to weigh the costs and benefits of each approach to strengthening
the reliability and resiliency of critical 9-1-1 communications infrastructure. For each cost or benefit
addressed, we ask that commenters provide specific data and information such as actual or estimated
dollar figures, including a description of how the data or information was calculated or obtained and any
supporting documentation.55 All comments will be considered and given appropriate weight; vague or
unsupported assertions regarding costs or benefits generally will receive less weight and be less
persuasive than the more specific and supported statements. We anticipate that many service providers
have implemented these recommendations to some degree and, to the extent that they correspond to
established best practices, may already budget for the costs of doing so.

A.

Need for Commission Action

18.
The Commission previously has addressed communications reliability issues by working
with service providers to develop voluntary best practices, and by measuring the effectiveness of those

50 See 47 C.F.R. § 4.9.
51 Derecho Report at 41.
52 See id. at 41-43.
53 See id. at 43-44.
54 See 2012 Best Practices PN, supra note 43; 2010 Best Practices PN, supra note 43.
55 To the extent that filers believe that any of this information could be considered confidential, please see
instructions for filing materials under a claim of confidentiality, infra, ¶ 85.
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best practices through outage reporting. The outage reporting process has often been effective in
improving the reliability, resiliency, and security of many communications services. The June 2012
derecho, however, revealed the limits of that approach and highlighted the potential benefits and
importance of supplementing a voluntary approach with respect to critical 9-1-1 communications.
Although many 9-1-1 service providers have participated in industry efforts to develop best practices
related to critical circuit diversity, backup power, and other vital topics, the Derecho Report found that
multiple 9-1-1 service providers failed to implement those practices effectively or at all, leading to
emergency communications outages affecting millions of Americans.56 Furthermore, despite the
Commission’s current outage-reporting requirements, multiple PSAPs did not receive timely or adequate
notification of these outages, compounding the difficulty of providing emergency assistance until service
was restored.57 These failures could have been prevented, and the Commission has a statutory mandate to
ensure that its rules and policies advance public safety objectives.58
19.
We therefore seek comment on the extent to which 9-1-1 failures during the derecho
reflect the reliability of 9-1-1 networks nationwide. Why would PSAPs located in other parts of the
Nation be more or less vulnerable to the effects of a storm like the derecho? To what extent have service
providers affected by the derecho addressed vulnerabilities revealed by the storm, both in the affected
region and across their entire service areas? What specific remedial actions have these service providers
taken, particularly with respect to critical circuit auditing, functional central office backup power, and
diversity of monitoring links, and when were those actions completed? Has the experience of the derecho
caused other 9-1-1 service providers to reexamine their network architecture and maintenance practices,
and what have those efforts revealed about the reliability and resiliency of the Nation’s 9-1-1
infrastructure as a whole? What changes have been made to improve 9-1-1 reliability and resiliency?
What assurance does the Commission have that these changes will persist?
20.
Although we intend the approaches in this Notice to complement and strengthen – not to
replace – the Commission’s current approach to network reliability, we seek comment on the appropriate
balance between voluntary best practices and Commission mandates as they relate to 9-1-1
communications. Some commenters have suggested that the best way to ensure a reliable and resilient 9-
1-1 network is to develop new or modified best practices based on lessons learned in the derecho, rather
than adopt any rules in the wake of the derecho and its lessons.59 In light of the many existing best
practices addressing these issues and service providers’ failure to implement them fully, however, we
seek comment on whether there is any assurance that additional voluntary best practices would
necessarily lead to effective and consistent compliance without additional Commission action, especially
after such dangerous failures potentially affected millions of people. The Derecho Report noted that
multiple 9-1-1 service providers implemented best practices to varying degrees, or adopted key best
practices in theory, with substantial exceptions in day-to-day operation.60 To what extent are network
reliability best practices, particularly those regarding physical auditing of critical circuits, functional and

56 See Derecho Report at 39-41.
57 See id. at 29, 41.
58 See 47 U.S.C. §§ 151, 154(o).
59 See Verizon Comments at 14-15.
60 See Derecho Report at 17-18, 32-34. For example, one 9-1-1 service provider reported that despite an internal
policy requiring testing of generators under actual site load, it had suspended site-load testing in a key central office
for at least several months before the derecho. Another service provider apparently recognized the importance of
diverse network monitoring links, but disconnected a redundant circuit several days before the storm and failed to
reconnect it.
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well-maintained central office backup power, and diversity of network monitoring links, followed today?
What evidence exists that they are followed? What circumstances might lead to these best practices not
being followed? What measures can be taken to compensate for the failure to implement a best practice
so that 9-1-1 reliability is not impaired? What evidence exists to substantiate that these measures are
taken routinely when best practices are not followed? What incentives do service providers have to
implement best practices, and are those incentives sufficient? Beyond general agreement with best
practices, what assurances can 9-1-1 service providers make to ensure rigorous implementation on a
nationwide basis?
21.
Which advisory bodies do service providers look to for guidance regarding best practices,
e.g., CSRIC, ATIS, Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO), National
Emergency Number Association (NENA), or other organizations? What best practices are followed today
other than those adopted by CSRIC? What relevant industry standards are followed routinely? If so, are
they preferred over the best practices adopted by CSRIC? What evidence exists that these standards are
routinely followed? How do they differ from the best practices issued by CSRIC? For example, are there
specific regional circumstances that would make it more difficult or expensive to perform critical circuit
auditing? Do service providers take measures to compensate for failing to implement the best practice in
these instances? What evidence exists to substantiate that these measures are actually taken? Should
certain best practices be considered critical for some parts of the country and not others? If existing best
practices have proven difficult for service providers to implement or inadequate to prevent
communications outages, what can be done to update or revise those practices to reflect lessons learned in
the derecho? Which best practices, specifically, should be added or expanded, and would such changes
make service providers more likely to comply in the future?
22.
As the Bureau observed, “[t]he public’s inability to reach 9-1-1 and obtain emergency
assistance during and after the derecho was not just a theoretical or abstract concern.”61 Indeed, the
ability to call 9-1-1 during a disaster, medical emergency, or other time of need may literally make the
difference between life and death. Because the public’s need for emergency response is particularly acute
during natural disasters, severe weather cannot by itself excuse failures in a 9-1-1 network that should be
designed to withstand such events, even when they arrive unexpectedly. A broad range of comments
from state and local governments, as well as public safety entities themselves, 62 support the Bureau’s
finding that such failures are unacceptable, and that additional Commission action is warranted –
particularly if the rate of failure in the region affected by the derecho reflects vulnerabilities in 9-1-1
infrastructure nationwide. Although NG9-1-1 will enhance 9-1-1 reliability, the circuit-switched system
will be in use for quite some time. We therefore seek comment on the relevance of the transition to NG9-
1-1, as it relates to the need for Commission action in this proceeding, and the approaches contemplated
in the Commission’s recent report to Congress with respect to this transition.63

B.

Entities Subject to Proposals

23.
We seek comment on the class of entities to which the proposals put forward for

61 Derecho Report at 4.
62 See id. at 39-41; Fairfax County Comments at 29; VA. STATE CORP. COMM’N, IN THE MATTER OF INVESTIGATING
911 EMERGENCY CALL SERVICE OUTAGES AND PROBLEMS, CASE NO. PUC-2012-0042, STAFF REPORT OF
PRELIMINARY FINDINGS 8 (2012) (Virginia SCC Report); METRO. WASH. COUNCIL OF GOV’TS 9-1-1
TELECOMMUNICATIONS NETWORK STEERING GROUP, PRELIMINARY REPORT OF 9-1-1 SERVICE GAPS DURING AND
FOLLOWING THE DERECHO STORM ON JUNE 29, 2012, 15-17 (2012) (MWCOG Report).
63 See NG9-1-1 Legal Framework Report, supra note 11.
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consideration in this Notice would apply. Throughout this Notice we use the term “9-1-1 service
provider,” defined in the Derecho Report as a communications provider “responsible for routing and
delivering 9-1-1 calls to PSAPs.”64 These providers are typically ILECs, though as the Bureau explained,
the transition to NG9-1-1 may broaden the class of entities that perform this function.65 Accordingly, we
seek comment on defining the term “9-1-1 service provider.” We anticipate that the proposals in this
Notice would apply to all 9-1-1 service providers, and tentatively define that term to include all entities,
including ILECs, that provide 9-1-1 call routing, ALI, emergency services Internet protocol networks
(ESInets), and similar services directly to a PSAP.66 Is that definition sufficient to capture all the entities
that both now and in the future could provide functions necessary to the provision of such services to a
PSAP?67 If not, how should this term be defined? For example, should any of the proposals apply to
other types of wireline service providers, wireless service providers, interconnected VoIP service
providers, or other potential means of reaching a PSAP as NG9-1-1 broadens the range of entities capable
of delivering 9-1-1 service? Should reliability standards or certification requirements extend to data
centers and other facilities that may in the future be used to host NG9-1-1 components? Are there certain
proposals from which non-ILEC service providers should expressly be exempt? To the extent that any of
the implementation approaches would impose obligations on entities regulated as common carriers under
Title II of the Communications Act, should there be a mechanism for cost recovery beyond the 9-1-1
related tariff mechanisms already in place?

C.

Implementation Approaches

24.
In this section, we seek comment on four possible approaches to implement the
recommendations for Commission action in the Derecho Report. We seek input on whether each of these
approaches can stand alone, or whether the Commission should adopt two or more options as part of an
integrated approach (e.g., reporting, certification, performance reliability requirements). As noted above,
these proposals are intended to complement, rather than to replace, the Commission’s current support for
implementation of best practices developed through cooperation with industry and advisory bodies. We
also seek comment on the suitability of each of the approaches described in Section D below, as well as
any other approaches the Commission should consider. However the Commission decides to proceed, a
meaningful level of specificity is essential for any approach to be effective. We therefore seek comment
on the suitability of existing best practices as a basis for any rules we may adopt.68 Although each

64 Derecho Report at 9, n.23.
65 See id.
66 One proposed revision to the Commission’s outage reporting rules could affect a broader range of service
providers currently required to notify PSAPs of outages that potentially affect a “911 special facility.” See 47
C.F.R. § 4.9(a)(4) (cable providers); 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(c)(2)(iv) (satellite providers); 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(e)(5) (wireless
providers); 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(f)(4) (wireline providers) 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(g)(i) (interconnected VoIP providers). For
further detail, see infra ¶¶ 67-74.
67 See Facilitating the Deployment of Text-to-911 and Other Next Generation 911 Applications; Framework for
Next Generation 911 Deployment, PS Docket Nos. 11-153 and 10-255, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 11-
134, 26 FCC Rcd 13615, 13663-64, ¶ 119 (2011), available at
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-11-134A1.pdf. (discussing role of entities including System
Service Providers (SSPs), non-interconnected VoIP providers, and “broadband access providers, network operators,
and other entities involved in the provision of broadband Internet access” in routing calls in a NG9-1-1
environment); see also NG9-1-1 Legal Framework Report, supra note 11, at 11 (noting that “[w]ith NG911 . . .
network servers can be located and replicated anywhere, and 911 traffic can be transmitted over multiple IP-based
networks, including networks that carry other traffic as well”).
68 We pose this question in light of our understanding that service providers may currently implement best practices
to varying degrees. The Derecho Report, for example, noted that one 9-1-1 service provider largely avoided
(continued….)
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proposal is intended to be flexible, commenters should describe in detail how they propose to implement
their preferred approach and how those choices would advance the goals of this Notice.
25.
We specifically seek comments from state commissions and PSAPs on the approaches
they use to oversee 9-1-1 connectivity. Many states, for example, regulate 9-1-1 service provided by
ILECs. Do those states use a reporting approach? Onsite audits? Do PSAPs that contract for 9-1-1
services impose certification or similar requirements upon their 9-1-1 service providers? Do they specify
levels of reliability through service level agreements (SLAs) or require adherence to best practices? Are
such SLAs negotiated at the PSAP, state, or service-provider level, and what level of 9-1-1 service do
they provide? What have state commissions and PSAPs found to work in their oversight of 9-1-1 service
providers, and what needs to be improved?
26.
Reporting. Under this approach, the Commission would require service providers to
periodically report on the extent to which they are voluntarily implementing critical best practices,69 or
complying with applicable standards established by the Commission. For instance, a provider could
report on whether or not it performs 9-1-1 circuit audits, what exactly it does, the frequency of those
audits, and any remedial actions it plans to take in response to its most recent audit.70 By way of further
example, a provider could report on whether all of its backup power arrangements for central offices
comply with CSRIC best practice 8-7-5281 regarding interdependent generators,71 and, if not, what steps
it is taking to comply with or to compensate and achieve the reliability sought by the practice. Would
adoption of this reporting approach alone or as part of an integrated approach meet the goal of ensuring 9-
1-1 reliability? What costs and benefits would such a reporting obligation create? Which best practices
or other standards should be subject to reporting requirements, and are these standards sufficiently
detailed to objectively evaluate compliance? To what extent would such a reporting obligation be
effective in the absence of a companion requirement to correct deficiencies revealed in the reports? What
performance level should the Commission use to prompt remedial actions based on these reports?
Commenters offering support for this approach should specify the scope, granularity, and frequency of
reporting they support.
27.
We note that the Commission has used reporting in the past as a means of ensuring a
certain level of reliability in 9-1-1 services. In 2007, in response to Hurricane Katrina, the Commission
adopted rules requiring local exchange carriers, wireless service providers subject to 9-1-1 requirements,
(Continued from previous page)
centralized automatic message accounting (CAMA) trunk failures by implementing recommendations from the
ATIS NRSC, while another service provider implemented these recommendations to a lesser extent and experienced
some loss of service. See Derecho Report at 11, 32-33. Although both service providers asserted that they had
taken steps to comply with the recommendations, the Bureau concluded that full implementation would have led to
fewer 9-1-1 trunks being removed from service. See id. at 33.
69 We note that CSRIC and its predecessor NRIC categorize best practices by priority level based on whether
implementation of the practice is considered critical, highly important or important. See NRIC Best Practices,
https://www.fcc.gov/nors/outage/bestpractice/BestPractice.cfm. These priority levels could inform any framework
that the Commission chooses to adopt.
70 CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-0532 provides that “Network Operators should periodically audit the physical and
logical diversity called for by network design and take appropriate measures as needed.” See supra, note 46.
71 CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-5281 provides that “Network Operators, Service Providers and Property Managers with
buildings serviced by more than one emergency generator, should design, install and maintain each generator as a
stand alone unit that is not dependent on the operation of another generator for proper functioning, including fuel
supply path.” CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-5281, available at
https://www.fcc.gov/nors/outage/bestpractice/DetailedBestPractice.cfm?number=8-7-5281.
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and interconnected VoIP service providers “to conduct an analysis of the resiliency and reliability of their
911 networks or systems and to submit a report to the Commission.”72 The Bureau implemented this rule
in 2009 by requesting information on 9-1-1 architecture in the United States.73 The reports proved of
limited use, however, because they lacked the specificity necessary to determine network reliability in
individual cases. For example, the reports did not provide sufficient information to assess whether 9-1-1
service providers were implementing diversity in their routing of 9-1-1 circuits for PSAPs in major
metropolitan areas. In light of this experience, we invite commenters to address how to craft a reporting
requirement that would more effectively promote reliability of 9-1-1 services and networks and create
incentives for service providers to maintain consistently high standards of 9-1-1 reliability.
28.
Certification. Under this approach, the Commission would require providers to certify
periodically that their 9-1-1 network service and facilities comply with voluntary industry best practices,
reliability requirements specified by the Commission or other standards.. This approach could help
ensure that senior management is aware of significant vulnerabilities in the 9-1-1 network and
accountable for its decisions regarding design, maintenance, and disaster preparedness. For instance, a
provider might certify that it has audited the physical diversity of its network and taken appropriate
measures as needed,74 or that it has identified and corrected any instances where failure of a single backup
generator would cause multiple interdependent generators to fail.75 To what extent would such a
certification obligation be effective in the absence of a companion requirement to correct deficiencies
revealed in the certification? Are existing best practices sufficiently detailed to serve as standards for
certification? What performance level should the Commission use to prompt remedial actions based on
these certifications? With respect to this approach, we seek comment on existing certification schemes—
whether or not directly related to the work of the Commission—that might serve as models for
certification in this context.
29.
Do existing Commission certification schemes provide an appropriate model for
addressing 9-1-1 reliability? For example, do the certification schemes for Consumer Proprietary
Network Information (CPNI) under Section 64.2009(e) of the Commission’s rules, 76 or the Equal

72 See In the Matter of Recommendations of the Independent Panel Reviewing the Impact of Hurricane Katrina on
Communications Networks, EB Docket No. 06-119, WC Docket No. 06-63, Order, 22 FCC Rcd 10541, 10572, ¶ 99
(2007). This requirement was codified in Part 12 of the Commission’s rules, and delegated authority to the Bureau
to establish the specific data required in each report, but provided that “these reports should include descriptions of
the steps the service providers intend to take to ensure diversity and dependability in their 911 and E911 networks
and/or systems, including any plans they have to migrate those networks and/or systems to a next generation Internet
Protocol-based E911 platform.” 47 C.F.R. § 12.3(a).
73 See FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Announces the Activation of the E911 Architecture
Information System; Carriers Required to File Reports with Commission on 911/E911 Networks, Systems by
February 6, 2009, Public Notice, DA 08-2263, 23 FCC Rcd 14757 (PSHSB 2008); In the Matter of Implementation
of Section 12.3 of the Commission’s Rules, DA 09-1077, Protective Order, 24 FCC Rcd 5657 (2009) (Section 12.3
Protective Order) (noting that the Commission would share reports with certain public safety organizations subject
to a presumption of confidentiality).
74 See CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-0532, supra note 46.
75 See CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-5281, supra note 71.
76 See 47 C.F.R. § 64.2009. Under the Commission’s CPNI certification model, an officer of the
telecommunications provider acting as its agent is required to sign and file the certification. The certification must
include: a) a statement that the officer has “personal knowledge” that the company has established operating
procedures that adequately ensure compliance with the CPNI rules; b) a statement that explains how its operating
procedures ensure compliance (or non-compliance) with the CPNI rules; c) an explanation of actions taken against
(continued….)
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Employment Opportunity (EEO) reports77 filed by broadcast stations and multi-channel video program
distributors (MVPDs) under Sections 73.2080 and 76.75 of the Commission’s rules provide a model for
addressing 9-1-1 reliability? Why or why not? What are the tradeoffs among the various models? What
costs and benefits would be associated with each? Is there sufficient justification for the Commission to
adopt a new certification model? If so, why? Would one possible model be found in Section 302 of the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which requires Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Chief Financial Officers
(CFOs) to certify the integrity of financial reports their companies submit to the Securities and Exchange
Commission? 78 If so, which portions of certification under Sarbanes-Oxley are suitable for certifications
in this context, and are there others that are not suitable? For example, as under Sarbanes-Oxley, should
corporate officers be personally liable for the accuracy of their certifications, and how would the
Commission enforce such a requirement? What costs and benefits would be associated with this model?
30.
Reliability Requirements. Under a third approach the Commission would specify
minimum standards for 9-1-1 communications reliability, based on recognized industry best practices.
For instance, the Commission could require service providers to maintain a minimum, specified level of
physical diversity for their 9-1-1 circuits in compliance with CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-053279 or to replace
or redesign interdependent backup generators that violate CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-5281.80 The
Commission could also require specified best practices to serve as default standards, unless service
(Continued from previous page)
data brokers; and d) a summary of all customer complaints received in the last year relating to the unauthorized
release of CPNI. Covered entities that fail to file a required certification face enforcement action, which can include
a fine of up to $150,000 per violation, or per day if there is a continuing violation, for a maximum of $1,500,000.
False or misleading statements are subject to criminal liability under Title 18 of the U.S. Code. See 18 U.S.C. §
1001(a).
77 See 47 C.F.R. §§ 73.2080, 76.75. While such filings may be signed by any corporate officer, broadcast stations
must designate a specific individual responsible for their EEO programs. See Commission Form 396, available at
http://transition.fcc.gov/Forms/Form396/396.pdf. Under the Commission’s EEO certification model, MVPDs must
certify their employment practices by filing Form 396-C, which requires a company official to state whether the
MVPD’s operating procedures ensure compliance (or non-compliance) with the EEO requirements set forth in 47
U.S.C. § 554 and 47 C.F.R. § 76.75(b). See Commission Form 396-C, available at
http://transition.fcc.gov/Forms/Form396C/396c.pdf. If the official answers in the negative, then that official must
attach an explanation for the lapse. The certification form asks for details such as whether the MVPD: conducted a
continuing review of job structure and employment practices; engaged in broad and inclusive outreach; analyzed the
results of efforts to recruit, hire, promote, and use services in a nondiscriminatory manner and used those results to
evaluate and improve the EEO program; and defined the responsibility of each level of management to ensure a
positive application and vigorous enforcement of its policy of equal employment opportunity and maintain a
procedure to review and control managerial and supervisory performance. The MVPD must retain documentation
necessary to demonstrate performance of the requirements and initiatives, and the official must attach a copy of the
previous year’s public EEO file.
To enforce these provisions, at least once every five years the Commission investigates the employment practices of
each MVPD in the aggregate and in individual components to determine if the entity is in compliance. The
Commission also compares the entity’s actual practices with the annual reports it filed. MVPDs that fail to
implement EEO requirements face forfeitures detailed in 47 C.F.R. § 1.80. For specific requirements for MVPDs,
see 47 U.S.C. § 554(f)(2). A forfeiture assessed for any continuing violation shall not exceed a total of $1,000,000
for any single act or failure to act. False or misleading statements are subject to criminal liability under Title 18 of
the U.S. Code. See 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a).
78 See 15 U.S.C. § 7241(a).
79 See CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-0532, supra note 46.
80 See CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-5281, supra note 71.
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providers can demonstrate an appropriate exception from those requirements. As discussed in more detail
below, we seek comment on how any such requirements should be crafted, as well as their costs and
benefits. Specifically, we seek comment on whether existing best practices are sufficiently detailed to
serve as standards for compliance and potential enforcement. How can the Commission ensure that any
such requirements account for sound engineering practices not specifically codified as CSRIC best
practices, particularly as technologies evolve? Are there differences in the design and operation of
particular 9-1-1 networks that the Commission should consider in connection with sound engineering and
network reliability standards, and which may not be reflected fully in existing best practices?
31.
Compliance Reviews and Inspections. Under this approach, the Commission would
conduct periodic compliance reviews or site inspections of service provider facilities to verify that 9-1-1
service providers are adhering to certain standards. This approach may be best suited as part of an
integrated approach, in conjunction with rules setting minimum standards for compliance. We seek
comment on this option, as well as any benefits or costs of this approach. Which service providers should
be subject to inspections or compliance reviews, and how often should those inspections occur? Should
reviews be limited to records and documentation of compliance with Commission requirements, or should
they include physical site inspections of network routes? Would this approach require additional staff,
both at the Commission and employed by service providers, to conduct inspections and document
compliance? If so, what experience and training would these personnel require, and would they be likely
to detect network design and maintenance issues such as those that led to 9-1-1 failures during the
derecho?

D.

Bureau Recommendations for Improving 9-1-1 Network Reliability

32.
In this section we seek comment on proposals to implement recommendations for
Commission action set forth in the Derecho Report. As explained above, for each recommendation we
seek comment on a range of possible implementation approaches. We also seek comment on the relative
costs and benefits of the various proposals. We also seek comment on any alternative proposals that may
be more effective or efficient in improving 9-1-1 network reliability or resiliency. In evaluating specific
proposals for Commission action, we also seek comment on how we can best work in cooperation with
state, tribal, and local governments, which we have recognized “are the primary administrators of the
legacy 911 system.”81 Although the exercise of state or local authority over emergency communications
may not be “inconsistent with Federal law or Commission requirements,”82 we have long worked
cooperatively with such governmental entities in discharging our responsibilities to ensure that emergency
communications “promot[e] safety of life and property.”83
33.
For each of the proposals, we specifically seek comments from state commissions and
PSAPs on the approaches they use to oversee 9-1-1 connectivity. Do states, for example, require routine
9-1-1 circuit auditing? Why or why not? What backup power or network monitoring requirements have
PSAPs requested or required from their 9-1-1 service providers? How have state commissions and
PSAPs approached notifications from 9-1-1 service providers? How specific or general are the
requirements that state commissions and PSAPs have imposed? Do the obligations imposed by state
commissions or PSAPs differ based on geography, topography, and/or other factors? What have state

81 In the Matter of Facilitating the Deployment of Text-to-911 and Other Next Generation 911 Applications, Notice
of Proposed Rulemaking,
26 FCC Rcd 13615, 13660, ¶ 115 (2011).
82 47 U.S.C. § 615a-1(d).
83 47 U.S.C. § 151.
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commissions and PSAPs found to work in their oversight of 9-1-1 service providers, and what needs to be
improved?
1.

Routine 9-1-1 Circuit Auditing

34.
It is axiomatic within the telecommunications industry that network operators should
periodically audit the physical and logical diversity called for by sound network design and take
appropriate measures as needed.84 Since 2010, the Bureau has twice reminded service providers of the
importance of physical diversity in 9-1-1 networks.85 The inquiry that led to the Derecho Report
demonstrated that a number of telecommunications providers and network operators have either not
considered, or not properly and consistently implemented, this vital maintenance action. As the Derecho
Report
noted, for example, a physical diversity audit might have revealed vulnerabilities that led to 9-1-1
and ALI service failures to multiple PSAPs in Northern Virginia.86 To what extent does this experience
reflect vulnerabilities in 9-1-1 networks nationwide? Do 9-1-1 service providers perform regular,
physical audits – not just logical analyses – of critical circuits to ensure that their networks remain
physically diverse? If so, what specifically do they do and how often? What steps are taken to ensure
that physical diversity is sustained despite the circuit rearrangements that frequently take place in
communications networks?
35.
As a result of service providers’ inconsistent auditing of 9-1-1 circuits and avoidable
single points of failure in their networks, the Derecho Report recommended regularly-scheduled auditing
of these circuits, noting that it “should lead to fewer 9-1-1 outages and enhance the reliability of 9-1-1
communications. If providers do not regularly audit the physical routes of 9-1-1 circuits and ALI links,
they will be ill-equipped to verify diversity and understand, avoid, or address instances where a single
failure causes loss of all E9-1-1 circuits or all ALI links for a PSAP.”87 Are there instances where single
points of failure are unavoidable, and how should that term be defined? The Derecho Report concluded
that the benefits of implementing this recommendation will likely outweigh any additional costs, given
the large numbers of customers that can be served successfully in emergencies by circuits that are diverse,
and the harms that could result from avoidable failures. The Bureau added that any burden likely would
be modest because this obligation would apply only to a limited number of high-priority circuits that
provide 9-1-1 service.88
36.
In light of providers’ apparent failure to audit circuit diversity adequately,
notwithstanding pre-existing best practices bolstered by Bureau reminders, we seek comment in general
on the extent to which providers are auditing these circuits and whether those audits follow established
best practices. Do existing best practices provide sufficient guidance on this topic? If not, what,
specifically, should new or revised best practices address? Following the derecho, the two ILECs most
affected by the storm – Frontier and Verizon – each pledged to take corrective action. Specifically,
Frontier stated it will audit 9-1-1 circuits for diversity,89 while Verizon indicated it is making valuable

84 See CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-0532, supra note 46.
85 See 2012 Best Practices PN, supra note 43; 2010 Best Practices PN, supra note 43.
86 See Derecho Report at 32; Virginia SCC Report at 10 (noting “profound” loss of transport systems in Arlington
and Fairfax central offices affecting 9-1-1 and ALI links).
87 See Derecho Report at 40.
88 See id.
89 See id. at 24 (citing Comments of Frontier Communications Corp., PS Docket No. 11-60, at 6-7 (Aug. 17, 2012)).
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progress on the auditing of 9-1-1 circuits in some areas and intends to apply this practice where it has not
yet done so.90 How, if at all, do such pledges affect whether we should take additional action to ensure
implementation of this recommendation?91 For example, does this suggest that the cost of following the
best practice is reasonable and that the cost of the four alternative regimes proposed in this Notice,
particularly reporting and certification, should not be prohibitive while providing significant assurance of
actual compliance? What remedial actions have other 9-1-1 service taken based on lessons learned in the
derecho, whether or not they were directly affected by the storm?
37.
How, when, and to what degree of specificity should network diversity audits be
conducted? Under current technologies, critical 9-1-1 circuits include, at a minimum, 9-1-1 trunks to
PSAPs and ALI/ANI links, but we seek comment on other transport routes or technologies that may also
be vital for emergency response, now or in the future. Although some network characteristics may vary
by service provider and location, any auditing obligation must be specifically defined to be effective.
Should the Commission therefore adopt rules prescribing in some fashion how audits should be
conducted, and should it conduct inspections or compliance reviews to enforce any such rules? How
frequently should audits be conducted, and are there existing published industry standards that could
serve as a model? Should the Commission require not only that service providers perform audits, but also
that they take action to eliminate reasonably avoidable single points of failure? If so, should any single
point of failure be considered unavoidable? Should the Commission require that audits be performed by
independent experts or conduct periodic compliance reviews or formal inspections as a means of ensuring
compliance? Are there complicating factors in performing diversity audits that the Commission should
take note of? To what extent do leased circuits affect the ability to perform accurate audits? How would
diversity be sustained despite normal circuit rearrangements and grooming?
38.
How can the Commission ensure that its guidance regarding transport network diversity
remains current as technology changes? For example, in a NG9-1-1 environment, it is likely that at least
some crucial servers will be hosted outside of central offices, in either commercial or government data
centers. In those cases, should the Commission ask or require such data centers to meet physical diversity
standards or certify that they conduct diversity audits? Would it be sufficient if all such servers are
backed up by a redundant hot standby server in another data center? Would conformance with the higher
tiers of the ANSI/TIA-942 standard92 be suitable for qualifying data centers to host critical NG9-1-1
components?
39.
Should the Commission require service providers to file reports describing how they
conduct these audits, the results of the audits, and what remedial action they plan to take? Should the
reports be based on conformance with best practices, or other standards specified by the Commission?
How would such a reporting obligation advance the overarching goal of improved 9-1-1 reliability? How
often should reports be filed, and what factors affect this determination? For example, should the
Commission require annual reporting? What specific information should be included in these reports, and

90 See id. at 23 (citing Verizon Comments at 5-6).
91 In response to the derecho failures, Verizon has recently improved its circuit-auditing program in the Potomac
Region and plans to make similar improvements nationwide. Specifically, Verizon has automated its ability to
analyze the diversity of 9-1-1 circuits, and it plans to deploy a “lockdown” feature that will prevent designated
circuits from being rearranged. See Maureen Davis, VP Network Operations Mid-Atlantic Region, Verizon,
Presentation to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments: Verizon, 911 Service and the Derecho,
Moving Forward, Corrective Actions Update (Jan. 28, 2013) (Verizon Presentation to MWCOG).
92 See Telecommunications Infrastructure Standards for Data Centers, TIA-942, available at
http://www.tiaonline.org.
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how granular should they be? Should such reporting be limited to factual discussion of existing practices,
schedules, and results, or should providers also report on any planned or ongoing efforts to improve 9-1-1
circuit auditing? How does the transition to broadband, IP-based networks affect the ability to conduct
accurate audits? Is a reporting requirement the best approach for ensuring that providers perform 9-1-1
audits? We also seek comment on whether reports should be made publicly available. Should they be
treated as confidential, absent a persuasive contrary showing, as with outage reports?93 Do commenters
believe any such reports should be shared within the PSAP community, or made accessible to 9-1-1
industry associations (e.g., APCO, NENA)?94 Should the reports be shared with state regulators such as
state public utilities commissions?95
40.
We also seek comment on whether providers should certify that they are performing 9-1-
1 circuit audits in conformance with best practices, and if so, how often they should so certify. If the
Commission were to pursue the certification approach, to which standards should providers be required to
certify? Do existing standards or guidance serve as a usable template? Beyond certifying that they have
conducted an audit, what other information should service providers need to certify? For example, should
they conduct audits under generally-accepted procedures reflected in best practices? Should providers
certify that the circuits audited satisfied specified criteria for physical diversity and identify and describe
exceptions in some fashion? How often should providers be required to file any such certifications, and
how granular should they be? Should any certification requirement be accompanied by an obligation to
correct deficiencies revealed by diversity audits?
41.
We also seek input regarding additional costs, if any, that would accrue to providers in
implementing requirements associated with this recommendation through any of the approaches noted
above (i.e., reporting, certification, performance requirements). According to the FCC Master PSAP
Registry, there are almost 7,000 PSAPs in the United States. Based on our preliminary discussions with
stakeholders, we estimate that circuit audits would be necessary for roughly half of these PSAPs because
that is the portion likely to be served by more than one selective router. How accurate is this estimate?
When a PSAP is served by only one selective router, the service provider already knows there is only one
circuit path to that PSAP without the need for an audit. If it takes 16 hours on average to conduct a
diversity audit, and the cost is $80 per hour, the average cost would be $1,280 per audit.96 Is this a
reasonable estimate of the time and hourly cost to complete a diversity audit? If not, what would a more
reasonable estimate be, and how is it arrived at? Would this work be performed by existing service
provider personnel, or would it require additional employees or contractors? If 50 percent of PSAPs
served by more than one selective router currently do not have 9-1-1 circuit audits conducted periodically
(for these purposes, within the last two years) on the circuits connected to them (i.e., roughly 1,750
PSAPs), the incremental cost incurred to perform the additional audits annually for all of the PSAPs
where they are not being performed at regular intervals, under the foregoing assumptions, would be

93 See 47 C.F.R. § 0.457(d)(1)(vi).
94 See 47 C.F.R. § 12.3(c) (stating that previous reports filed on redundancy, resiliency, and reliability of 9-1-1
networks will only be shared with NENA, APCO, and National Association of State 9-1-1 Administrators pursuant
to a protective order); Section 12.3 Protective Order, supra note 73, at 5657, ¶ 1.
95 See Comments of California Public Utilities Commission, PS Docket No. 11-60 (filed Aug. 17, 2012). We note
that the California PUC has filed a pending petition to allow state regulators direct access to NORS outage reporting
data. See California Public Utilities Commission, In re New Part 4 of the Commission’s Rules Concerning
Disruptions to Communications, Petition for Rulemaking, ET Docket No. 04-35, RM 11588, DA 10-220 (Nov. 12,
2009).
96 16 * $80 = $1,280
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roughly $2.2 million. Is this a reasonable estimate? Does it take account of all relevant costs? We
anticipate that the cost of performing diversity audits after the initial audit will decrease over time as
service providers become more familiar with the process and more likely to keep current records of
network routing.
42.
How sensitive is the weighing of incremental costs and benefits to the accuracy of these
cost estimates, in light of the likelihood of decreased mortality risk? The U.S. Department of
Transportation (DOT) has recently attempted to establish one measure of the “valuation of a statistical
life” (VSL) and determined that $6.2 million was a fair estimate of the value of reduction in mortality risk
associated with one human life.97 The VSL, however, is a complex calculation, and it is important in any
regulatory decision-making process that the agency make clear the processes and assumptions for arriving
at such valuations.98 A review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Office of Information
and Regulatory Affairs comparing similar valuations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and
others has “not found recent values below $6 million or above $9.5 million” in current dollars.99
43.
The Bureau found that uniform use of regular circuit audits likely would result in a
decreased mortality risk nationwide. In light of the potential risks of mortality associated with storms like
the June 2012 derecho and their effects on 9-1-1 communications,100 how likely is it that the incremental

97 See Memorandum from Polly Trottenberg, Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, U.S. Dep’t of Transp.
and Robert S. Rivkin, General Counsel, U.S. Dep’t of Transp., to Secretarial Officers and Modal Administrators,
U.S. Dep’t of Transp., Treatment of the Economic Value of a Statistical Life in Departmental Analysis - 2011
Interim Adjustment (July 29, 2011) (DOT Statistical Life Valuation). A copy of this memorandum has been
included in the docket, and we use it as a basis for cost/benefit calculations throughout this Notice.
98 See, e.g., Recommendations of the Administrative Conference Regarding Administrative Practice and Procedure
and Correction, 53 Fed. Reg. 39,586 (Oct. 11, 1988) (“Recommendation 88-7, Valuation of Human Life in
Regulatory Decisionmaking, calls on agencies to reveal publicly the processes through which they determine the
value of human life in making policy decisions.”)..
99 OMB OFFICE OF INFO. & REGULATORY AFFAIRS, 2011 REPORT TO CONGRESS ON THE BENEFITS AND COSTS OF
FEDERAL REGULATIONS AND UNFUNDED MANDATES ON STATE, LOCAL, AND TRIBAL ENTITIES (2011), at 18 n.20;
see also OMB OFFICE OF INFO. & REGULATORY AFFAIRS, 2012 DRAFT REPORT TO CONGRESS ON THE BENEFITS AND
COSTS OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS AND UNFUNDED MANDATES ON STATE, LOCAL, AND TRIBAL ENTITIES 17 n.19
(2012) (citing a range of studies that estimated VSL between $1.2 million and $12.2 million in 2010 dollars but
noting that agencies tend to use a value that exceeds the midpoint of the range, i.e., greater than $6.7 million in 2010
dollars).
100 A 2002 study of 9-1-1 calls in Pennsylvania found that, when precise location information was provided
contemporaneously with a 9-1-1 call, response time was notably shortened and correlated with a 34 percent
reduction in mortality rates from cardiac arrest within the first 48 hours following the incident. Specifically, the
study examined 19,746 ambulance rides resulting in an emergency hospital admission in 66 Pennsylvania counties
during 1994 and 1996. It found a -.012 reduction in the 48-hour mortality rate for cardiac patients due to E9-1-1. It
found a life-saving benefit from improved response time in 304 of these cardiac incidents each year per 273,000
population. This implies that E9-1-1 adoption resulted in 3.648 (i.e. -.012 * 304) lives saved per 273,000 people.
See Susan Athey & Scott Stern, THE IMPACT OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ON EMERGENCY HEALTH CARE
OUTCOMES, Jan. 2002, available at http://kuznets.fas.harvard.edu/~athey/itemer.pdf (last visited Feb. 19, 2013)
(Cardiac Study).
The study’s Pennsylvania results, if representative of all states, would imply there are 341,000 cardiac incidents
nationwide each year and a saving of 4,142 lives per year nationwide (i.e., 3.648/273,000 * 310,000,000 = 4,142).
This would further imply that, if storms cause as much as 1.25 percent of the nation’s population to have such
delayed access to 9-1-1 for one week each year, the expected annual saving would be at least one life (i.e., .0125 *
4,142/52 = 1).
(continued….)
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benefits of circuit audits would outweigh the costs, under varying cost assumptions? How should we
factor in the very substantial benefit not included in this calculation to numerous other people who are
able to avoid pain, suffering, distress, and financial loss as a result of having more reliable access to 9-1-1
services? To assess whether the benefits that would accrue from full implementation of this
recommendation would outweigh the incremental costs, we seek detailed and reliable data on the
estimates identified above. Specifically, we invite providers to disclose the percentage of PSAPs that are
served by multiple selective routers and the average distance between PSAPs and selective routers (which
would presumably affect the cost of a physical audit). What is the mean cost of performing a physical
circuit audit for each PSAP? Specifically, how many hours are required, and what is the cost per hour?
In PSAPs where circuit audits are routinely performed, how many times per year are they done? What is
the fraction of PSAPs for which no circuit audits are currently being done, and has the experience of the
derecho affected that fraction? How will the transition from legacy 9-1-1 infrastructure to NG9-1-1 affect
the routing of 9-1-1 calls and the need for physical diversity in networks that may also be reconfigured
electronically? For example, though we presume NG9-1-1 architectures will be more resilient than
current 9-1-1 architectures, we believe that network transport diversity will continue to be important in an
NG9-1-1 environment and invite comment on that conclusion. How much of the cost is already
incorporated into service providers’ budgets and plans?
2.

Sufficient Backup Power at Central Offices

44.
We note that all of the central offices involved in 9-1-1 failures during the June 2012
derecho, like almost all central offices throughout the country, had some sort of backup power in place.
We seek comment, however, on potential vulnerabilities in central office backup power throughout the
Nation, including areas where dedicated backup power may not be as prevalent. Current backup power
technologies include uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, backup batteries that may last several
hours, and backup generators that can operate as long as fuel remains available. Multiple CSRIC best
practices address backup power issues such as generator design and configuration, 101 and appropriate
testing and maintenance.102 The derecho, however, raised many questions regarding backup power,
including whether all central offices must have some form of backup power, and what constitutes
adequate backup power. Because so many 9-1-1 service providers ultimately suffered a loss of power, the
(Continued from previous page)
Significantly, we believe this calculation likely understates the expected benefits of our proposed changes. One
reason is that, whereas the estimate captures the lives lost when ambulances are delayed twenty minutes by less
accurate location information, it fails to capture any of the lives lost when the ambulances never arrive at all due to
the lack of access to 9-1-1. Another reason is that this study considered only cardiac emergency calls which,
according to the study, accounted for less than 20 percent of medical emergency calls and less than 10 percent of
total emergency calls. The estimated saving of one life therefore likely underestimates the expected benefits from
10 percent of the 9-1-1 calls and fully excludes the expected benefits from the remaining 90 percent of 9-1-1 calls
that will be completed due to increased reliability of the 9-1-1 network.
101 See CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-5281, supra note 71 (disapproving of interdependent generators); CSRIC Best
Practice 8-7-0657, available at https://www.fcc.gov/nors/outage/bestpractice/DetailedBestPractice.cfm?number=8-
7-0657 (“Network Operators, Service Providers and Property Managers should design standby generator systems for
fully automatic operation and for ease of manual operation, when required.”); CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-5058,
available at https://www.fcc.gov/nors/outage/bestpractice/DetailedBestPractice.cfm?number=8-7-5058 (stating
generally that all critical infrastructure facilities, including security equipment, should be supported by backup
power systems such as batteries, generators, and fuel cells).
102 See CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-0662, available at
https://www.fcc.gov/nors/outage/bestpractice/DetailedBestPractice.cfm?number=8-7-0662 (“Network Operators,
Service Providers and Property Managers should exercise power generators on a routine schedule in accordance
with manufacturer’s specifications. For example, a monthly 1 hour engine run on load, and a 5 hour annual run.”).
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Bureau recommended that the Commission take action to ensure that central offices have sufficient
backup power, noting how important it is to maintain robust, resilient backup power in critical facilities,
supported by appropriate testing, maintenance, and records retention.103 The Bureau added that failure of
central office backup power during a commercial power outage can disable a broad range of
communications for a community, including emergency communications.104 During the derecho,
approximately 7 percent of one affected service provider’s central-office generators failed to operate
properly when needed.105 To what extent is this failure rate representative of central-office backup power
nationwide among all 9-1-1 service providers? What rate of generator or other backup power failures
have service providers experienced during other recent power failures?
45.
In light of these concerns, we seek comment on whether the Commission should institute
requirements with respect to backup power, including testing and maintenance of backup power
equipment. How closely do providers adhere to existing industry best practices and other published
guidelines on backup power? Would new or expanded best practices provide additional guidance
necessary to help maintain reliable backup power? If so, would additional best practices provide as much
assurance of rigorous compliance as any of the approaches proposed here? What additional best practices
are needed in this area? How closely do providers follow generator and battery manufacturers’
recommended maintenance schedules? We also are interested in comment regarding backup power test
records, e.g., what types of records are actually maintained, and the general content of those records.
How long are records retained, and are they shared effectively within the service provider’s organization?
As records could not always be readily located,106 does this suggest that FCC monitoring would be
helpful? If a battery or generator fails a routine test, is that information communicated to management
and reliably acted upon in a timely manner?
46.
If we conclude that the Commission should establish backup power requirements, what,
more precisely, should be required? Acknowledging that what constitutes a “central office” can vary to
some extent by service provider and location,107 we ask commenters to give views on whether and how an
adequate level of backup power may differ based on the type of facility. Should the required level of
backup power depend on the relationship of each central office to reliable 9-1-1 service? Furthermore,
the forecast transition to NG9-1-1 will likely allow some capabilities to be hosted outside of central
offices in consolidated data centers. We seek comment on the level of backup power currently available
at such facilities and the degree to which they should be required to comply with backup power standards
for 9-1-1 networks.
47.
Should the Commission require service providers to file reports describing their central
office backup power schemes, including maintenance and testing? If so, how often should providers have
to file such reports? Should reports be based on conformance with specific best practices, or other
standards adopted by the Commission? How many reports would there be? We also ask what specific
information should be included in these reports, e.g., should the report be limited to factual discussion of
existing practices, or should providers also report on any planned improvements? Should the report

103 See Derecho Report at 16-20, 40.
104 See id. at 40.
105 See id. at 15-16.
106 See id. at 20 (noting that one service provider could not locate maintenance logs for one of the backup generators
that failed during the derecho).
107 For example, we understand that the central office of a provider serving a large metropolitan area may differ from
that of a provider serving a more rural area.
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explicitly note departures from industry best practices? Should the reports include an inventory of backup
power deployment in service provider central offices? Should providers report on the results of recent
tests and their protocol for addressing needed repairs? Should the reports be made publicly available?
Would a requirement help foster the sustained focus needed to make a difference?
48.
We also seek comment on the approach of having 9-1-1 service providers periodically
certify that their central offices have sufficient backup power or conform with specific best practices.
With this approach, to what standard(s) should providers certify? What existing industry backup power
standards or guidance might serve as a usable template? Beyond certifying that their backup power meets
minimum standards, what other factors might service providers be required to certify to? How often
should providers be required to file any such certifications, and how granular should they be? Who, by
title, should attest to the validity of the certification?
49.
We seek comment on whether we should adopt a minimum standard for central office
backup power. Should the Commission require on-site backup power for a specific number of hours,
whether through appropriately rated batteries or a backup generator with a sufficient fuel supply? Should
we require that service providers maintain sufficient backup power to ensure continuity of critical
communications and, if so, how should “critical communications” be defined? Should the Commission
require service providers to have in place and implement plans for regular maintenance and testing of
backup power equipment?108 If so, should the Commission specify a level of detail and granularity for
those plans? Would periodic site inspections or compliance reviews be useful to ensure compliance? Do
service providers currently test backup generators under actual office load, and is that method preferable
to or more effective than others?109 How often do service providers employ tandem generator
arrangements where the failure of one generator would result in a central office being switched
immediately to battery backup? Should these generators be replaced or redesigned to shed nonessential
loads? We seek comments on the benefits and drawbacks of each implementation approach, and
compared to each other.
50.
We also seek input regarding additional costs, if any, that would accrue to providers who
are not already rigorously implementing best practices, and to all providers to either report or certify. The
cost associated with reporting and certification appears to be a fraction of the cost required to remediate
deficiencies that these approaches reveal. However, the very preliminary information obtained by the
Bureau so far suggests that remediation may not be necessary for a substantial majority of central offices
that already have permanent generators and readily accessible portable generators; do not use tandem
generator arrangements, where the failure of one generator results in neither generator functioning; and
already have implemented appropriate battery and generator testing. We seek more specific information
about the prevalence of each of these situations below, and on the estimated time and cost associated with
remediation where necessary. Is the range of potential remediation costs wide enough to raise questions
about whether the costs of remediation may exceed the benefits?
51.
We have identified a number of questions involving potential costs that appear relevant to
this inquiry. How many central offices have a generator onsite? A portable generator that can be
deployed promptly (e.g., within four hours)? What is the fully loaded cost of such a portable generator?

108 For example, as discussed in the Derecho Report, for some time before the derecho, Verizon had not been
engaging in full-load generator testing procedures in Arlington. See Derecho Report at 17-18.
109 Testing under actual site load means the office is switched off the commercial power grid onto generator power.
Unlike testing with simulated load banks, this method verifies that the generator can power the office in an
emergency.
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How many central offices have batteries that are not tested to the manufacturer’s specifications? How
long does it take on average to test such batteries over the course of a year? What is the cost of doing so?
Similarly, how many onsite generators are not tested monthly or yearly, and what would the associated
incremental costs of such testing be? What is the likelihood of a generator’s failing a monthly or annual
maintenance test, and the associated cost of repairing it? How many tandem generator arrangements are
there, in which the failure of one results in neither functioning? How much is already budgeted to address
problems associated with the potential need to address these issues?
52.
Having generators available in all central offices. The degree of sensitivity of our
analysis to the accuracy of the data on the foregoing questions may be illustrated with an example.
Assume that only 25 percent of the roughly 24,500 central offices in the United States (6,125 offices) do
not have a generator onsite, and that of these only 5 percent do not have a dedicated portable generator
that can be deployed within four hours (306 offices). 110 The offices without permanent generators would
likely be smaller facilities that offer a lighter electrical load than larger offices serving major metropolitan
areas. If the fully loaded cost of such a portable generator were $30,000, the total cost nationwide to
provide generator backup power to central offices without it would be approximately $9.2 million.111 Is
this a reasonable estimate? Does it take account of all relevant costs? Alternatively, if it costs $100,000
to install permanent generators and fuel tanks at each central office that cannot be served by a portable
unit – which we consider unlikely in smaller offices – the total cost nationwide would still not exceed
$30.6 million.112 We seek comment on these cost assumptions and the analysis used to arrive at the final
estimate.
53.
Battery testing. We seek similar analyses of the costs associated with battery testing, and
of the sensitivity of our analysis to variations in cost estimates. For example, if only 10 percent of the
central offices (2,450 offices) have batteries that are not tested to the manufacturer’s specifications,113 and
it takes eight hours on average to test batteries in a central office over the course of a year, the total cost to
test batteries at those 2,450 central offices would be $1,568,000.114 Is this a reasonable estimate? Does it
take account of all relevant costs? If either of those estimates were doubled, the cost would not exceed
$3.1 million. We seek comment on the methods and assumptions in this analysis.
54.
Generator testing. If the monthly and more extensive yearly tests are not done in 5
percent of the offices with onsite generators (919 central offices)115 and it takes 30 minutes to run the
monthly test and two hours to run the yearly test,116 additional yearly costs for the monthly tests would be

110 We assume that a central office can function reliably on battery power for four hours.
111 306 central offices * $30,000 = $9,180,000.
112 306 central offices * $100,000 = $30,600,000. We base this estimate on a Texas Public Utilities Commission
report noting that it cost an average of $107,000 to install a permanent emergency generator and fuel tanks at central
offices. See Quanta Technology, COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS OF THE DEPLOYMENT OF UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE
UPGRADES AND STORM HARDENING PROGRAMS, Final Report to Public Utility Commission of Texas, at 51-52, tbl.
5-2, available at http://www.puc.texas.gov/industry/electric/reports/infra/Utlity_Infrastructure_Upgrades_rpt.pdf
(Texas PUC Report).
113 See generally Michael P. O’Brien, CENTRAL TELEPHONE OFFICE BATTERY PLANT ACCEPTANCE/CAPACITY TEST
PROCEDURE, available at http://www.battcon.com/PapersScanned1997/OBrienPaper1A1997.pdf.
114 2,450 central offices not currently testing batteries at least annually * 8 hours *$80 per hour = $1,568,000
115 24,500 * .75 *.05 = 919
116 See CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-0662, supra note 102 (“Network Operators, Service Providers and Property
Managers should exercise power generators on a routine schedule in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications.
For example, a monthly 1 hour engine run on load, and a 5 hour annual run.”).
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only $441,000,117 and additional annual test costs only $147,000.118 Is this a reasonable estimate? Does it
take account of all relevant costs? Here, analysis of cost and benefits would appear to be less sensitive to
variations in cost. Even if the cost of generator testing is twice what we estimate, the total cost would
remain under $882,000 per year for monthly tests and $294,000 for annual tests. We seek comment on
the methods and assumptions in this analysis. For example, what is the actual frequency of such tests per
year? How long does a test last, and what is the hourly cost?
55.
Generator repaired soon after it fails a test: The same would appear to be true of the
costs of generator repair. Assume, for example, that during a year, a generator fails a maintenance test at
20 percent of central offices. This would result in test failures at 3,675 central offices119 in a year.
Further assume that the repair of a failed generator is not begun in the next maintenance window120 (or
sooner) only 5 percent of the time. It is difficult to calculate the cost of doing a repair more rapidly, as the
repair will be done in any event. Therefore, we assume a low cost of $320, meaning an additional cost of
$58,800 to commence a repair at the next maintenance window for those central offices at which a
generator fails a test and repair does not begin by the next maintenance window.121 Is this a reasonable
estimate? Does it take account of all relevant costs? Were the cost twice as much, all service providers
combined would not incur more than $118,000 in additional expenses. We seek comment on the methods
and assumptions in this analysis.
56.
Eliminating the tandem generator arrangement where the failure of one generator results
in neither generator functioning: Based on our initial conversations with service providers, we estimate
that there are at most 25 central offices where the failure of one generator results in neither generator
functioning. We ask providers to disclose the percentage (and absolute number) of their central offices
that are equipped with tandem generators that can power the entire office when operating together but
cannot do so when one of them has failed. If it would cost about $10,000 to fix each instance of this
problem by setting up a load-shedding arrangement, the total estimated cost would be $250,000.122 Is this
a reasonable estimate? Does it take account of all relevant costs? Even if remediation of these conditions
is much more complex and service providers decide to install new permanent generators and fuel tanks at
$100,000 each,123 the total cost would not exceed $2.5 million. We seek comment on what the actual cost
is to fix each instance.
57.
Total estimated backup power costs: The foregoing range of assumptions would lead to a
total estimated cost ranging between $11.7 million and $37.5 million for providers to implement all of
these backup power recommendations nationwide, a major portion of which may include one-time costs.
Is this a reasonable estimate? Does it take account of all relevant costs? We believe costs in this range
would be justified by the decreased mortality risk associated with a reliable 9-1-1 system. Based on
estimates of the statistical value of a human life, the proposed improvements in central office backup

117 919 central offices x .5 hours *$80 per hour * 12 times per year = $441,120
118 919 central offices * 2 hours * $80 per hour = $147,040 per year
119 24,500 * .75 *.20 = 3675
120 A maintenance window is a scheduled period of time when repairs and other routine maintenance can be
performed on the network, typically during times of low traffic to minimize disruption to customers. See generally
Window, ATIS TELECOM GLOSSARY, http://www.atis.org/glossary/definition.aspx?id=291. For purposes of this
Notice, we assume that there is at least one maintenance window for routine generator repairs in a 24-hour day. We
seek comment on that assumption, and on any other factors that affect the timing of generator repairs.
121 3675 * .05 * $320 = $58,800
122 25 * $10,000 = $250,000
123 See Texas PUC Report, supra, note 112.
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power would be justified if between two and six lives could be saved through implementation.124 We
seek comment on this cost-benefit analysis, including comment on our estimates and methodology. What
percentage of central offices has generator(s) that are tested under a full load on a routine schedule? What
is the frequency of such tests per year and what is the cost of performing them? Specifically, how many
tests are done, how long does a test last, and what is the hourly cost? What percentage of central-office
generators fail a test on average each year, and what percentage of those inoperable generators receive
repairs by the next maintenance window? What is the cost of those repairs on average?
58.
To what extent would our cost estimate vary with the approach the Commission takes to
address each issue? For example, would there be incremental costs associated with implementing the
internal controls associated with a certification approach, or can it be assumed that covered entities have
already implemented such controls to be in compliance with existing statutory requirements? If not, what
incremental costs would be incurred? Likewise, would there be incremental costs associated with the
reporting approach that are not specified in the analysis described above?
3.

Robust Network Monitoring Capabilities

59.
A 9-1-1 service provider typically operates one or more Network Operations Centers
(NOCs) from which it performs, among other tasks, remote monitoring of its network. This monitoring
enables a provider to detect critical facilities outages and other problems as soon as they occur and to
deploy resources as appropriate to rectify problems. These NOCs typically communicate with the
network elements that they monitor by first connecting with one or more regional aggregation points,
which then connect to the array of network elements to be monitored. The diversity of these regional
aggregation points, including the diversity of the facilities that connect them to NOCs, is vital to
communications reliability. During the derecho, the network monitoring capabilities of the two primary
ILECs involved were disabled within the area of the storm, depriving them of visibility into the status of
their network operations and complicating their recovery efforts.125 In both instances, the loss of
monitoring capability throughout the segment of the network affected by the storm could be attributed to
a single point of failure. To what extent do these failures reflect vulnerabilities in network monitoring
systems nationwide? How often do other 9-1-1 service providers rely on a single physical path to monitor
large portions of their networks, and why have redundant links not been installed?
60.
Based on network monitoring failures during the derecho, the Bureau recommended that
the Commission take action to ensure that 9-1-1 service providers put in place “diverse monitor and
control links and capabilities throughout their network[s].”126 We seek comment on whether and how to
implement this recommendation. What have 9-1-1 service providers affected by the derecho done to
ensure they will not lose visibility into their networks during future emergencies? To what extent have
other 9-1-1 service providers implemented diverse monitoring capabilities within their networks, and do
they plan specific, additional improvements in response to the derecho? How can the Commission be
confident that these measures will be sustained?
61.
Should the Commission pursue the Derecho Report’s recommendations with respect to

124 See DOT Statistical Life Valuation, supra note 97, Cardiac Study, supra note 100. Beyond the saving lives,
other more unquantifiable health benefits will accrue for many people.
125 See Derecho Report at 18, 21. Both companies relied on out-of-state data centers to monitor facilities through
these links as part of their reliability planning, meaning that loss of monitoring links cut off all visibility into the
network in affected areas.
126 Id. at 40.
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network monitoring, how should it specify the level or degree of “diversity” expected of network
monitoring and control capabilities? For example, should the Commission define this “diversity” such
that the failure of one element of a service provider’s monitoring system, for example the failure of a
control link, cannot result in the loss of network monitoring capabilities? If this definition is not suitable,
what would a suitable alternative be and why is it superior? We observe that, unlike other policy
objectives the Bureau recommends, diversity in network monitoring is not the subject of a specific
CSRIC best practice, although other best practices address circuit diversity and network monitoring in
general.127 Are new or more specific best practices needed to provide guidance in this area? If so, what
new or revised best practices are needed? Would additional best practices provide as much assurance of
rigorous compliance as any of the approaches proposed here? Who should be charged with developing
these best practices? At a minimum, the derecho revealed that it is a sound engineering practice to design
network monitoring centers with visibility into the network through physically diverse links that help to
avoid single points of failure.128 Where are these concepts addressed in industry best practices or other
published guidelines? How will the transition to NG9-1-1 affect network monitoring technologies and
the need for diverse monitoring links?
62.
Should the Commission require service providers to file reports describing the diversity
of their network monitoring capabilities? If so, how often should such reports be filed, and how granular
should they be? What specific information should be included in these reports? For example, should the
reports include detailed descriptions of service provider monitoring and control architectures, including
maps? What are the public safety and homeland security implications of public disclosure of key network
routes? Should such reporting be limited to factual discussion of existing practices, or should providers
also report on any planned or ongoing efforts to improve the diversity of their network monitoring
capabilities?
63.
We also seek comment on the approach of having providers certify that their monitoring
and control links are sufficiently diverse. With this approach, to what diversity standard should providers
certify? For example, should service providers certify that no single points of failure exist in the network
monitoring facilities that run between their NOCs and regional aggregation points? Beyond certifying
that their monitoring links are sufficiently diverse, what other information should providers be required to
certify? For example, should service providers be asked to certify that they have more than one regional
aggregation point in major metropolitan areas? How often should providers be required to file any such
certifications, and how granular should they be? How could existing certification schemes, such as
Section 302 of SOX, serve as models for such certification?
64.
Should the Commission require service providers to implement a certain level of
diversity in their network monitoring and control capabilities? If so, how precisely should the
Commission specify the level or degree of “diversity” required of network monitoring and control links?
Should the Commission avail itself of compliance reviews or formal inspections as a further means of
ensuring compliance with any such rule it adopts?
65.
The Bureau explains in its report that “the benefits of this recommendation will likely
outweigh the costs due to the relatively small set of links involved” and the potentially significant benefits

127 See CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-0532, supra note 46 (addressing network diversity); CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-0401,
available at https://www.fcc.gov/nors/outage/bestpractice/DetailedBestPractice.cfm?number=8-7-0401 (“Network
Operators and Service Providers should monitor their network to enable quick response to network issues.”)
128 See Derecho Report at 18, 34.
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to be derived from eliminating single points of failure in 9-1-1 network monitoring.129 We tentatively
find this analysis persuasive. We note that as early as August 2012, Verizon in particular indicated that
one of its planned post-derecho corrective actions was to “[r]edesign the telemetry network . . . to include
more diverse connections and failover (alternative) locations.”130 Since then, in January 2013, Verizon
has provided additional details of its plan, noting that at the various end offices it would “[r]edesign
telemetry edge routers” and “move all telemetry traffic to the IP network across the entire Verizon
Telecom footprint.”131 With this approach, although visibility of an end office to a NOC would still be
affected by power or other outages at the end office or NOC, the move to IP networks could eliminate
potential intermediate single points of failure like that which existed in the Arlington office, and result in
the level of reliability and robustness recommended in the Derecho Report. Because Verizon is doing
this, can we reasonably infer that it would not be cost-prohibitive for other providers?
66.
Preliminary conversations with stakeholders indicate that approximately 75 percent of the
366 major metropolitan areas in the United States lack redundant monitoring access through physically
diverse links.132 If this assumption is accurate, and if we further assume that it would take 100 hours, at
$80 per hour, to install a redundant monitoring access point for those networks that lack this redundancy,
we estimate that it would cost slightly less than $2.2 million (i.e., 0.75 x 366 x $80 x 100 = $2.2 million)
to implement nationwide the Bureau’s recommendation where it is currently lacking. How accurate are
these estimates, do they take into account all relevant costs, and how sensitive is our analysis to variations
in them? For example, even if it costs twice as much to implement diverse monitoring links in each
metropolitan area that currently lack them, the total cost to service providers would not exceed $4.4
million. In either case, given the crucial role that network monitoring plays in troubleshooting network
problems that speed recovery efforts during major emergencies, the overall benefits in decreased risk of
mortality would appear likely to outweigh the costs of implementing this recommendation.133 We seek
comment on this cost benefit analysis. Specifically, we invite providers to disclose the percentage (and
absolute number) of metropolitan areas within their service area in which they have implemented only a
single monitoring access point. What is the cost of setting up an IP-based or other alternative that
eliminates all single points of failure in the telemetry and control paths for those circuits that are used to
deliver 9-1-1 calls to PSAPs? Can the work described be performed by existing staff members, or would
it require the hiring of additional personnel? Specifically, what are the equipment costs, the number of
hours required, and the average cost per hour?

E.

Improved PSAP Notification Under Section 4.9 of the Commission’s Rules

67.
The derecho also demonstrated that timely, clear, and appropriately targeted
communication between 9-1-1 service providers and PSAPs is key during any disruption of 9-1-1 service,

129 Derecho Report at 40-41.
130 See VERIZON, 911 SERVICE AND THE JUNE 29, 2012, DERECHO 6 (Aug. 13, 2012) (submitted with Verizon
Comments).
131 See Verizon Presentation to MWCOG, supra note 91, slide 4.
132 The U.S. Office of Management and Budget identifies 366 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the United
States. See OMB BULLETIN NO. 10-02, UPDATE OF STATISTICAL AREA DEFINITIONS AND GUIDANCE ON THEIR USES
2 (2009), available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/bulletins/b10-02.pdf. Our
conversations with stakeholders suggest that service providers in a majority of these areas currently have only a
single, non-diverse pathway for network monitoring, including key links between their regional aggregation points
and NOCs.
133 See DOT Statistical Life Valuation, supra note 97, Cardiac Study, supra note 100.
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particularly in a disaster when the public requires additional emergency assistance. The Commission’s
current rules recognize that PSAPs must be notified when communications outages affect 9-1-1 service,
but the derecho revealed that many PSAPs’ efforts to restore service and respond to emergencies during
the derecho were hindered by inadequate information and otherwise ineffective communication by service
providers. Although we recognize that conditions often change rapidly in disaster situations, PSAPs –
and ultimately the public – depend on communications providers for accurate situational awareness when
outages affect public safety. We therefore propose amendments to section 4.9 of the Commission’s rules
to clarify how service providers can more effectively and uniformly notify PSAPs of outages affecting 9-
1-1 service and cooperate to restore service as quickly as possible.
68.
Section 4.9 requires certain communications providers to notify the Commission within
120 minutes of discovering a reportable outage.134 The rule also requires specified providers to notify “9-
1-1 special facilities” – i.e., PSAPs – affected by an outage with “all available information that may be
useful” to mitigate the outage “as soon as possible by telephone or other electronic means.”135 After the
derecho, however, many PSAPs reported that they were not notified of outages or received inadequate
information about the scope of impacts to 9-1-1 service. The lack of specificity in this rule has led to
questions regarding how to determine whether or how providers are complying with the Commission’s
PSAP notification requirements. Accordingly, the Derecho Report recommended that “[t]he Commission
should consider stating what is expected of providers with more specificity, including, for example,
methods of notification and a minimum level of detail in the information provided to PSAPs.”136 The
report also observed that “[s]uch clarification may improve compliance and result in greater situational
awareness for PSAPs.”137
69.
During the Bureau’s derecho inquiry, multiple PSAPs stated that they contacted their
9-1-1 service provider to report a loss of service before being contacted by the provider.138 Other PSAPs
received notification in the form of “cryptic” e-mails that referenced problems in one central office but
did not specify all of the jurisdictions affected.139 Unsatisfied with this “passive and ineffective method
of communication,”140 some PSAPs have requested more comprehensive notification through multiple
communications platforms, including the possibility of having a company representative with decision-
making authority physically present at each jurisdiction’s operations center during large-scale
emergencies.141 Furthermore, inadequate information from service providers during the derecho led some
PSAPs to activate ineffective reroutes, or to attempt to reroute even though service could have been

134 See 47 C.F.R. § 4.9.
135 See 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(a)(4) (cable providers); 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(c)(2)(iv) (satellite providers); 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(e)(5)
(wireless providers); 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(f)(4) (wireline providers) 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(g)(i) (interconnected VoIP
providers).
136 Derecho Report at 41.
137 Id.
138 See id.at 30-31, 34.
139 See Fairfax County Comments at 7; Reply Comments of Loudoun County, Virginia, PS Docket No. 11-60, at 1
(Aug. 28, 2012).
140 Fairfax County Comments at 17.
141 See Derecho Report at 22.
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restored via the original route.142
70.
We therefore propose revisions to section 4.9 attached to this Notice as Appendix B. By
this language, we intend to clarify 9-1-1 service providers’ outage reporting obligations and better ensure
that PSAPs receive timely and actionable notification when a communications outage affects 9-1-1
service. Under the proposed rules, service providers subject to PSAP notification requirements would be
required to notify PSAPs of outages immediately, by telephone and in writing via electronic means.
These notifications would include, at a minimum, the nature of the outage, the estimated number of users
affected or potentially affected, the location of those users, the actions being taken by provider to address
the outage, the estimated time at which service will be restored, recommended actions the impacted
facility should take to minimize disruption of service,143 and the sender’s name, telephone number and
email address at which the sender can be reached.
71.
We seek comment on this proposed language and any alternative revisions to section 4.9
that would accomplish the goal of clarifying reporting obligations and ensuring that PSAPs receive more
detailed outage notifications. To what extent do providers currently inform PSAPs of 9-1-1 outages, and
what is included in those communications? What additional information would PSAPs find useful? How
much information that would be helpful to PSAPs is practically available to service providers during
natural disasters and other emergencies? Under the proposed rule, service providers would be required to
provide PSAP notification immediately. Should the Commission adopt a more specific timeframe by
when service providers must notify PSAPs? If so, what would be an appropriate timeframe? Should the
Commission specify a list of acceptable “electronic means” for written notifications, or do PSAPs and
service providers prefer flexibility to choose their own methods of communication? Should service
providers be required to keep and retain records of their communications with PSAPs to demonstrate
compliance with notification requirements? To what extent do state tariffs and other state and local
regulations impose requirements regarding outage reporting and communication in general between
service providers and PSAPs?
72.
We note that the current outage reporting rules apply to a range of service providers
beyond the ILECs that typically route 9-1-1 calls to PSAPs under current network configurations.144
Should any new or revised PSAP notification requirements apply to all entities covered by section 4.9, or
only those considered “9-1-1 service providers” for purposes of this Notice? Should amended notification
requirements apply to additional service providers who are not already covered by section 4.9? Because
our intent is to clarify the current rule and promote efficient communication between service providers
and PSAPs, we begin with the assumption that revisions would be most effective if applied consistently to
all providers covered by the current rule. We invite comment on that view, however, and seek input on
the range of entities that should be subject to revised PSAP notification requirements.
73.
In light of the anticipated evolution toward NG9-1-1, we also seek comment on whether
entities such as data centers and centralized call centers that do not fit the traditional definition of PSAPs
should also be notified of communications outages. For example, how would the outage-reporting rules

142 See Verizon Comments at 6, n.15 (“[C]ertain of these PSAPs would have been better off [not rerouting calls], but
without the appropriate information, they were unable to make that determination at the time”).
143 For example, the 9-1-1 service provider could provide the PSAP with recommended reroutes based on the status
of other parts of its network.
144 See 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(a)(4) (cable providers); 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(c)(2)(iv) (satellite providers); 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(e)(5)
(wireless providers); 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(f)(4) (wireline providers) 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(g)(i) (interconnected VoIP
providers).
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apply to consolidated call centers that may not be physically located in the affected area but still serve
many of the functions of a traditional local PSAP? As technologies evolve, is there a better way to
approach PSAP notification than the current rubric of direct communication from service provider staff to
PSAP staff? For example, are there automated technologies such as machine-readable data feeds that
could transmit outage information to PSAPs in a standardized format?
74.
Because service providers must already notify PSAPs of outages under current rules, we
do not expect any incremental costs resulting from a clarification of that obligation. We do, however,
seek comment on the costs and benefits of particular notification requirements, as well as the burden each
approach would place on providers and PSAPs.

IV.

OTHER MATTERS

A.

Legal Authority

75.
In the Reliability NOI, we sought comment on the potential sources of legal authority for
Commission action to promote the reliability and continuity of 9-1-1 communications networks. We now
seek comment specifically on the sources of legal authority that could support the adoption of proposals
put forward for consideration in this Notice or similar proposals. In doing so, we observe that the subject
matter of this Notice is more limited in scope than the broad inquiry undertaken in the Reliability NOI.
We are seeking comment in this Notice specifically on proposals to promote the reliability and resiliency
of communications infrastructure that is essential for 9-1-1 service.
76.
Congress created the Commission, among other reasons, to “promot[e] the safety of life
and property through the use of wire and radio communications,”145 and there has been judicial
recognition of the “[t]he broad public safety and 9-1-1 authority Congress has granted the FCC.”146 For
example, we are given the goal of “obtaining maximum effectiveness from the use of radio and wire
communications in connection with safety of life and property” and charged with “investigat[ing] and
study[ing] all phases of the problem and the best methods of obtaining the cooperation and coordination
of these systems.”147 In the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999, Congress required
the Commission to “designate 9-1-1 as the universal emergency telephone number for reporting an
emergency to appropriate authorities and requesting assistance.”148 The NET 911 Improvement Act of
2008 made explicit the Commission’s authority to regulate the provision of 9-1-1 by VoIP service
providers, “in accordance with . . . such requirements [a]s may be modified by the Commission from time
to time.”149 More recently, Congress has charged the Commission with ensuring “reliable emergency
access” for individuals with disabilities, granting it authority to issue regulations “as are necessary to
achieve reliable, interoperable communication that ensures access” by such individuals to an IP-enabled
“emergency network, where achievable and technically feasible.”150 When tied together with section
201(b), which gives the Commission authority to “prescribe such rules and regulations as may be

145 47 U.S.C. § 151.
146 Nuvio Corp. v. FCC, 473 F.3d 302, 311 (D.C. Cir. 2007) (Kavanaugh, J., concurring).
147 47 U.S.C. § 154(o).
148 47 U.S.C. § 251(e)(3).
149 47 U.S.C. § 615a-1(a).
150 Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-260, 124 Stat.
2751 (codified at 47 U.S.C. § 615c(g)).
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necessary in the public interest to carry out the provisions” of the Act,151 section 303(r), which requires
the Commission to “[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 chapter,”152 and section
154(i), which authorizes us to “perform any and all acts, make such rules and regulations, and issue such
orders, not inconsistent with this chapter, as may be necessary in the execution of [the Commission’s]
functions,”153 we believe that these provisions empower the Commission to implement the proposals
contained herein or similar proposals. We seek comment on this analysis.
77.
We also seek comment on whether other statutory provisions provide a legal basis for the
adoption of such proposals. To the extent that 9-1-1 service providers are common carriers, would
section 201(b)’s requirement that the “practices” of common carriers be “just and reasonable” serve as
independent authority for these proposals?154 Would this provision extend to any practices determined
unreasonably to deprive the public of the availability of 9-1-1 services vital to “promoting the safety of
life and property” during major disasters? Similarly, section 214(d)’s requirement that a common carrier
“provide itself with adequate facilities for the expeditious and efficient performance of its service as a
common carrier”155 includes an obligation to “undertake improvements in facilities” to meet public
demand.156 Would that obligation cover the duty to provide diversity in circuits, adequacy of power
supplies, or other such “facilities” deemed necessary to satisfy expectations that carriers will comply with
industry best practices, or other standards determined to be appropriate to ensure reasonable availability
of such critical emergency services? With respect to our reporting and certification proposals, we seek
comment on our authority to obtain from common carriers “full and complete information necessary to
enable the Commission to perform the duties and carry out the objects for which it was created.” 157
Finally, to the extent that 9-1-1 service providers use spectrum to provide that service, would our broad
authority to “[p]rescribe the nature of the service to be rendered,”158 and more generally “to manage
spectrum . . . in the public interest,” also afford adequate authority for such proposals to ensure quality of
9-1-1 service?159 We seek comment on these views.

151 47 U.S.C. § 201(b).
152 47 U.S.C. § 303(r).
153 47 U.S.C. § 154(i).
154 47 U.S.C. § 201(b).
155 47 U.S.C. § 214(d).
156 RCA Communications, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 44 F.C.C.2d 613 ¶ 17 (1956). Although section
214(d) requires a “full opportunity for hearing,” that requirement may be satisfied by notice and comment
rulemaking. See, e.g., Amendment of Parts 65 and 69, 10 FCC Rcd 6788 ¶¶ 56-57 (1995), citing AT&T v. FCC, 572
F.2d 17 (2d Cir. 1978) (identical language in section 205(a)). See generally United States v. Storer Broadcasting
Co.,
351 U.S. 192 (1956); WBEN, Inc. v. United States, 396 F.2d 601, 617-18 (2d Cir. 1968); California Citizens
Band Ass’n v. United States,
375 F.2d 43 (9th Cir. 1967) (interpreting other hearing requirements set forth in the
Act).
157 47 U.S.C. § 218. See, e.g., 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, Report and Order, 27 FCC Rcd 2650, 2675-76 ¶ 61 (2012).
158 47 U.S.C. § 303(b).
159 Cellco Partnership v. FCC, 700 F.3d 534, 541-42 (D.C. Cir. 2012) (citing 47 U.S.C. § 303(b)). As the court
made clear, Title III endows the Commission with “expansive powers” and a “comprehensive mandate to
‘encourage the larger and more effective use of radio in the public interest.’” Id., quoting NBC v. United States, 319
(continued….)
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78.
In light of the Commission’s foregoing express statutory responsibilities, would we have
authority to impose requirements of the sort considered in this Notice on other 9-1-1 service providers?
As we have found, “[t]he 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.”160 Would regulation be
“reasonably ancillary” to the Commission’s foregoing statutory authority over 9-1-1 service?161 For
example, would it provide a common baseline for the reliability of 9-1-1 service on a nationwide basis,
regardless of the regulatory status of the entity providing the service?

B.

Small Entities

79.
The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA),162 directs agencies to provide
a description of, and where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be affected by
the proposed rules, if adopted.163 Accordingly, we seek comment on the degree to which the rules
proposed in this Notice would affect small businesses. Is it particularly costly or difficult for small
entities to comply with any of the best practices and other requirements discussed above? Should there be
exemptions for 9-1-1 service providers based on their size or the number of subscribers or PSAPs they
serve? What effect would exemptions from 9-1-1 reliability and resiliency requirements have on public
safety? In addition, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002,164 we seek specific
comment on how we might “further reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns
with fewer than 25 employees.”165 We discuss these matters in more detail in the Initial Regulatory
Flexibility Analysis appended hereto.166

C.

Circumstances Beyond Providers’ Control

80.
We also recognize that, at least in some cases, circumstances beyond the control of 9-1-1
service providers may affect their ability to comply with any recommendations we may adopt here. For
example, environmental and zoning restrictions may prevent service providers from deploying or testing
backup generators at certain locations, and redundant circuits may be particularly costly to install in other
areas. We therefore seek comment on the extent to which these types of circumstances should be taken
into account as part of any Commission action in this area. What are the specific laws, regulations, and
(Continued from previous page)
U.S. 190 (1943) (quoting 47 U.S.C. § 303(g)). For a recent description of the various sources of authority under
Title III, see In the Matter of Facilitating the Deployment of Text-to-911 and Other Next Generation 911
Applications, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, PS Docket No. 11-153, FCC 12-149 at ¶¶ 168-70, 172. (Dec.
13, 2012).
160 The 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, Report and Order, 27
FCC Rcd 2650, 2678 ¶ 67 (2012).
161 See United States v. Sw. Cable Co., 392 U.S. 157, 178 (1968) (recognizing that the Commission may exercise
authority that is “reasonably ancillary to the effective performance of [its] various responsibilities”); Comcast Corp.
v. FCC,
600 F.3d 642, 646 (D.C. Cir. 2010) (discussing ancillary authority).
162 See 5 U.S.C. § 603. The RFA, 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, tit. II, 110 Stat. 857.
163 5 U.S.C. § 603(b)(3).
164 Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Pub. L. No. 107-198, 116 Stat. 729.
165 See 44 U.S.C. § 3506(c)(4).
166 See infra, Appendix A.
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other challenges that would interfere with compliance with these requirements, and how prevalent are
these challenges in specific localities? If cost should be considered, what are the appropriate criteria for
deciding when a cost is truly prohibitive rather than merely inconvenient? Is the Commission’s authority
to suspend, revoke, amend, or waive its rules for good cause167 sufficient to ensure consideration of these
factors, or should there be explicit exemptions in the rules themselves? If we determine that a particular
state, local, or tribal law, regulation, or practice affirmatively impedes the deployment of effective 9-1-1
services to PSAPs or the deployment of NG9-1-1 services, would the Commission have authority to
preempt that law, regulation, or practice? If so, under what circumstances should we exercise that
authority?

D.

Review and Sunset

81.
We also seek comment on whether the Commission should conduct a periodic review of
any rules or other requirements that it adopts to ensure that those actions provide flexibility and take into
account the continuing advancement of technology. If so, how often should such reviews occur, and how
should the ongoing utility of each proposal be measured? Alternatively, we seek comment on whether the
Commission should establish a sunset date on which any of the proposals would cease to apply. How
should that date be determined, and should it be tied to a specific triggering event, e.g., demonstrated
improvements in network reliability or the widespread adoption of NG9-1-1? Should any of these
proposals sunset for individual service providers once they deploy NG9-1-1? Because certain approaches
may entail upfront costs that decrease over time, what effect should the cost of compliance have on a
potential sunset date? Should sunset occur automatically without additional Commission action, or
should the Commission consider a possible sunset after further review? How else might the Commission
ensure that any action it takes remains current and technologically appropriate over time?

E.

Procedural Matters

1.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

82.
As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA),168 the Commission has
prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) for this Notice, of the possible significant
economic impact on small entities of the proposals addressed in this document. The IRFA is set forth as
Appendix A. Written public comments are requested on this IRFA. Comments must be identified as
responses to the IRFA and must be filed by the deadlines for comments on the Notice provided on or
before the dates indicated on the first page of this Notice. The Commission’s Consumer and
Governmental Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, will send a copy of this Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking, including the IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business
Administration (SBA).169 In addition, the NPRM and IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be published in
the Federal Register.170

167 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.3.
168 See 5 U.S.C. § 603.
169 See 5 U.S.C. § 603(a).
170 See id.
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2.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

83.
This document contains proposed new information collection requirements. The
Commission, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, invites the general public and
the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to comment on the information collection requirements
contained in this document, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13. In
addition, pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002, Public Law 107-198, see 44
U.S.C. 3506(c)(4), we seek specific comment on how we might further reduce the information collection
burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees.
3.

Ex Parte

Rules

84.
The proceeding of which this Notice is a part is a “permit-but-disclose” proceeding in
accordance with the Commission’s ex parte rules.171 Persons making ex parte presentations must file a
copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two
business days after the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the Sunshine period applies).
Persons making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation
must (1) list all persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at which the ex parte
presentation was made, and (2) summarize all data presented and arguments made during the
presentation. If the presentation consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or arguments
already reflected in the presenter’s written comments, memoranda or other filings in the proceeding, the
presenter may provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments, memoranda, or
other filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be
found) in lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to Commission
staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must be filed
consistent with rule 1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by rule 1.49(f) or for which the Commission has
made available a method of electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and memoranda summarizing
oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, must be filed through the electronic comment
filing system available for that proceeding, and must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt,
searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize themselves with the Commission’s ex
parte
rules.
4.

Comment Filing Procedures

85.
Pursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR §§ 1.415, 1.419,
interested parties may file comments and reply comments on or before the dates indicated on the first
page of this document. Comments should be filed in PS Docket No. 13-75. Comments may be filed
using the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents
in Rulemaking Proceedings
, 63 FR 24121 (1998).

Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the
ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/.

Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each
filing.
Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-

171 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.1200, 1.1202 et seq.
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class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission’s
Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.
1. All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission’s Secretary
must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St., SW, Room TW-A325,
Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries
must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be
disposed of before entering the building.
2. Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority
Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.
3. U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th
Street, SW, Washington DC 20554.
People with Disabilities: 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).
Confidential Materials: Parties wishing to file materials with a claim of confidentiality should follow the
procedures set forth in section 0.459 of the Commission’s rules. Confidential submissions may not be
filed via ECFS but rather should be filed with the Secretary’s Office following the procedures set forth in
47 C.F.R. Section 0.459. Redacted versions of confidential submissions may be filed via ECFS.

V.

ORDERING CLAUSES

86.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED pursuant to sections 1, 4(i), 4(j), 4(o), 201(b), 214(d),
218, 251(e)(3), 301, 303(b), 303(g), 303(r), 307, 309(a), 309(j), 316, 332, 403, 615a-1, and 615c of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151, 154(i)-(j) & (o), 201(b), 214(d), 218,
251(e)(3),301, 303(b), 303(g), 303(r), 307, 309(a), 309(j), 316, 332, 403, 615a-1, and 615c, that this
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in PS Docket No. 13-75 and PS Docket No. 11-60 IS ADOPTED.
87.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Commission’s Consumer and Governmental
Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, SHALL SEND a copy of this Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking
, including the Initial 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

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

1.
As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA),172 the Commission
has prepared this Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant economic
impact on a substantial number of small entities by the recommendations in this Notice of Proposed Rule
Making
(NPRM). Written public comments are requested on this IRFA. Comments must be identified as
responses to the IRFA and must be filed by the deadlines for comments provided in “Comment Period
and Procedures” of this NPRM. The Commission will send a copy of this NPRM, including this IRFA, to
the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA).173 In addition, the NPRM
and IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be published in the Federal Register.174

A. Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rules

2.
The June 2012 derecho storm revealed serious vulnerabilities in the Nation’s 9-1-1
communications infrastructure that could have been prevented or mitigated through the implementation of
best practices developed by industry and advisory bodies. Yet, the Bureau’s inquiry into communications
failures during and after the storm found that multiple 9-1-1 service providers failed to implement best
practices related to physical circuit diversity, central office backup power, and network monitoring,
leading to emergency communications outages affecting millions of Americans.175 In some cases, PSAPs
did not receive timely or adequate notification of these outages, compounding the difficulty of providing
emergency assistance until service was restored.176 A broad range of comments from state and local
governments, as well as public safety entities themselves, support the Bureau’s finding that such failures
are unacceptable.177 As part of its statutory obligation to ensure that communications networks of all
types “promot[e] safety of life and property,”178 the Commission has a particular responsibility to promote
reliable emergency communications and prevent avoidable failures.
3.
With the objective of ensuring reliability and resiliency of 9-1-1 networks and services, the
NPRM proposes to:
 Ensure that 9-1-1 service providers conduct routine circuit audits to verify physical diversity
and identify avoidable single points of failure. The NPRM seeks comment of the details of
this obligation and the extent to which providers would be required to fortify non-diverse
circuits.

172 See 5 U.S.C. § 603. The RFA, 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. tit. II, 110 Stat. 857.
173 See 5 U.S.C. § 603(a).
174 See id.
175 See Derecho Report at 39-41.
176 See id. at 29, 41.
177 See Fairfax County Comments at 29; Virginia SCC Report at 8; MWCOG Report at 15-17.
178 See 47 U.S.C. §§ 151, 154(o).
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 Ensure that 9-1-1 service providers maintain adequate backup power in central offices,
supported by appropriate testing, maintenance, and records retention. The NPRM seeks
comment on what level of backup power should be considered adequate and whether current
maintenance and recordkeeping practices are sufficient to ensure reliability.
 Ensure that 9-1-1 service providers maintain robust and resilient network monitoring
capabilities, supported by diverse network monitoring and control links. The NPRM seeks
comment on the degree of diversity and specific engineering practices necessary to protect
network monitoring capabilities against single points of failure.
4.
The NPRM proposes a range of approaches by which the above objectives could be
accomplished. For instance, 9-1-1 service providers could be required to report whether they have
implemented relevant best practices, or a company representative could be required to certify compliance
with best practices on a regular basis. The Commission could also codify key best practices in its rules,
such as a minimum level of physical diversity for 9-1-1 circuits. Under the latter approach, the
Commission could also ensure compliance though periodic site inspections and compliance reviews. As
the NPRM notes, these alternatives need not be mutually exclusive and are intended as a starting point for
discussion of which approach(es) will yield the greatest benefit in communications reliability at the
lowest cost to service providers.
5.
The NPRM also proposes revisions to Section 4.9 of the Commission’s rules to state with
greater specificity how and when 9-1-1 service providers must notify PSAPs affected by communications
outages. As noted in the Derecho Report, the current rule has led to questions regarding whether
providers are complying fully with the Commission’s PSAP notification requirements, and whether the
current requirements provide PSAPs with actionable information.179 Clarification of these standards
could increase compliance by service providers and improve situational awareness for PSAPs affected by
outages. Proposed text of the modified rule is attached as Appendix B.
6.
The Commission traditionally has addressed communications reliability issues by working with
service providers to develop voluntary best practices that address vulnerabilities in the communications
network, and by measuring the effectiveness of those best practices through outage reporting. Under the
Commission’s current rules, the outage reporting process has often been effective in improving the
reliability, resiliency, and security of many communications services. The June 2012 derecho, however,
revealed the need to supplement this approach with regard to critical 9-1-1 communications. While the
NPRM supports the development of additional best practices, it recognizes that additional Commission
action may be appropriate. Thus, the proposed approach would complement, rather than replace, the
existing regime of best practices and outage reporting.

B. Legal Basis

7.
The legal basis for the rules and rule changes proposed in this NPRM are contained in Sections 1,
4(i), 4(j), 4(o), 201(b), 214(d), 218, 251(e)(3),301, 303(b), 303(g), 303(r), 307, 309(a), 309(j), 316,
332,403, 615a-1, and 615c of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 151, 154(i),
154(j), 154(o), 201(b), 214(d), 218, 251(e)(3),301, 303(b), 303(g), 303(r), 307, 309(a), 309(j), 316, 332,
403, 615a-1, and 615c. The Commission also believes it has ancillary authority under Title I of the
Communications Act to impose the requirements discussed in the NPRM on any 9-1-1 service providers

179 See Derecho Report at 29, 41.
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not subject to express regulatory authority under Title II.180 Any such regulations would be “reasonably
ancillary” to the goal of ensuring a common baseline for the reliability of 9-1-1 service on a nationwide
basis, regardless of the regulatory status of the entity providing the service.181

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 proposed rules adopted herein.182 The RFA generally
defines the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,” “small
organization,” and “small governmental jurisdiction.”183 In addition, the term “small business” has the
same meaning as the term “small business concern” under the Small Business Act.184 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).185
1. Total Small Entities
9.
Our action may, over time, affect small entities that are not easily categorized at present. We
therefore describe here, at the outset, three comprehensive, statutory small entity size standards.186 First,
nationwide, there are a total of approximately 27.9 million small businesses, according to the SBA.187 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.”188 Nationwide, as of 2007, there were approximately
1,621,315 small organizations.189 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.”190 Census Bureau data for 2011 indicate that there were 89,476

180 See, e.g., 47 U.S.C. § 154(i) (“The Commission may 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”).
181 See United States v. Sw. Cable Co., 392 U.S. 157, 178 (1968) (recognizing that the Commission may exercise
authority that is “reasonably ancillary to the effective performance of [its] various responsibilities”); Comcast Corp.
v. FCC,
600 F.3d 642, 646 (D.C. Cir. 2010) (discussing ancillary authority).
182 5 U.S.C. § 603(b)(3).
183 5 U.S.C. § 601(6).
184 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.”
185 Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. § 632.
186 See 5 U.S.C. §§ 601(3)–(6).
187 See Frequently Asked Questions, U.S. SMALL BUS. ADMIN. OFFICE OF ADVOCACY,
http://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/FAQ_Sept_2012.pdf (reporting numbers from 2010).
188 5 U.S.C. § 601(4).
189 INDEP. SECTOR, THE NEW NONPROFIT ALMANAC AND DESK REFERENCE (2010).
190 5 U.S.C. § 601(5).
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local governmental jurisdictions in the United States.191 We estimate that, of this total, as many as 88,506
entities may qualify as “small governmental jurisdictions.”192 Thus, we estimate that most governmental
jurisdictions are small.
2. Entities Subject to NPRM
10. As noted in the NPRM, we seek comment on the class of entities to which the proposals would
apply. Generally, we expect Commission action to focus narrowly on entities that provide key facilities
for 9-1-1 service rather than the broader class of all communications services capable of placing 9-1-1
calls. Like the Derecho Report, the NPRM defines “9-1-1 service provider” as a communications
provider “responsible for routing and delivering 9-1-1 calls to PSAPs.”193 Under current technologies,
these providers are typically ILECs, although the transition to NG9-1-1 may broaden the class of entities
that provide 9-1-1 service in the future.194 The NPRM therefore asks whether the Commission should
codify a definition of the term “9-1-1 service provider” that clarifies the extent, if any, to which the
proposals would apply to non-ILEC providers of 9-1-1 service.
11.
We anticipate that the proposals in this Notice would apply to all 9-1-1 service providers,
and tentatively define that term to include all entities, including ILECs, that provide 9-1-1 call routing,
ALI, emergency services Internet protocol networks (ESInets), and similar services directly to a PSAP.195
The transition to NG9-1-1 may allow other service providers to perform similar functions, and we seek
comment on the degree to which the proposals should apply to other types of wireline service providers,
wireless service providers, interconnected VoIP service providers, or other potential means of reaching a
PSAP as NG9-1-1 broadens the range of entities capable of delivering 9-1-1 service. We also seek
comment on whether there should be a cost-recovery mechanism for entities regulated as common
carriers under Title II of the Communications Act to the extent not already provided under state tariffs.
12.
Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs). 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

191 U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES: 2011, tbl.427 (data cited therein from
2007).
192 The 2007 U.S Census data for small governmental organizations are not presented based on the size of the
population in each such organization. There were 89,476 small governmental organizations in 2007. If we assume
that county, municipal, township and school district organizations are more likely than larger governmental
organizations to have populations of 50,000 or less, the total of these organizations is 52,125. If we make the same
assumption about special districts, and also assume that special districts are different from county, municipal,
township, and school districts, in 2007 there were 37,381 special districts. Therefore, of the 89,476 small
governmental organizations documented in 2007, as many as 89,506 may be considered small under the applicable
standard. This data may overestimate the number of such organizations that has a population of 50,000 or less. U.S.
CENSUS BUREAU, STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES: 2011, tbls.426, 427 (data cited therein are from
2007).
193 Derecho Report at 9, n.23.
194 See id.
195 The NPRM also proposes revisions to the Commission’s outage reporting rules that could affect a broader range
of service providers currently required to notify PSAPs of outages that potentially affect a “911 special facility.”
See 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(a)(4) (cable providers); 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(c)(2)(iv) (satellite providers); 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(e)(5)
(wireless providers); 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(f)(4) (wireline providers) 47 C.F.R. § 4.9(g)(i) (interconnected VoIP
providers).
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that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census Bureau data for
2007 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.196
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.”197 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.198 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.

D. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance
Requirements

14. The actions proposed in the NPRM could require 9-1-1 service providers to take a range of
actions to strengthen the Nation’s 9-1-1 infrastructure in the areas of circuit diversity, central office
backup power, and network monitoring and control. Specific regulatory obligations would depend upon
the approach chosen to implement each of these objectives. Requirements for compliance could range
from periodic reporting on whether 9-1-1 service providers are voluntarily implementing best practices, to
mandatory standards for 9-1-1 network reliability codified in the Commission’s rules and subject to its
enforcement powers. Service providers also could be required to periodically certify that they have
adequate internal controls to ensure network reliability and inform senior management of any significant
vulnerabilities. Because many 9-1-1 service providers already implement some or all of the relevant best
practices on a voluntary basis, the additional burden of compliance with these requirements may be
minimal.
15. Generally, the reporting and certification approaches would likely require more recordkeeping
and information collection than the codification-and-enforcement approach, which would focus on the
actual implementation of best practices. However, reporting and certification may give service providers
more flexibility in designing and maintaining their networks while ensuring that they remain accountable
for the results of their decisions. At a minimum, 9-1-1 service providers would be required to keep
records of, and disclose to the Commission, the extent to which they have implemented the best practices
discussed in the NPRM. At a maximum, they would be required to comply with reliability standards
enforced by the Commission, potentially requiring changes to networks that do not currently meet these

196 Information: Subject Series – Establishment and Firm Size: Employment Size of Firms for the United States:
2007 Economic Census
, U.S. CENSUS BUREAU,
http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_51SSSZ5&prod
Type=table (last visited Feb. 19 2013).
197 5 U.S.C. § 601(3).
198 Letter from Jere W. Glover, Chief Counsel for Advocacy, U.S. Small Bus. Admin, 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).
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standards.
16. The NPRM also proposes revisions to Section 4.9 of the Commission’s rules to clarify service
providers’ obligations to notify PSAPs of 9-1-1 outages. The NPRM seeks comment on this objective, as
well as on the substantive terms of the reporting obligation. Text of the proposed rules is attached as
Appendix B.

E.

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

Significant Alternatives Considered

17. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered in
reaching its proposed 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.199
18. The approaches proposed in the NPRM are intended to complement and strengthen, not to
replace, the Commission’s current approach of encouraging service providers to voluntarily implement
best practices and measuring compliance through outage reporting. Thus, small entities with limited
resources would continue to enjoy many of the benefits of the current regime, including a general focus
on network performance and reliability rather than specific design requirements. The Commission has
traditionally considered this approach a more flexible and less costly alternative to more comprehensive
regulation, and the NPRM would preserve those advantages in large part.
19. To the extent that the NPRM would impose new obligations on small entities, we seek comment
on alternatives including (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.200 Which of the proposed approaches do small entities find
particularly difficult or costly to comply with, and how could those difficulties be addressed through
modifications or exemptions? What would be the effect on public safety of exemptions from 9-1-1
service requirements, regardless of cost?

F.

Federal Rules that May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict with the Proposed Rule

None.

199 5 U.S.C. § 603(c).
200 Id.
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APPENDIX B

Proposed Rules

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

PART 4 – DISRUPTIONS TO COMMUNICATIONS
1. Section 4.9 is amended by amending paragraphs (a)(4), (c)(2)(iv), (e)(5), (f)(4), and (g)(1)(i) to read as
follows:
§ 4.9 Outage reporting requirements – threshold criteria.
* * * * *
(a) Cable. * * * * * (4) Potentially affects a 911 special facility (as defined in paragraph (e) of §
4.5), in which case they also shall notify immediately by telephone and in writing via electronic means,
any official who has been designated by the management of the affected 911 facility as the provider’s
contact person(s) for communications outages at that facility, and they shall convey 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. This information shall include, at a minimum, the nature of the outage,
the estimated number of users affected or potentially affected, the location of those users, the actions
being taken by provider to address the outage, the estimated time at which service will be restored,
recommended actions the impacted 911 special facility should take to minimize disruption of service, and
the sender’s name, telephone number and email address at which the sender can be reached. Not later
than 72 hours after discovering the outage, the provider shall submit electronically an Initial
Communications Outage Report to the Commission. 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 the Initial and Final reports shall comply with all of the requirements
of § 4.11.
* * * * *
(c) Satellite. * * * * * (2)(iv) Potentially affecting a 911 special facility (as defined in paragraph
(e) of § 4.5), in which case they also shall notify immediately by telephone and in writing via electronic
means, any official who has been designated by the management of the affected 911 facility as the
provider’s contact person(s) for communications outages at that facility, and they shall convey 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. This information shall include, at a minimum, the nature of
the outage, the estimated number of users affected or potentially affected, the location of those users, the
actions being taken by provider to address the outage, the estimated time at which service will be
restored, recommended actions the impacted 911 special facility should take to minimize disruption of
service, and the sender’s name, telephone number and email address at which the sender can be reached.
* * * * *
(e) Wireless. * * * * * (5) That potentially affects a 911 special facility (as defined in paragraph
(e) of § 4.5), in which case they also shall notify immediately by telephone and in writing via electronic
means, any official who has been designated by the management of the affected 911 facility as the
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provider’s contact person(s) for communications outages at that facility, and they shall convey 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. This information shall include, at a minimum, the nature of
the outage, the estimated number of users affected or potentially affected, the location of those users, the
actions being taken by provider to address the outage, the estimated time at which service will be
restored, recommended actions the impacted 911 special facility should take to minimize disruption of
service, and the sender’s name, telephone number and email address at which the sender can be reached.
In determining the number of users potentially affected by a failure of a switch, a concentration ratio of 8
shall be applied. For providers of paging service solely, however, the following outage criteria shall
apply instead of those in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(3) of this section. Notification must be submitted
if the failure of a switch for at least 30 minutes duration potentially affects at least 900,000 user-minutes.
Not later than 72 hours after discovering the outage, the provider shall submit electronically an Initial
Communications Outage Report to the Commission. 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 the Initial and Final reports shall comply with all of the requirements
of § 4.11.
* * * * *
(f) Wireline. * * * * * (4) Potentially affects a 911 special facility (as defined in paragraph (e) of
§ 4.5), in which case they also shall notify immediately by telephone and in writing via electronic means,
any official who has been designated by the management of the affected 911 facility as the provider’s
contact person(s) for communications outages at that facility, and they shall convey 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. This information shall include, at a minimum, the nature of the outage,
the estimated number of users affected or potentially affected, the location of those users, the actions
being taken by provider to address the outage, the estimated time at which service will be restored,
recommended actions the impacted 911 special facility should take to minimize disruption of service, and
the sender’s name, telephone number and email address at which the sender can be reached. Not later
than 72 hours after discovering the outage, the provider shall submit electronically an Initial
Communications Outage Report to the Commission. 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 the Initial and Final reports shall comply with all of the requirements
of § 4.11.
* * * * *
(g) Interconnected VoIP Service Providers. * * * * * (1)(i) 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 911 special facility (as defined in paragraph (e) of
§ 4.5), in which case they also shall notify immediately by telephone and in writing via electronic means,
any official who has been designated by the management of the affected 911 facility as the provider’s
contact person(s) for communications outages at that facility, and the provider shall convey 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. This information shall include, at a minimum, the
nature of the outage, the estimated number of users affected or potentially affected, the location of those
users, the actions being taken by provider to address the outage, the estimated time at which service will
be restored, recommended actions the impacted 911 special facility should take to minimize the
disruption of service, and the sender’s name, telephone number and email address at which the sender can
be reached; or * * * * *
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STATEMENT OF

CHAIRMAN JULIUS GENACHOWSKI

Re:
Improving 911 Reliability, PS Docket No. 13-75; Reliability and Continuity of Communications
Networks, Including Broadband Technologies
, PS Docket No. 11-60.
I'd like to salute the many representatives of PSAPs – 9-1-1 call centers – from around the
country who are in the audience today. We appreciate the work you do every day to keep our nation safe,
and our action today is intended to ensure that the communications technology you need is there when
you need it most – for you and for the millions of Americans you protect.
I'd also like to recognize Barbara Jaeger, President of the National Emergency Number
Association. NENA has been a strong advocate on behalf of 9-1-1 professionals, and consistently helpful
in our efforts to improve public safety communications.
Last June, 9-1-1 call centers across the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states got a wake-up call when
the derecho storm struck, causing dangerous 9-1-1 outages. In some instances, this lasted for several days.
All outages are absolutely unacceptable. Especially, when it comes to communicating with emergency
personnel during disasters, our policy has to be zero tolerance for outages. So we immediately launched
an investigation, and two months ago our Public Safety Bureau issued a strong and thorough report
examining the failures of 9-1-1 communications after the derecho.
A key take-away from that report was that many of the problems encountered could have been
avoided if best practices for improving reliability had been in place and rigorously followed. Best
practices don’t protect the people if they are not put in place. We must ensure that these best practices are
put into practice. Today, the Commission takes an essential step to do so – to ensure Americans can rely
on 9-1-1 networks in the event of major disasters.
Today’s NPRM proposes that 9-1-1 service providers regularly audit 9-1-1 circuits for physical
diversity, improving network reliability and resiliency by helping identify and correct single points of
failure. It also proposes ensuring 9-1-1 providers maintain adequate central office backup power,
supported by appropriate maintenance, testing, and records retention. And it promotes physically diverse
network monitoring and control links, providing increased resiliency and accurate situational awareness
during communications outages.
Implementation approaches range from reporting and certification requirements to mandatory
reliability standards, enforced through inspections and compliance reviews. Building the record is vital,
debate is essential, and the Commission must always do what is necessary to prevent 9-1-1 outages from
happening again.
The Bureau’s derecho report also found that multiple jurisdictions did not receive adequate notice
of 9-1-1 service disruptions during and after the storm. The NPRM proposes changes to the
Commission’s current outage-reporting rules to clarify service providers’ responsibility to notify 9-1-1
call centers of communications outages. Proposed language adds specificity to this notification
requirement to ensure that 9-1-1 call centers receive timely and actionable notice of outages affecting 9-1-
1 service, minimizing any disruption to emergency response.
This Commission action will have greatest immediate effect on entities that currently route and
deliver 9-1-1 calls to call centers. The NPRM also recognizes the transition to more IP-based and
wireless networks and seeks comment on a range of entities likely to provide 9-1-1 services in the future.
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In particular, the NPRM supports transition to NG9-1-1 while ensuring that 9-1-1 service providers are
held to high standards of reliability, both now and in the future.
Today’s action continues our work to tackle these and other 9-1-1-related issues. For example,
in the last two years we initiated text-to-911 on mobile phones, launched wireless emergency alerts to
allow local authorities to send text to citizens in emergencies, and are improving location accuracy for
mobile 9-1-1 so emergency personnel can more quickly locate people in need.
I want to thank the Public Safety Bureau for their work on this item, and all they’ve been doing
the past few years to ensure that 9-1-1 and our communications networks are there for the American
people when they need them most.
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STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER ROBERT M. McDOWELL

Re:
Improving 911 Reliability, PS Docket No. 13-75; Reliability and Continuity of Communications
Networks, Including Broadband Technologies
, PS Docket No. 11-60.
One of the core missions of our government is to keep the American people safe and help them in
times of crisis. Part of Congress’s mandate to the Commission is to ensure that our nation’s
communications infrastructure remains functional during natural disasters and crises triggered by human
actions. All too often, during a catastrophe, just as we need communications systems the most is when
they have been disrupted, impaired or overwhelmed. Today, we seek the American people’s comments
on options aimed to improve the reliability and resiliency of our nation’s communications infrastructure.
I don’t necessarily agree with every idea in this notice, but I do think it is important for us to seek and
gather the data and opinions of all interested stakeholders before going any further.
By way of background, the damage caused by last summer’s so-called “derecho” storm in the
Mid-Atlantic region was simply overwhelming. This destructive windstorm came with little warning and
left millions without electrical power, damaged communications systems and knocked out 9-1-1 services.
As this notice states, 77 public safety answering points, or “PSAPs,” serving more than 3.6 million people
in six states lost some degree of connectivity. Upwards of 2.5 million people in the greater Washington,
DC area alone were without access to 9-1-1 services as a result of this powerful natural phenomenon.
The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau’s investigation concluded that many of these
failures could have been prevented with 9-1-1 circuit auditing, reliable and functional backup power,
monitoring systems and proper implementation of already-crafted industry best practices.
In the immediate wake of the derecho, Chairman Genachowski and I discussed the urgent need to
investigate what went wrong and how the Commission could help prevent such tragedies in the future.
The response from the Chairman, our fellow Commissioners and the bureaus was swift and thorough. All
of them should be commended, as should many state and local public safety agencies, along with
industry, for their efforts to learn the truth about what went wrong so we can prepare for tomorrow’s
emergency situations.
I am pleased that we seek information regarding the costs and benefits of the various options
contained in this notice. The Commission has provided some rough cost estimates, and I hope that
industry takes this opportunity to provide granular, network-specific data regarding the projected costs of
implementing the various proposals. I have long advocated performing bona fide cost-benefit analyses
before adopting new rules.
Similarly, I am encouraged that we seek comment on our statutory authority to adopt regulations
regarding the reliability of 9-1-1 communications networks, along with whether the Commission should
review and sunset any requirements it may impose as an outcome of this notice.
I do, however, have concerns that, if the Commission decides to follow a path towards reliability
requirements based on a set of standards or best practices, the Commission could unintentionally stifle
technological innovation and 9-1-1 communications improvements. We must ensure that any FCC rules
allow service providers the flexibility to manage and upgrade their network configurations, including
those components that improve 9-1-1 communications reliability, such as backup power and monitoring
systems. Furthermore, rules ordering the Commission to conduct compliance reviews and site inspections
of 9-1-1 service provider facilities to monitor compliance with industry standards or new Commission
requirements could be unduly burdensome on the Commission’s limited resources.
I would like to thank the Chairman for incorporating many suggested edits. Specifically, I am
pleased that this notice seeks data and information regarding 9-1-1 communications service providers’
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implementation of and experiences with industry best practices. A fact-driven analysis warrants a public
record that contains nationwide data as opposed to information supplied by a couple of providers
regarding the effects of a specific storm on a particular area. I am also pleased that the notice inquires
about improvements implemented to increase reliability based on the lessons learned from the derecho,
along with whether best practices should be revised and how they should be used going forward.
Finally, I would like to thank the dedicated staff of the Public Safety and Homeland Security
Bureau for their efforts in collecting and analyzing information in the aftermath of the derecho, issuing
the bureau report, and preparing this notice. I also know that you are busy organizing workshops and
compiling data regarding what we can learn from the effects of Hurricane Sandy. I am grateful for
everything you do to ensure that Americans have access to emergency services when they are needed
most. Thank you.
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STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER MIGNON L. CLYBURN

Re:
Improving 911 Reliability, PS Docket No. 13-75; Reliability and Continuity of Communications
Networks, Including Broadband Technologies
, PS Docket No. 11-60.
This NPRM on improving the reliability of 9-1-1 communications networks sends an important
message about how serious this Commission takes its statutory obligation to promote the safety of life
and property through the use of wire and radio communication. Congress not only made public safety
communications a fundamental purpose for creating this agency almost 80 years ago, it passed more
recent laws in 1999 and 2008 that specifically direct us to ensure the availability of emergency 9-1-1
service throughout the country.
Consistent with these Congressional directives, the Commission should take appropriate,
corrective action if it learns of any significant problem with 9-1-1 service. As we know, the June 2012
Derecho not only caused several deaths and widespread property damage, it also impaired the ability of
millions of Americans to access 9-1-1 services and left certain areas without 9-1-1 for several days. It
was therefore incumbent upon the Commission to swiftly and thoroughly investigate why these
substantial service outages occurred and find ways to minimize the risks of them ever happening again.
I commend Chairman Genachowski for making this investigation a top priority. Under the expert
leadership of David Turetsky, the staff conducted a comprehensive inquiry. It reviewed more than 500
network outage reports and interviewed 28 PSAPs, numerous state and county officials, representatives of
eight communications providers, as well as battery and equipment manufacturers.
The results of those investigations are, unfortunately, somewhat troubling. To promote network
reliability, the Commission has traditionally used a light regulatory touch, preferring voluntary
commitments to industry best practices. But this approach only works if communications providers are
actually following these best practices. What the staff uncovered, however, was that with a number of
communications providers, this was not the case. Service disruptions were found to be caused by
communications providers failing to have adequate plans and systems in place in cases of storms and
other inclement weather events, and the Bureau concluded that these failures could, and would have been
avoided, if providers had followed industry best practices and other sound engineering principles.
This is unacceptable. It is now appropriate and timely for the Commission to propose rules to
ensure that communications companies are following well-established practices to promote reliability. At
a minimum, these practices should include what our technical staff recommended in the Derecho Report:
auditing the physical routes of 9-1-1 networks, ensuring physical diversity of monitor and control links,
backup power at central offices, and giving PSAPs more information when service outages occur. The
NPRM seeks comments on the best approach to implement these recommendations and offer four
possible methods: reporting, certification, or compliance review requirements. Whichever approach we
ultimately adopt, we must be certain that our licensees are meeting their obligations to allow consumers to
reach 9-1-1 when they need it the most. I was also pleased to see that we are asking how the proposals
should apply to IP networks and facilities, such as data centers that host NG9-1-1 services.
I would like to especially thank David, Lisa Fowlkes, Jeff Goldthorp, Lauren Kravetz, and the
other talented staff members in the Public Safety Bureau for their work on this item.
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STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER JESSICA ROSENWORCEL

Re:
Improving 911 Reliability, PS Docket No. 13-75; Reliability and Continuity of Communications
Networks, Including Broadband Technologies
, PS Docket No. 11-60.
Last night, I had the privilege of joining several hundred public safety officials to celebrate our
nation’s emergency calling system at the 9-1-1 Honors Gala. This is a great event every year, but this is
also a special year for 9-1-1 history buffs.
After all, it was 45 years ago when the first 9-1-1 call was made in Haleyville, Alabama. And it
was ten years ago when the Congressional Next Generation 9-1-1 Caucus was first established to create a
bipartisan voice to support our nation’s 9-1-1 systems. Today this Caucus is a force for good, led by
Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Richard Burr, Representative Anna Eshoo, and Representative John
Shimkus. It was also ten years ago when the NG9-1-1 Institute was established—a non-profit
organization that helps deploy and advance next generation 9-1-1 services across the country. But history
aside, last evening was an opportunity to celebrate the everyday heroes who run our 9-1-1 call centers,
answer their phones with steely calm, and help ensure that help is on the way.
Because that is really what this is all about. You may only make one 9-1-1 call in your life, but
as the old saw goes, it will be the most important call you ever make. You need to know that your call
will be answered.
Yet last year, when the Derecho storm struck the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, too many
9-1-1 calls were not answered. Seventy-seven public safety answering points spanning six states lost
some connectivity. This affected more than 3.6 million people. Seventeen 9-1-1 call centers lost service
completely, leaving over two million people without access to 9-1-1.
Just after the Derecho, I visited the 9-1-1 center in Fairfax Country, one of the public safety
answering points that was unable to answer emergency calls. The head of Fairfax Country’s Department
of Public Safety Communications described an eerie quiet in the aftermath of the storm, as the calls into
9-1-1 quickly and implausibly ceased. Something was not right; something was clearly broken.
Which brings us to the Commission’s efforts today to fix these problems. As a result of our
investigation into communications failures during the Derecho, we now have more clarity about what
happened. We know that back-up generators and switches failed. We know that power failures
undermined monitoring capabilities. We also know that 9-1-1 centers were left in the dark without
service—and without notice.
So the proposals before us build on what we now know: the need for better back-up power at
central offices, the need for improved 9-1-1 circuit auditing, the need for more diverse monitoring
systems, and the need for more extensive reporting to 9-1-1 personnel on the front lines, answering calls.
They are commonsense solutions. They should put us on the road toward making sure that failures like
the ones we saw following the Derecho never happen again.
For my part, I want these policies put in
place by the first anniversary of this storm. I also recognize that as we move forward in this proceeding,
there will be discussion about the need to take each step proposed. There will be concerns about cost.
These are fair. Debate is a necessary—and healthy—part of our process.
But there should be no debate about why this conversation matters. Because this is not just a
conversation about technical fixes. We must never forget this is a conversation about real people and
their safety. Last night, I heard chilling stories from 9-1-1 operators at work in places like Aurora,
Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut—just down the road from where I grew up. Last night and even
now, the mention of these places conjures up difficult images. Their memories rightfully sting. And their
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horror leaves us justifiably unsettled.
But in our haze of grief and outrage, we should never forget who was there to help. The calls that
came tumbling into our 9-1-1 centers after these and other incidents unleashed the best that our public
safety systems have to offer. They sent help, they offered hope, and they saved lives.
Our rulemaking today is a small way of honoring their efforts, and a big part of making sure that
our nation’s 9-1-1 systems are dependable. It is also an essential part of making sure that the frailties we
saw in the Derecho last year are fixed and that every call to 9-1-1 is answered.
I support this rulemaking. Thank you to the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau for
your work to deliver it to us today.
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STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER AJIT PAI

Re:
Improving 911 Reliability, PS Docket No. 13-75; Reliability and Continuity of Communications
Networks, Including Broadband Technologies
, PS Docket No. 11-60.
When Americans dial 911, they understand that they won’t reach Halle Berry,201 but they do
expect to reach one of the real-life heroes who staff our nation’s public safety answering points (PSAPs).
It doesn’t matter if the call is placed because of a personal emergency or a widespread natural disaster.
Whether on a landline or cellphone, using voice over Internet Protocol service or a circuit-switched loop,
our citizens expect to reach an emergency operator each and every time. And that’s precisely what
today’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is about: keeping the promise to consumers that when they call
911, emergency personnel will answer.
That promise has long been a core mission of the FCC. Indeed, in the very first sentence of my
very first statement at an FCC meeting, I pointed out that the very first section of the Communications
Act of 1934 established the Commission in part “for the purpose of promoting safety of life and property
through the use of wire and radio communications.”202 Staying true to that statutory purpose in a time of
technological change is a challenge we have to meet.
Fortunately, everyone agrees that improving the resilience of communications networks—and
especially those networks that serve PSAPs—should be one of our major goals moving forward. That’s
one thing we’ve learned at the two field hearings we have held so far on the subject.
Even more fortunately, we’re not writing on a blank slate. The Public Safety and Homeland
Security Bureau compiled an extensive report on what went wrong after the derecho that swept across
several states last June. The FCC’s Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council
has developed best practices. The Network Reliability Steering Committee of the Alliance for
Telecommunications Industry Solutions has provided technical and operational expert guidance when
needed. And the National Emergency Number Association, the National Association of State 9-1-1
Administrators, and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials have developed and
disseminated information about best practices to first responders across the country.
That’s why I am so glad that my colleagues accepted my suggestion to seek input from another
group of stakeholders that’s been working on matters of reliability and resiliency for years: the states,
state commissions, and PSAPs. These entities handle many of the regulatory nuts and bolts of our
emergency communications system. They establish 911 service tariffs, collect and distribute 911 funds,
and negotiate 911 service contracts. Day in and day out, our state and local counterparts have been doing
their part to keep their emergency calling centers operational to serve the American public, and I hope
they will share their expertise.
Common sense isn’t the only thing driving the need for consultation—so is the law. The New
and Emerging Technologies 911 Improvement Act of 2008 is a good example.203 This Act requires us to
“work cooperatively with public safety organizations,” among others, “to develop best practices that
promote consistency, where appropriate,” for 911 service. Among these best practices are “network

201 Cf. The Call (Troika Pictures et al. 2013).
202 Utilizing Rapidly Deployable Aerial Communications Architecture in Response to an Emergency, PS Docket No.
11-15, Notice of Inquiry, 27 FCC Rcd 6402, 6421 (2012) (Statement of Commissioner Ajit Pai), available at
http://go.usa.gov/2Ut9.
203 Pub. L. No. 110-283.
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diversity requirements,” “call-handling in the event of call overflow or network outages,” and
“certification and testing requirements” for service to PSAPs.204 I look forward to hearing from
stakeholders how statutory responsibilities like these should shape our work going forward.
In that same vein, I hope we will keep in mind an even more recent statute, the Next Generation
9-1-1 Advancement Act of 2012.205 Many of the best practices discussed in the Notice—such as call
overflow rerouting, link-failure rerouting, physical and logical network diversity, and continuous
monitoring—are built into NG911 networks. Indeed, the Bureau’s derecho report noted that had NG911
“architectures and capabilities been in place . . . they likely could have significantly lessened the
derecho’s impact on emergency communications.”206 Facilitating that deployment should be a national
priority. The Notice rightly acknowledges as much, in part by seeking comment on whether any rules we
adopt in this proceeding should contain a sunset provision. Such a provision would reflect the fact that
rules adopted today may not be appropriate tomorrow—especially not after the widespread deployment
and adoption of NG911.
I am also glad that today’s Notice proposes to evaluate our options through the lens of cost-
benefit analysis. Cost-benefit analysis does not mean automatic support for or opposition to any proposed
regulation. When properly applied, however, it does lead to smart regulation. Of course, the value of
cost-benefit analysis is entirely dependent on the data we use. So I hope stakeholders will help us
understand more thoroughly the actual costs of some of our proposals, especially where we do not have
concrete evidence for the estimates used in the Notice to calculate costs.
In sum, I am pleased to support today’s Notice. It is imperative that we take the necessary action,
in conjunction with the states, in order to make sure that every American can reach an emergency
operator when she or he dials 911. That promise has become part of our social contract, and it is a
promise we must keep.

204 47 U.S.C. § 615a-1(h)(2)–(4).
205 Pub. L. No. 112-96, Title VI, Subtitle E.
206 FCC PUB. SAFETY & HOMELAND SEC. BUREAU, IMPACT OF THE JUNE 2012 DERECHO ON COMMUNICATIONS
NETWORKS AND SERVICES: REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS at 44 (PSHSB rel. Jan. 10, 2013), available at
http://go.usa.gov/2UMP.
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