McDowell on on Promoting a More Resilient and Reliable 9-1-1 System
COMMISSIONER ROBERT M. McDOWELL
APPROVING IN PART, CONCURRING IN PART
Proposed Extension of Part 4 of the Commission's Rules Regarding Outage Reporting to
Interconnected Voice Over Internet Protocol Service Providers and Broadband Internet
Service Providers, PS Docket No. 11-82, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 11-74
My colleagues and I agree on the vital importance placed on voice calls to 9-1-1. All Americans
rightly expect their emergency calls to go through, even though most may not understand the technologies
involved, how the systems operate or their regulatory treatment. I am grateful to all of the commenters
for sharing their important insights and marketplace experiences on this topic in response to the notice of
inquiry initiated last April. And, I thank the Chairman for his willingness to accept edits that allow for
meaningful comment on the Commission's authority to impose outage reporting requirements on
broadband Internet service providers. In my view, we do not have Congress's authority to act as
On the other hand, I agree that if we are to have rules, the proper way to proceed is through a
notice of proposed rulemaking containing the text of proposed rules. Again, I appreciate Chairman
Genachowski's efforts on this front. Also, we are at the beginning of the rulemaking stage, final
decisions have yet to be made, and the notice contains many questions on the matter of our jurisdiction,
not to mention the scope of the proposal.
For these reasons, I am voting to approve this notice (and process), but I am concurring on the
notice's discussion of the Commission's legal authority. Given the importance of the topic, I am entering
this process with an open mind and look forward to learning more. As always, I thank our talented staff
for their hard work and diligence.
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