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VoIP Outage Reporting

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Released: December 14, 2012
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
‘ December 14, 2012

DA 12-2027

Small Entity Compliance Guide

Proposed Extension of Part 4 of the Commission’s Rules

Regarding Outage Reporting

To Interconnected Voice Over Internet Protocol Service Providers

FCC 12-22
PS Docket No. 11-82

This Guide is prepared in accordance with the requirements of Section 212
of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. It is
intended to help small entities - small businesses, small organizations (non-
profits), and small governmental j u r i s d i c t i o n s - comply with the new rules
adopted in the above-referenced FCC rulemaking docket. This Guide is not
intended to replace the rules and, therefore, final authority rests solely with
the rules. Although we have attempted to cover all parts of the rules that
might be especially important to small entities, the coverage may not be
exhaustive.

As a result, in any civil or administrative action against a small entity for a

violation of a rule or rules, the content of the Small Entity Compliance Guide
may be considered only as evidence of the reasonableness or appropriateness
of proposed fines, penalties or damages. This Guide may not apply in a
particular situation based upon the circumstances, and the FCC retains the
discretion to adopt approaches on a case-by-case basis that may differ from
this Guide, where appropriate. Any decisions regarding a particular small
entity will be based on the statute and regulations.

Interested parties are free to file comments regarding this Guide and the

appropriateness of its application to a particular situation; the FCC will
consider whether the recommendations or interpretations in the Guide are
appropriate in that situation. The FCC may decide to revise this Guide
without public notice to

reflect changes in
the FCC's approach to
implementing a rule, or to clarify or update the text of the Guide. Direct your
comments and recommendations, or calls for further assistance, to the
FCC's Consumer Center:

1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322)

TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322)

Fax: 1-866-418-0232

fccinfo@fcc.gov

COMPLIANCE REQUIREMENTS

I.

Key Objective of the Proceeding

A major objective of amending the communications network outage reporting rules (Part 4 of the
FCC’s rules) is to extend reporting requirements to interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol
(VoIP) service providers so that the FCC can obtain and evaluate all necessary information
regarding losses of service to help ensure that the Nation’s 911 systems are as reliable and
resilient as possible and also to allow the FCC to monitor compliance with the statutory
911obligations of interconnected VoIP service providers. The FCC implemented these changes in
recognition that interconnected VoIP subscribership has grown so much that it is now an integral
part of the communications infrastructure of the country.

II.

COMPLIANCE

A. Rule Requirements

· The FCC now includes interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service
providers in the pool of communications providers that must comply with Part 4 outage
reporting requirements. When a service provider has an outage (defined by Section 4.5(a) of
the Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. §4.5(a), as a network failure or degradation that
significantly degrades the end user’s ability to make or maintain communications), that
provider must report the event to the FCC if the outage meets certain threshold criteria.

For
interconnected VoIP service, the FCC interprets an outage to mean a complete loss of
service and/or connectivity to customers.

1 The amended rule (47 C.F.R. §4.3(h)) notes
that such interconnected VoIP service providers may be facilities-based or non-facilities-
based, and that the providers' affiliated and non-affiliated entities that maintain or provide
communications networks or services are subject to the amended rule.
· The FCC, at 47 C.F.R. §4.7(e), defines the term “user minutes,” to capture the impact of an
outage, as:
(1) assigned telephone number minutes (defined in 47 C.F.R. §4.7(c)), for
telephony, including non-mobile interconnected VoIP telephony, and for those
paging networks in which each individual user is assigned a telephone number;
(2) the mathematical result of multiplying the duration of an outage, expressed in
minutes, by the number of end users potentially affected by the outage, for all
other forms of communications. For wireless service providers and
interconnected VoIP service providers to mobile users, the number of potentially
affected users should be determined by multiplying the simultaneous call capacity
of the affected equipment by a concentration ratio of 8.
· The FCC, at 47 C.F.R. §4.9(g), provides threshold criteria that trigger the interconnected
VoIP reporting obligations, requiring that all interconnected VoIP service providers must


1 See Proposed Extension of Part 4 of the Commission’s Rules Regarding Outage Reporting To Interconnected Voice
Over Internet Protocol Service Providers and Broadband Internet Service Providers, Report and Order, PS Docket No.
11-82, 27 FCC Rcd 2650, 2655 at para. 8, and 2683 at para. 80 (2012).

notify the FCC through its Network Outage Reporting System (NORS).2 This information
must be provided:
(1) within 4 hours of discovering that they have experienced on any of their
facilities that they own, operate, lease, or utilize, an outage lasting at least 30
minutes that potentially affects a “911 special facility,”3 in which case the
providers must also immediately notify any official who has been designated by
the management of the affected 911 special facility as the contact person on
interconnected VoIP communications outages at that 911 special facility, and
provide that person all available information that may be useful to the management
of the affected 911 special facility in mitigating the effects of the outage on efforts
to communicate with that 911 special facility; or
(2) within 24 hours of discovering that they have experienced on any of their
facilities that they own, operate, lease, or utilize, an outage lasting at least 30
minutes that potentially affects:
(a) at least 900,000 user minutes of interconnected VoIP service and results
in complete loss of service; or
(b) any of the defined “special offices and facilities”.4
The amended rule also directs that not later than 30 days after discovering a reportable outage, the
provider must submit through NORS a Final Communications Outage Report to the FCC.

B. Impact on Small Businesses

The amended rules will require small interconnected VoIP service providers to collect and to
report certain outage-related information to the FCC. Because this will necessarily cost time, the
FCC took the step of applying the rules to small interconnected VoIP service providers only after
determining that the benefit of receiving and evaluating the information outweighed the burden to
all providers, including small providers. Regarding information collection, the FCC concluded
that there will be only minimal impact on small interconnected VoIP service providers, because
those providers most likely already collect the kinds of information (e.g., date, duration,
circumstances of an outage) that the FCC seeks. Regarding information reporting, the impact on
small interconnected VoIP service providers likewise will be minimal: the costs are essentially
those of (1) identifying those cases that meet the outage reporting threshold, (2) determining the


2 Specifically, such notification is accomplished by providing electronic input into NORS, using FCC-approved
Web-based outage report templates unless there are technical problems preventing this input, in which case
information may be submitted to the FCC by e-mail, FAX, or courier. See 47 C.F.R. § 4.11.
3 Section 4.5(e) defines when an outage that “potentially affects a 911 special facility” occurs. See 47 C.F.R. § 4.5(e).
4 Section 4.5(b) of the Commission’s Rules, 47 C.F.R. § 4.5(b), defines “special offices and facilities” as major
military installations, key government facilities, nuclear power plants, and those airports that are listed by the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) as current primary, commercial service, and reliever airports. Section 4.5(b)-(d)
discusses general requirements related to special offices and facilities. 47 C.F.R. § 4.5(b)-(d). Note that a “911 special
facility” is not included in the definition of “special offices and facilities” and receives different treatment under the
rules.

cause of the outage, and (3) uploading the outage information into the FCC's Network Outage
Reporting System (NORS). Finally, the FCC's two-decade long experience of communications
network outage reporting strongly suggests that small interconnected VoIP service providers may
never meet the minimum thresholds (e.g., an outage affecting at least 900,000 user-minutes of
interconnected VoIP service resulting in a complete loss of service) which trigger the reporting
requirement.

C. Actions a Small Entity Must Take to Comply with the Amended Rules

In order to comply with the Commission's amended rules that extend Part 4 requirements to
interconnected VoIP service providers, a small entity must:
· be an interconnected VoIP service provider:
o provision of interconnected VoIP services can be either "facilities-based,"
meaning the VoIP provider owns and operates the broadband access
communications infrastructure needed to deliver VoIP services; or "non-facilities-
based," meaning the VoIP provider does not actually own the infrastructure, but
rather leases or otherwise utilizes another’s infrastructure.
· have (or establish) the ability to provide input through NORS.5
· have suffered an outage on its interconnected VoIP s e r v i c e system:
o If the outage even potentially affects a 911 special facility and lasts at least 30
minutes, then within 4 hours of having knowledge of the outage, the provider has
to notify the FCC of the outage, through NORS. The interconnected VoIP service
provider also has to contact, as soon as possible, the appropriate personnel at the
affected or potentially affected 911 special facility with information that could
help mitigate any effects of the outage.
o If the interconnected VoIP service provider experiences an outage on any of its
own facilities or those it operates, leases or otherwise uses (not including 911
special facilities) and the outage lasts at least 30 minutes and has the potential to
affect at least 900,000 user minutes, then within 24 hours of having knowledge of
the outage, the provider has to notify the FCC of the outage, through NORS.
o If the outage even potentially affects any “special offices and facilities” and the
outage lasts at least 30 minutes, then within 24 hours of having knowledge of the
outage, the interconnected VoIP service provider has to notify the FCC of the
outage, through NORS.
·
file, through NORS, no later than 30days after discovering the outage, a Final
Communications Outage Report.


5 Section 4.11 describes the manner in which information must be submitted. See 47 C.F.R. § 4.11.

D. Notification

The amended rules require each interconnected VoIP service provider, even if it is a small
interconnected VoIP service provider, to:
· notify the FCC, through NORS, within 4 hours of discovering that they have experienced an
outage of at least 30 minutes on any of their facilities, where such outage potentially affects
a 911 special facility.
· notify the FCC, through NORS, within 24 hours of discovering that they have
experienced an outage of at least 30 minutes that potentially affects at least 900,000 user
minutes of interconnected VoIP service; or an outage of at least 30 minutes that
potentially affects any of the defined special offices and facilities.
· s ubmit, through NORS, a Final Communications Outage Report to the FCC not later than 30
days after discovering any reportable outage.

III.

COMPLIANCE DATE

·

Dec. 16, 2012 –

Rules become effective.

IV.

WEB Link

FCC extends network outage reporting requirement to interconnected VoIP service providers to
help ensure a more resilient and reliable 9-1-1 System. (Docket No. 11-82). Action by: the FCC.
Adopted: 02/15/2012 by Report and Order (FCC No.12-22).
FCC-12-22A1.doc
FCC-12-22A2.doc
FCC-12-22A3.doc
FCC-12-22A4.doc
FCC-12-22A1.pdf
FCC-12-22A2.pdf
FCC-12-22A3.pdf
FCC-12-22A4.pdf

Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.

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