COMMISSIONER MIGNON L. CLYBURN
Improving 911 Reliability
, PS Docket No. 13-75; Reliability and Continuity of Communications
Networks, Including Broadband Technologies
, PS Docket No. 11-60.
Congress made public safety a fundamental purpose for creating this agency almost 80 years ago.
It also passed laws, in 1999 and 2008, that authorize us to promote emergency 9-1-1 services throughout
the country. So, whenever the FCC identifies significant problems with these vital services, we should
not hesitate to address them, and by adopting this Order, the Commission takes necessary action to
improve the reliability of emergency networks.
The 9-1-1 problems which this Order addresses came to our attention at a time when we could
least afford them -- during the June 2012 derecho -- one of the most disastrous storms our Nation has
experienced. Even though it lasted less than a day, the storm resulted in 22 deaths, widespread damage,
and millions of power outages across several Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states. The derecho 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.
The Commission thoroughly investigated and reported on why these service outages occurred.
The staff reviewed more than 500 network outage reports, and interviewed 28 PSAPs and representatives
from eight communications providers. What the staff found was that with regard to a number of service
providers, 9-1-1 service disruptions were due to companies failing to have adequate plans and systems in
place during storms, and other inclement weather events. In other words, these failures could have been
avoided if these providers had followed industry best practices developed by CSRIC – our advisory
committee on network security and reliability.
Because addressing these concerns should be a high priority, I circulated a draft Order to improve
the reliability of these networks with four core requirements that our staff recommended in its report. 9-
1-1 service providers must: audit the physical routes of their networks; ensure physical diversity of
monitoring links; require a specific amount of backup power at central offices; and give PSAPs more
information when and where service outages occur.
I wish to thank Chairman Wheeler for placing this Order on the agenda for today’s Open Meeting
and I am grateful to Lisa Fowlkes, Jeff Goldthorp, Eric Schmidt, and the other talented staff members
who contributed to this excellent Order. I join others in welcoming Admiral David Simpson to the
Commission, congratulate him on his appointment as Chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security
Bureau, and thank David Turetsky for his contributions to the item.