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FCC Adopts Rules To Improve 911 Reliability

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Released: December 12, 2013


Federal Communications Commission

FCC 13-158


Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554



In the Matter of
)


)

Improving 911 Reliability

)
PS Docket No. 13-75

)

Reliability and Continuity of Communications
)

Networks, Including Broadband Technologies
)
PS Docket No. 11-60



REPORT AND ORDER


Adopted: December 12, 2013

Released: December 12, 2013



By the Commission: Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel issuing separate
statements; Commissioners Pai and O’Rielly dissenting and issuing separate statements.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................................. 1
II. BACKGROUND .................................................................................................................................... 7
A. 911 Network Architecture ................................................................................................................ 7
B. FCC Approach to Communications Reliability ............................................................................. 10
C. June 2012 Derecho ......................................................................................................................... 15
D. PSHSB Derecho Report ................................................................................................................. 19
E. 911 Reliability Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ........................................................................... 22
III. DISCUSSION ...................................................................................................................................... 23
A. Need for Commission Action ........................................................................................................ 23
1. Voluntary Measures Alone Have Proven Inadequate.............................................................. 24
2. 911 Reliability is a Nationwide Concern................................................................................. 31
B. Entities Subject to Rules ................................................................................................................ 36
C. Implementation Approach ............................................................................................................. 44
1. Reasonable 911 Reliability Measures Required ...................................................................... 45
2. Annual Reliability Certification .............................................................................................. 48
3. Implementation Approaches Not Adopted .............................................................................. 66
4. Costs and Benefits of Commission Action .............................................................................. 73
D. Certification Requirements ............................................................................................................ 80
1. Circuit Diversity Audits .......................................................................................................... 80
2. Central-Office Backup Power ............................................................................................... 106
3. Network Monitoring .............................................................................................................. 131
E. PSAP Outage Notification ........................................................................................................... 139
F. Legal Authority ............................................................................................................................ 148
G. Confidentiality ............................................................................................................................. 151
H. Review and Sunset of Rules ........................................................................................................ 159
I. Authority Delegated to PSHSB ................................................................................................... 163
IV. PROCEDURAL MATTERS .............................................................................................................. 164
A. Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis ................................................................................... 164
B. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis ............................................................................................. 165
C. Congressional Review Act ........................................................................................................... 167
V. ORDERING CLAUSES ..................................................................................................................... 168
APPENDIX A - List of Commenters


Federal Communications Commission

FCC 13-158



APPENDIX B - Final Rules
APPENDIX C - Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
In this Report and Order, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or
Commission) adopts rules to improve the reliability and resiliency of 911 communications networks
nationwide by requiring that 911 service providers take reasonable measures to provide reliable 911
service, as evidenced by an annual certification. Providers can comply with this requirement by either
implementing certain industry-backed “best practices” we adopt today, or by implementing alternative
measures that are reasonably sufficient to ensure reliable 911 service. We also require 911 service
providers to provide public safety answering points (PSAPs) with timely and actionable notification of
911 outages.
2.
This action follows the devastating impact many of these networks experienced as a
result of the unanticipated “derecho” storm in June 2012.1 This storm swiftly struck the Midwest and
Mid-Atlantic United States, leaving millions of Americans without 911 service and revealing significant,
but avoidable, vulnerabilities in 911 network architecture, maintenance, and operation. After a
comprehensive inquiry into the causes of 911 outages during the derecho, as well as 911 network
reliability more generally, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB or Bureau)
determined that many of these failures could have been mitigated or avoided entirely through
implementation of network-reliability best practices and other sound engineering principles.2
3.
In adopting these rules, we seek to maximize flexibility and account for differences in
network architectures without sacrificing 911 service reliability. Accordingly, service providers may
certify annually that they have implemented certain industry-backed “best practices” that we adopt herein,
or that they have taken alternative measures reasonably sufficient in light of the provider’s particular facts
and circumstances to ensure reliable 911 service so long as they briefly describe such measures and
provide supporting documentation to the Commission. Similarly, service providers may respond by
demonstrating that a particular certification element is not applicable to their networks, but they must
include a brief explanation of why the element does not apply.
4.
The measures we adopt today are based on best practices developed by the
Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC), with refinements designed
to add clarity and specific guidance regarding how those practices should be implemented in the context
of 911 networks. The certification standards we adopt today are based on best practices identified by
CSRIC as critical3 or highly important,4 indicating that they significantly reduce the potential for a

1 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.
2 See FCC PUB. SAFETY & HOMELAND SEC. BUREAU, IMPACT OF THE JUNE 2012 DERECHO ON COMMUNICATIONS
NETWORKS AND SERVICES: REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS at 3-4 (PSHSB, rel. Jan. 10, 2013), available at
http://www.fcc.gov/document/derecho-report-and-recommendations (Derecho Report).
3 Best practices categorized as critical are those that CSRIC assessed as being most vital to communications network
operators, service providers, equipment suppliers, property managers, and public safety authorities, and that
“[s]ignificantly reduce the potential for a catastrophic failure of critical communications network infrastructure
and/or services (e.g., telecommunication, public safety, energy sector, financial, etc.).” See CSRIC II Working
(continued….)

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FCC 13-158



catastrophic failure of communications or – at a minimum – improve the likelihood of emergency call
completion.
5.
Based on the information included in the certifications, we may require remedial action to
correct vulnerabilities in a service provider’s 911 network if we determine that (a) the service provider
has not, in fact, adhered to the best practices incorporated in our rules or, (b) in the case of providers
employing alternative measures, that those measures were not reasonably sufficient to mitigate the
associated risks of failure in one or more of these three key areas. We delegate authority to the Bureau to
review certification information and follow up with service providers as appropriate to address
deficiencies revealed by the certification process.
6.
Finally, we amend our outage reporting rules under Part 4 to clarify Covered 911 Service
Providers’ obligations to provide PSAPs with timely and actionable notification of outages affecting 911
service. As with the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) preceding this item, today’s Report and
Order
continues to “build[] on the Commission’s previous efforts to ensure that the public has access to a
state-of-the-art, reliable, and resilient 911 communications system.”5

II.

BACKGROUND

A.

911 Network Architecture
7.
The primary function of the 911 network is to route emergency calls to the
geographically appropriate PSAP based on the caller’s location.6 When a caller dials 911 on a wireline
telephone, the call goes to the local switch serving that caller, as is typical with any other call. The local
switch then sends the call to an aggregation point called a selective router, which uses the caller’s phone
number and address to determine the appropriate PSAP to which the call should be sent.7 Calls to 911
from wireless phones flow through a switch called a mobile switching center before reaching the selective
router. For wireless calls, the sector of the cell tower serving the call provides the approximate location
of the caller and is used to determine to which PSAP the call is sent. To complete the call, a connection is
set up between the selective router and the appropriate PSAP, typically through a central office serving
that PSAP.
8.
Once a 911 call reaches the appropriate PSAP, the PSAP queries an automatic location
information (ALI) database to determine the location of the caller.8 For wireline calls, ALI is based on
(Continued from previous page)
Group 6, Best Practice Implementation Final Report at 7-8 (Jan. 2011), available at
http://transition.fcc.gov/pshs/docs/csric/WG6-Best-Practice-Implementation-Final-Report.pdf.
4 Highly important best practices include those that, among other things, improve the likelihood of emergency call
completion, with caller information, to the appropriate response agency, ensuring access to emergency
communications for all callers. Id.
5 See In the Matter of Improving 911 Reliability; Reliability and Continuity of Communications Networks,
Including Broadband Technologies, PS Docket No. 13-75, PS Docket No. 11-60, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,
28 FCC Rcd 3414, 3415 ¶ 3 (March 20, 2013) (911 Reliability NPRM).
6 See Derecho Report at 25.
7 See NENA Standard 03-005, Generic Requirements for an Enhanced 9-1-1 Selective Routing Switch at 12, § 2.21
(January 2004), available at http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.nena.org/resource/collection/1F053CE7-3DCD-4DD4-
9939-58F86BA03EF7/NENA_03-005-v1_Generic_Requirements_E9-1-1_SR_Switch.pdf (“Selective Routing is the
ability of the network to select the appropriate destination PSAP for a 9-1-1 call based on the location associated
with the caller’s [automatic number information (ANI)]. It allows the 9-1-1 network to deliver calls to a PSAP
based on service areas of the public safety agency instead of being based on the exchange or rate center coverage of
a particular telecommunications carrier’s switching equipment.”).
8 Even if 911 calls originate in the same jurisdiction where they are answered, an ALI database may serve many
PSAPs in multiple states. See NENA Reply Comments at 2 n.5 (“Many database links, for example, now connect
with widely dispersed data centers in Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Washington, etc., regardless of where a 9-1-1
(continued….)

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the address associated with the caller’s phone number. For wireless calls, providers use various
technologies to determine the caller’s location. Because ALI is passed to the PSAP along a different path
than the one carrying 911 calls, it is possible for a PSAP to lose ALI links without losing 911 service
completely.
9.
The 911 network architecture described above is evolving from a circuit-switched
network to a Next Generation 911 (NG911) network based on Internet protocol (IP) technology. As the
Bureau observed in the Derecho Report, NG911 networks “offer[] certain advantages over legacy
technologies, including greater redundancy and reliability, the ability to provide more useful information
for first responders, wider public accessibility (including to those with disabilities), and enhanced
capabilities for sharing data and resources among emergency responders.”9 As described in more detail
below, we intend today’s rules to apply to current 911 networks, as well as NG911 networks to the extent
they provide functionally equivalent capabilities to PSAPs. Nevertheless, we undertake to review these
rules in five years to make any changes that may be necessary in light of our subsequent experience and
future developments with respect to the NG911 transition.10

B.

FCC Approach to Communications Reliability

10.
The Commission has generally approached communications reliability issues by working
with service providers to develop voluntary best practices and by measuring the effectiveness of those
best practices through outage reporting.11 For example, federal advisory committees such as CSRIC,
which includes representatives from both industry and public safety organizations, have developed
numerous network-reliability best practices that communications providers have been encouraged to
adopt on a voluntary basis. Since 1992, the Commission has turned to CSRIC and its predecessors, the
Network Reliability and Interoperability Council (NRIC) and Media Security and Reliability Council
(MSRC), to make recommendations on communications network and system reliability and security.12
Because of the collaborative and consensus-based nature of this process, CSRIC’s best practices generally
involve aspects of service that providers have indicated they were already adopting consistently.
11.
The Commission’s mandatory Network Outage Reporting System (NORS) 13 and
voluntary Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) 14 provide outage data that help gauge whether
(Continued from previous page)
call originates or terminates.”); Comments of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission at 10 n.8 (Pennsylvania PUC
Comments) (citing 911 network functionalities, including delivery of ALI, across state boundaries).
9 Derecho Report at 43-44. The report further found that “[h]ad these NG911 architectures and capabilities been in
place in the affected areas, they likely could have significantly lessened the derecho’s impact on emergency
communications.” Id. at 44.
10 See FCC, LEGAL AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR NEXT GENERATION 911 SERVICES: REPORT TO CONGRESS
AND RECOMMENDATIONS § 3.1.2 (Feb. 22, 2013), available at
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-319165A1.pdf.
11 See New Part 4 of the Commission’s Rules Concerning Disruptions to Communications, ET Docket No. 04-35,
Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 19 FCC Rcd 16830 (2004) (Part 4 Order); 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, PS Docket No. 11-82, Report and
Order
, 27 FCC Rcd 2650 (2012).
12 CSRIC’s mission is to provide recommendations to the FCC to ensure, among other things, security and reliability
of communications systems, including telecommunications, media, and public safety. It is a multi-stakeholder,
public-private process that includes communications providers, public safety entities, state and local governments,
tribal entities, consumer groups, and federal government agencies. CSRIC was first established in 2007 and has
been re-chartered for additional two-year terms in 2009, 2011, and 2013; each iteration is informally referred to as
CSRIC I, CSRIC II, CSRIC III, etc. Each CSRIC is divided into discrete working groups, which make
recommendations on particular topics for adoption by the full CSRIC.
13 NORS is the Commission’s mandatory web-based filing system through which communications providers
(continued….)

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best practices have been implemented in certain circumstances or service areas, but the Commission has
not required service providers to implement these practices. From time to time, however, the Bureau has
publicly reminded 911 service providers of the importance of following industry-developed best practices
in light of outage trends suggesting to the Bureau that they have not been implemented adequately.15 The
Bureau also works with service providers on an informal basis to identify and resolve communications
reliability issues revealed through the outage reporting process.
12.
In 2006, the Commission established the Independent Panel Reviewing the Impact of
Hurricane Katrina on Communications Networks (Katrina Panel) to make recommendations to the
Commission regarding ways to improve disaster preparedness, network reliability and communications
among first responders.16 In 2007, acting on the findings of the Katrina Panel, the Commission adopted
rules requiring certain communications providers to maintain minimum levels of backup power for
central offices, cell sites, and other network assets.17 Another rule adopted in the Katrina Panel Order,
requiring local exchange carriers, wireless service providers subject to 911 requirements, 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,”18 was implemented by the Bureau in
(Continued from previous page)
covered by the Part 4 outage reporting rules (e.g., wireline, wireless, cable) must submit reports to the FCC. These
reports are presumed confidential to protect sensitive and proprietary information about communications networks.
See 47 C.F.R. § 4.2. The NORS system uses an electronic template to promote ease of reporting and encryption
technology to ensure the security of the information filed. PSHSB’s Cybersecurity and Communications Reliability
Division 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.
14 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. When there is a full activation of DIRS, participants are generally excused from making
submissions in NORS. See Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS), FCC,
http://transition.fcc.gov/pshs/services/cip/dirs/dirs.html. As with NORS, 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).
15 See FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Reminds Telecommunications Service Providers of
Importance of Implementing Established 911 and Enhanced 911 Services Best Practices, Public Notice, DA 12-891,
27 FCC Rcd 6085 (PSHSB rel. June 6, 2012) (2012 Best Practices PN); FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland
Security Bureau Reminds Telecommunications Service Providers of Importance of Implementing Advisory
Committee 911 and Enhanced 911 Services Best Practices, Public Notice, DA 10-494, 25 FCC Rcd 2805 (PSHSB
rel. March 24, 2010) (2010 Best Practices PN).
16 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, 10542 ¶ 4
(2007) (Katrina Panel Order).
17 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 on Reconsideration, 22 FCC
Rcd 18013, 18035, App. B (2007). These backup power rules, however, were the subject of judicial challenge by
several wireless providers and never took effect. They were ultimately vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
District of Columbia Circuit after the Commission notified the court of its intent to adopt revised backup power
rules in further rulemaking proceedings. See CTIA - The Wireless Association v. FCC, No. 07-1475 (D.C. Cir. filed
July 31, 2009).
18 See Katrina Panel Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 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
(continued….)

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2009 when it requested general information from service providers about 911 architecture in the United
States. As we noted in the 911 Reliability NPRM, however, these reports proved of limited use, lacking
the specificity necessary to determine network reliability in individual cases.19
13.
In 2011, the Commission released a Notice of Inquiry (Reliability NOI) in PS Docket No.
11-60, which sought comment on the reliability, resiliency, and continuity of our nation’s
communications networks, including broadband technologies.20 Among other topics, the NOI inquired
about “the ability of communications networks to provide continuity of service during major emergencies,
such as large-scale natural and man-made disasters.”21 The Commission emphasized that “[p]eople
dialing 911, whether using legacy or broadband-based networks, must be able to reach emergency
personnel for assistance.”22
14.
Service providers responding to the Reliability NOI assured the Commission that they
had infrastructure and plans in place to maintain continuity of communications in the event of severe
weather, loss of commercial power, and other emergency conditions. The United States Telecom
Association (U.S. Telecom), for example, commented that its members “have voluntarily spent hundreds
of millions of dollars and countless hours preparing for disaster recovery in order to support continued
quality service to their customers, even during emergencies.”23 Similarly, Verizon asserted that its
“legacy voice, wireless, and broadband networks have significant redundancy and other protective
measures in place to keep the networks up or to quickly restore them during disasters and severe
overloads.”24 Accordingly, service providers urged the Commission to continue promoting voluntary best
practices in lieu of regulatory obligations regarding circuit diversity, backup power, and other aspects of
network reliability.25

C.

June 2012 Derecho

15.
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 twenty-two deaths and
(Continued from previous page)
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).
19 For example, the reports did not provide sufficient information to assess whether 911 service providers were
implementing diversity in their routing of 911 circuits for PSAPs in major metropolitan areas. See 911 Reliability
NPRM,
28 FCC Rcd at 3427 ¶ 27.
20 In the Matter of Reliability and Continuity of Communications Networks, Including Broadband Technologies, et
al
., PS Docket No. 11-60, Notice of Inquiry, 26 FCC Rcd 5614 (2011) (Reliability NOI).
21 Id. at 5615 ¶ 2.
22 Id. at 5616 ¶ 5.
23 NOI Comments of U.S. Telecom Association at 1 (U.S. Telecom Association NOI Comments)
24 NOI Comments of Verizon at 2 (Verizon NOI Comments).
25 See Verizon NOI Comments at 12 (“In light of the already-established government resources devoted to
understanding the availability of networks during disasters, the Commission should continue to promote the
establishment and updating of best practices that providers can adopt to better protect their networks.”); U.S.
Telecom Association NOI Comments at 4 (“While . . . emergency preparedness efforts can be costly, USTelecom’s
member companies have continually demonstrated that they have a vested interest – even without a regulatory
mandate – in making the investment necessary to ensure the continuity and reliability of their networks during
emergencies.”); AT&T NOI Comments at 2-3 (“The Commission could best serve the goals of network survivability
by supporting the development and dissemination of industry-generated best practices.”); CenturyLink NOI
Comments at i (“CenturyLink urges the Commission to continue its support for the important voluntary best
practices work being done by organizations such as ATIS’s NRSC, NRIC and CSRIC.”).

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widespread property damage, and left millions of residents without electrical power for as long as two
weeks.26
16.
While the destruction caused by the derecho resembled that of other major storms in
some respects, it also proved different in others. For example, the landfall of a hurricane is typically
predicted days in advance, allowing first responders and communications providers time to prepare. The
derecho, however, moved rapidly across multiple states with very little warning. The derecho thus put
critical infrastructure to an unexpected test and revealed significant vulnerabilities in service providers’
networks and operations.
17.
The derecho caused particularly widespread disruptions to 911 services.27 From isolated
breakdowns in Ohio, New Jersey, Maryland, and Indiana, to systemic failures in northern Virginia and
West Virginia, a significant number of 911 systems and services were partially or completely down for as
long as several days. 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 911 callers.28 At least seventeen 911 call centers in three states lost service completely,
affecting the ability of more than two million residents to reach 911.29 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.
18.
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 911 calls for as long as twelve hours.30 Fairfax County, Virginia, for example,
notes that the disruption of 911 service it experienced after the derecho “was the longest and most severe
911 outage since Fairfax County implemented Enhanced 911 in 1988,” leaving 1.1 million county
residents without access to 911 for seven hours and preventing nearly 1,900 911 calls from reaching the
Fairfax County PSAP.31 Other affected PSAPs lost ALI links or had to reroute calls to other jurisdictions.

D.

PSHSB Derecho Report

19.
Immediately after communications and 911 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 NORS reports containing
information on the cause, duration, and resolution of each outage, as well as numerous DIRS reports from
the areas hit hardest by the derecho. Bureau staff also interviewed representatives of eight
communications providers, twenty-eight PSAPs, three battery manufacturers, one generator manufacturer,
and numerous state and county entities. In addition, the Bureau participated in several federal, state, and
local meetings and hearings on the effects of the derecho.32 These interactions clarified and expanded the
information the Commission had already received via NORS and DIRS.

26 See Derecho Report at 3.
27 See, e.g., Patricia Sullivan, 911 Failure Affected 2.3 Million in Northern Virginia, WASH. POST, July 11, 2012.
28 Id.
29 Derecho Report at 4.
30 Id. at 28-34.
31 Public Notice Comments of Fairfax County, Virginia at 2, 12; Derecho Report at 4 (citing Fairfax County Public
Notice Comments at 12).
32 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 911 Outages and Other
(continued….)

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20.
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 911 networks generally.33 This Public Notice focused on actions to ensure
dependable 911 service, both now and in an NG911 environment. In response to the Public Notice, the
Bureau received several dozen comments and reply comments from parties representing a diverse range
of interests, including local governments concerned about a pattern of 911 outages34 and communications
providers calling for new voluntary best practices to address problems experienced during the derecho.35
21.
In its January 2013 Derecho Report, the Bureau announced the results of its inquiry and
provided specific recommendations for Commission action to improve the reliability and resiliency of
911 networks nationwide. The Bureau found that many communications outages during the derecho,
including 911 outages, could have been prevented through implementation of best practices developed by
entities such as CSRIC and the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) Network
Reliability Steering Committee (NRSC).36 The Bureau found that, above and beyond any physical
destruction by the derecho, 911 communications were disrupted in large part because of avoidable
planning and system failures, including inadequate physical diversity of critical 911 circuits and a lack of
functional backup power in central offices.37 Links and aggregation points supplying telemetry data to
network operations centers (NOCs) also failed, depriving communications providers of visibility into
critical network functions.38 Among other things, the Bureau recommended that the Commission take
action to ensure that 911 service providers (1) routinely audit critical 911 circuits for physical diversity,
(2) maintain adequate central-office backup power, (3) deploy physically diverse network monitoring
links, and (4) provide PSAPs with timely and actionable notification of communications outages.39

E.

911 Reliability Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
22.
On March 20, 2013, the Commission adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (911
Reliability NPRM or NPRM) outlining options to implement recommendations from the Derecho
Report
.40 These options ranged from reporting and certification obligations, to mandatory reliability
requirements supported by site inspections and compliance reviews. The NPRM noted that the
implementation options need not be mutually exclusive and sought comment “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.”41 The NPRM also proposed to amend the Commission’s rules to require 911
(Continued from previous page)
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.
33 Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Seeks Comment On 911 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).
34 See Fairfax County Comments at 18-20.
35 See, e.g., Comments of Verizon and Verizon Wireless at 14 (Aug. 17, 2012) (Verizon Public Notice Comments).
36 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.
37 Derecho Report at 1.
38 See id. at 18, 21, 40-41.
39 See id. at 39-41.
40 See generally 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3414.
41 Id. at 3425-26 ¶ 24.

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service providers, and other communications providers subject to the existing rule, to notify PSAPs of
communications outages “immediately,” with specific information about the nature of the outage and area
affected.42 In response to the NPRM, we received twenty-nine comments and nine replies representing a
broad range of communications providers, trade associations, PSAPs, and public safety organizations.43

III.

DISCUSSION

A.

Need for Commission Action

23.
One of the Commission’s primary responsibilities is to “make available, so far as
possible, to all people of the United States, . . . a . . . wire and radio communication service . . . for the
purpose of promoting safety of life and property.”44 Consistent with that overarching obligation, the
Commission has specific statutory responsibilities with respect to 911 service.45 The 911 Reliability
NPRM
sought comment “on the appropriate balance between voluntary best practices and Commission
mandates”46 to achieve the Commission’s goals with respect to public safety generally and 911
communications specifically. The outage reporting process has often been effective in improving the
reliability and resiliency of many communications services, and we continue to support NORS, DIRS,
and an emphasis on voluntary best practices and outage reporting in the context of everyday
communications. Nevertheless, preventable 911 network failures during the derecho put lives and
property at risk and revealed that service providers have not consistently implemented vital best practices
voluntarily despite repeated reminders and their past claims to the contrary.47 In light of this experience
and substantial evidence in the record of this proceeding, we conclude that additional Commission action
is both warranted and needed with respect to critical 911 communications.
1.

Voluntary Measures Alone Have Proven Inadequate

24.
The Derecho Report found that “911 and other problems could and would have been
avoided if providers had followed industry best practices and available guidance,” and recommended
consideration of “specific action by the Commission to supplement the current best-practice approach in
key areas.”48 Service providers argue that they have addressed vulnerabilities revealed by the derecho,49
and that the Commission should “continue its active support of and participation in the development and
refinement of industry best practices for 911 reliability.”50 CenturyLink argues that “[t]he solid
performance of most carriers’ networks during and after this historic storm demonstrates the industry’s
strong emphasis and commitment to network reliability absent prescriptive reliability rules.”51 Similarly,

42 Id. at 3442-44 ¶¶ 67-74.
43 See List of Commenting Parties, infra, App. A.
44 47 U.S.C. § 151.
45 See Nuvio Corp. v. FCC, 473 F.3d 302, 311 (D.C. Cir. 2007) (Kavanaugh, J., concurring). See also 911
Reliability NPRM
, 28 FCC Rcd at 3444 ¶ 76 (citing 911 statutes).
46 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3423 ¶ 20.
47 See, e.g., U.S. Telecom NOI Comments at 1-2; Verizon NOI Comments at 2; AT&T NOI Comments at 3-4;
CenturyLink NOI Comments at i.
48 Derecho Report at 1, 39.
49 See Verizon Comments at 3-6; Frontier Comments at 2-4.
50 AT&T Comments at 1. See also ATIS Comments at 6 (“Unlike regulatory mandates, which generally impose
rigid rules based an evaluation of circumstances at a specific point in time, Best Practices provide guidance based on
industry expertise and experience and continually evolve to meet new technical, business, and consumer
expectations.”); US Telecom Comments at 2 (“The Commission thus should direct the existing Industry Forums to
determine whether modified or additional best practices are warranted in light of the lessons learned from the
Derecho.”).
51 CenturyLink Reply Comments at 2.

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the Telecommunications Industry Association supports a “reliability ecosystem” based on “voluntary and
consensus-based standards, best practices, self-evaluation efforts, and public-private partnership
efforts.”52 Although these comments reflect the general philosophy that the Commission has applied to
communications reliability in the past, we have concluded, based on our repeated experiences, the
findings in the Derecho Report, and the record in this proceeding, that a purely voluntary approach to 911
reliability has not been sufficiently effective.
25.
PSHSB twice issued Public Notices reminding 911 service providers to adhere to best
practices based on outage reports indicating those practices have not been implemented consistently,
particularly with regard to circuit diversity. In 2010, the Bureau noted that “[t]hrough an examination of
network outage reports filed through [NORS], the 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.”53 In 2012, less than one month before the derecho, PSHSB again stated that “[b]ased on
submissions in [NORS] and publicly available data, the Bureau has observed a number of major
911/E911 service outages caused by inadequate diversity and/or the failure to maintain diversity.”54 The
Bureau added that “[m]ost of these major outages could have been prevented if existing NRIC best
practices had been followed.”55 Despite the promulgation by industry of these best practices and two
formal, public reminders to comply with them more consistently, the derecho revealed multiple instances
of insufficient circuit diversity resulting in 911 outages.56 Likewise, widespread backup power and
network monitoring failures during the derecho could have been avoided had affected service providers
more consistently adhered to relevant best practices.
26.
Similarly, in 2011 the Bureau urged the ATIS NRSC to develop recommendations to
prevent failure of centralized automatic message accounting (CAMA) 911 trunks during mass call events,
such as the spikes in 911 calling from natural disasters.57 This work was undertaken following multiple
mass call events that caused disruptions in 911 service.58 This process led to publication of a detailed
report on how to prevent CAMA trunks from mistakenly being removed from service during mass call
events.59 During the derecho, two service providers that implemented only some of the ATIS NRSC
recommendations, or none at all, reported CAMA trunk throughput issues that degraded 911 service to
three PSAPs in three states, whereas other service providers that adopted all of the ATIS NRSC
recommendations performed better.60 In light of this evidence, the Bureau concluded that the affected
PSAPs would have received more 911 calls had their service providers implemented those

52 Telecommunications Industry Association Comments at 4.
53 2010 Best Practices PN, 25 FCC Rcd at 2806.
54 2012 Best Practices PN, 27 FCC Rcd at 6085.
55 Id.
56 See, e.g. Derecho Report at 29 (noting that a diversity audit by Verizon could have revealed single points of
failure that disrupted 911 service to the Fairfax County, Virginia, PSAP).
57 CAMA trunks are a legacy technology used to route 911 calls to PSAPs in many jurisdictions. During times when
a PSAP receives a large volume of calls, a timing mismatch between the selective router and the customer premises
equipment at the PSAP can result in trunks being taken out of service even though these trunks have not failed. This
reduces a 911 network’s capacity to route calls to the appropriate PSAP.
58 See, e.g., Todd Shields, Verizon Asked to Probe ‘Alarming’ Dropped 911 Calls, BLOOMBERG, Feb. 18, 2011,
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-18/fcc-asks-verizon-about-alarming-number-of-dropped-911-calls-in-
snowstorm.html.
59 See NRSC 911 CAMA TRUNK THROUGHPUT OPTIMIZATION ANALYSIS (ATIS-0100034) (rel. Aug. 2011),
available at http://www.atis.org/legal/Docs/NRSC/CAMATrunk_Transmittal_Final.pdf.
60 See Derecho Report at 27, 32, 33 (discussing CAMA trunk issues at PSAPs served by CenturyLink and Frontier).

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recommendations more fully.61 These experiences have demonstrated the primary shortcoming of the
voluntary approach: service providers may choose – and have chosen – to disregard these voluntary
recommendations, even when they concern critical 911 services. This is unacceptable.
27.
Comments from PSAPs, government entities, and public safety groups validate our
concerns that the status quo is unacceptable and unlikely to improve adequately through voluntary
measures alone. The National Emergency Number Association (NENA), for example, states that “the
long-established practice of deferring to carriers’ and system service-providers’ assurances with respect to
voluntary implementation of ‘best practices’ has not produced the intended outcome.”62 The Association
of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) agrees that a voluntary approach “has proven
inadequate.”63 Fairfax County, Virginia – one of the jurisdictions hardest-hit by the derecho and one of
the largest and most sophisticated PSAPs in the country – has concluded based on its experience that
“[r]elying solely on voluntary compliance does not work.”64
28.
In light of these concerns and the preventable 911 outages discussed above, we are not
persuaded by service providers’ arguments that “the Commission may not need to take any formal
regulatory action at this time.”65 The avoidable 911 failures during the derecho were not for a lack of
guidance from industry or from the Commission. Relevant best practices regarding circuit diversity,
backup power, and network monitoring were widely available, but multiple service providers failed to
implement them effectively, with serious consequences to public safety. Our conclusion, based on outage
reports and the experiences in the derecho, and that of affected PSAPs, is that the discharge of our
statutory responsibility for promoting the safety of life and property no longer justifies relying solely on
the implementation of key best practices on a voluntary basis.
29.
Furthermore, we disagree with service providers’ arguments that “competitive market
forces already drive communications providers to follow industry best practices and to invest in their
networks to ensure continuity and restoration of communications, especially 911 communications.”66
While competitive pressures may drive investment in reliability of communications services marketed to
businesses and consumers, most PSAPs and 911 authorities have a limited choice of 911 service
providers and cannot realistically switch to a competitor if they are unhappy with their service. Nor is
there typically transparency for PSAP customers with regard to the reliability practices addressed in this
proceeding. NENA, for example, notes that “[u]nder a tariff regime, 911 authorities are often faced with
a take-it-or-leave-it offering, with no room for further negotiation.”67 It adds that “the high capital cost of
establishing independent 911 service and ongoing consolidation in the 911 services market have left 911
authorities with limited market power, and established dangerous opportunities for vendor lock-in
scenarios.”68

61 See id. at 32-33.
62 NENA Comments at 2-3.
63 APCO Comments at 2.
64 Fairfax County Comments at 2.
65 Frontier Comments at 5.
66 AT&T Comments at 3-4.
67 NENA Comments at 8.
68 Id. at 9. While adoption of NG911 is likely to offer PSAPs greater choice in 911 capabilities and service
providers, and may warrant revisiting our rules in the future, that competitive marketplace does not exist now, and
we are unable to predict when or how it might arrive. See id at 7 (observing that “the long-term trend is toward . . .
greater unbundling of 911 service provisioning, and toward more competitive markets”). Given the serious
consequences of 911 service failures, and in light of our experiences, we believe we cannot rely solely on the future
promise of NG911 to address the problem.

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30.
We also reject the suggestion that Commission action to improve 911 reliability would
“disrupt the development of Best Practices through a heavy-handed reclassification of Best Practices as
regulatory mandates.”69 This is a red herring. The approach we adopt today is not “heavy-handed” or
overly prescriptive, but rather flexible and designed to encourage innovation. It allows service providers
to certify compliance either with specific best practices based on standards already established through
industry consensus, or with reasonable alternatives shown to be appropriate in their circumstances. We
support the continued development of new best practices and modification of existing best practices, but
we are not persuaded that additional voluntary measures alone would provide adequate assurance of a
reliable and resilient 911 system.
2.
911 Reliability is a Nationwide Concern
31.
Finally, some commenters suggest that 911 outages during the derecho were isolated
incidents involving a small number of service providers that do not accurately reflect the reliability of 911
networks nationwide.70 AT&T, for example, comments that “[t]he Derecho Report did not identify
systemic flaws in 911 communications networks that warrant industry-wide regulatory remedies or the
adoption of new regulation[s].”71 Another commenter argues that carriers identified in the Derecho
Report
and 911 Reliability NPRM should be subject to Commission action, but that expanding reliability
rules beyond those carriers would be unduly burdensome without a demonstrated need.72
32.
In contrast, public safety commenters contend that the derecho revealed vulnerabilities in
911 infrastructure that exist nationwide. 73 NENA, for example, comments that “[b]ased on anecdotal
evidence from PSAP and 911 authority personnel around the country, NENA believes that the members
of the carrier and SSP community mentioned by name in the Derecho Report are not exceptional cases.”74
NATOA further comments that “[w]e believe that it is important to have reliability standards that are
applicable and actionable nationwide, regardless of the specific region.”75
33.
In light of our inquiry following the derecho and our ongoing experience with outage
reporting, we agree that 911 reliability is a nationwide issue involving more than one region or service
provider. Since we established NORS in 2004, service providers have submitted nearly 6,000 outage
reports involving disruption of E911 service capabilities as of June 2013. These reports have originated
from every state in the nation, and there is no indication that the region affected by the derecho accounts
for more than its share of 911 outages. Indeed, approximately 81 percent of E911 outages reported in
NORS have occurred outside the six states most affected by the derecho.76 Furthermore, the Derecho
Report
identified preventable 911 failures by not one, but four, of the nation’s largest 911 service
providers,77 which together serve a vast majority of Americans.78

69 See ATIS Comments at 6.
70 See Western Telecommunications Alliance Comments at 3-4 (“Whereas the slow and painful recovery from the
derecho took place in full view of the Commission and other federal government officials, it must be emphasized
that it was a unique and localized event that should not serve as the basis for nationwide policy and regulatory
changes.”).
71 AT&T Comments at 3.
72 See Blooston Rural Carriers Comments at 2-5.
73 See NENA comments at 3 (“NENA believes that the states of the networks that failed as a result of the derecho
are broadly representative of the states of carrier and SSP networks nation-wide.”).
74 NENA Comments at 3.
75 NATOA Comments at 3.
76 See Derecho Report at 27 (describing 911 outages in Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, New Jersey, Maryland, and
Indiana).
77 See id. at 12 (citing PSAPs served by Verizon, Frontier, CenturyLink, and AT&T).

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34.
Some commenters suggest that improved 911 performance in subsequent events such as
Superstorm Sandy shows that problems revealed by the derecho have been resolved,79 but the derecho
was unlike a hurricane in many respects. As the Derecho Report observed, “derechos are more like
earthquakes, tornados, and man-made events for which there is little-to-no advance notice and
opportunity to prepare.”80 The landfall of Superstorm Sandy, by contrast, was anticipated for several days
and gave service providers time to test equipment, stage critical assets, and adjust staffing levels.
Verizon, for example, notes in a filing with New York State regulators that it began implementation of its
“emergency preparedness plan” on October 25, 2012, four days before the storm’s October 29 landfall.81
Thus, while it is fortunate that the 911 outages caused by the derecho have not recurred since, our
experience, coupled with the widespread nature of the problems identified in the Derecho Report and the
record in this proceeding, leads us to conclude that there is a substantial risk of similar failures in the
future, and it would not be a prudent exercise of our statutory responsibilities to wait and see.
35.
That said, we recognize that 911 service providers in different parts of the nation have
been affected to varying degrees by recent events and face diverse reliability challenges due to weather,
geography, population density, and other factors.82 The certification approach we adopt today reflects the
fact that, while all Americans have an expectation of reliable 911 service, appropriate actions to improve
and maintain reliability may vary by service provider and location.

B.

Entities Subject to Rules

36.
The 911 Reliability NPRM sought comment on the parties to which the proposals
contained therein would apply.83 The certification rules we adopt today will apply to every “Covered 911
Service Provider,” defined as any entity that provides 911, E911, or NG911 capabilities such as call
routing, ALI, ANI, or the functional equivalent of those capabilities, directly to a PSAP, statewide default
answering point, or appropriate local emergency authority,84 or that operates one or more central offices
(Continued from previous page)
78 Of the seventy-seven PSAPs that experienced some disruption of 911 service during the derecho, seventeen
served by Verizon and Frontier lost 911 service completely, while four PSAPs served by AT&T experienced
intermittent ALI outages and three PSAPs served by CenturyLink had CAMA trunk problems or ALI difficulties.
See id. at 32-35. But see AT&T Comments at 6 n.2 (“Whether intended or not, the Derecho Report gives readers the
false impression that AT&T Ohio lost ALI capability for nearly four days. In reality, AT&T Ohio experienced
limited, intermittent failures on ALI links over a four-day period during and after the storm, which AT&T Ohio
addressed by rerouting traffic to alternative PSAPs. But no PSAP in Ohio—at least that AT&T Ohio serves—lost
ALI capability for a period of four days.”).
79 See Verizon Comments at 1-2 (“These improved practices contributed to a positive network experience during
Hurricane Sandy, during which 911 problems were generally avoided in the New Jersey and New York areas
affected most heavily.”); Frontier Comments at 5 (arguing that “carriers like Frontier have embraced the lessons
learned from the derecho and the changes have shown successful in Superstorm Sandy”).
80 Derecho Report at 1.
81 See Report of Verizon New York Inc. Concerning Its Performance in Response to Hurricane Sandy, attached to
Letter from Richard C. Bozsik, Director – Regulatory – Verizon New York, to Chad G. Hume, Director, Office of
Telecommunications, New York State Department of Public Service, NYPSC Case No. 13-M-0025 (Apr. 19, 2013),
available at http://documents.dps.ny.gov/public/Common/ViewDoc.aspx?DocRefId={59414447-CD1C-47D0-
B351-F4C7947EEB57}.
82 See, e.g., AT&T Reply Comments at 6 (arguing that prescriptive regulation “runs the risk of reducing 911
reliability by depriving providers of the flexibility needed to tailor network reliability practices to their unique
networks and the physical environments in which they are deployed”).
83 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3425 ¶ 23.
84 FCC rules define “[a]ppropriate local emergency authority” as “[a]n emergency answering point that has not been
officially designated as a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), but has the capability of receiving 911 calls and
either dispatching emergency services personnel or, if necessary, relaying the call to another emergency service
(continued….)

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that directly serve a PSAP.85 For purposes of these rules, a central office “directly serves a PSAP” if it (1)
hosts a selective router or ALI/ANI database (2) provides functionally equivalent NG911 capabilities, or
(3) is the last service-provider facility through which a 911 trunk or administrative line passes before
connecting to a PSAP. This definition encompasses entities that provide capabilities to route 911 calls
and associated data such as ALI and ANI to the appropriate PSAP, but not entities that merely provide the
capability for customers to originate 911 calls
.86
37.
The definition of “Covered 911 Service Provider” that we adopt reflects the fact that,
while most current 911 networks rely on the infrastructure of an incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC),
no single type of entity will always provide 911 service in every community. In addition, the transition to
an Internet protocol (IP) architecture for NG911 services will allow an expanded range of entities beyond
ILECs to route and deliver 911 calls, as well as location and callback information, to local PSAPs or
consolidated call centers. Consistent with the goals of the Next Generation 911 Advancement Act of
2012,87 the Commission seeks to promote NG911 adoption and account for changing technologies that
support these functions while ensuring that legacy 911 infrastructure remains reliable as long as it is in
use. We also recognize that overbroad rules could inadvertently impose obligations on entities that
provide peripheral support for NG911 but may not play a central role in ensuring 911 reliability or benefit
as much as a typical circuit-switched ILEC from the best practices discussed below. To minimize the risk
of unintended effects, we describe covered entities in terms of the core 911 capabilities they provide
rather than the technology they employ or how they are currently classified under our rules.
38.
Commenters generally agree with the 911 Reliability NPRM’s focus on entities that route
911 calls and number or location information to PSAPs, rather than the broader class of entities that allow
customers to originate 911 calls.88 The American Cable Association, for example, states that “the
(Continued from previous page)
provider. An appropriate local emergency authority may include, but is not limited to, an existing local law
enforcement authority, such as the police, county sheriff, local emergency medical services provider, or fire
department.” See 47 C.F.R. § 64.3000(b); 47 C.F.R. § 20.3. Where appropriate local emergency authorities act as
the functional equivalent of PSAPs by receiving and dispatching 911 calls, their service providers are Covered 911
Service Providers. We do not intend this definition to extend to entities that provide non-911 communications
services to local emergency authorities.
85 Specific basic 911 and E911 capabilities are defined elsewhere in the Commission’s rules. See 47 C.F.R. §
64.3000 et seq. (obligation to transmit 911 calls and transition to 911 as the universal emergency telephone number).
Because NG911 continues to evolve and may offer additional functionality in the future, we decline to adopt a
comprehensive definition of NG911 capabilities at this time. The rules we adopt today apply to capabilities
provided over NG911 networks to the extent those capabilities are functionally equivalent to current 911 and E911
capabilities.
86 We focus on network connectivity to PSAPs rather than on call origination in this Report and Order because the
derecho and other events have shown that failure of critical infrastructure involved in routing and delivering 911
calls and ALI may cause outages affecting an entire community regardless of the technology or service provider
each resident uses to dial 911. We also note that we are addressing call origination and reliability of other
communications services during emergencies in a separate proceeding regarding transparency of performance for
wireless networks. See In the Matter of Improving the Resiliency of Mobile Wireless Communications Networks;
Reliability and Continuity of Communications Networks, Including Broadband Technologies, PS Docket Nos. 13-
239, 11-60, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 13-125 (Sept. 27, 2013), available at
http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2013/db0927/FCC-13-125A1.pdf..
87 Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-96 (2012), Title VI, Subtitle E §§ 6501 et
seq.
88 See, e.g., ATIS Comments at 8-9 (stating that “the relevant part of the network that is being addressed in this
proceeding is the final leg into the PSAP,” and that this definition “should be exclusively limited to the provider
from whom the PSAP purchases services”); AT&T Comments at 2 (if the Commission were to adopt any regulatory
scheme, it should apply uniformly to all communications providers responsible for routing and delivering 911 calls
to PSAPs).

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Commission should make sure to define the term ‘911 service provider’ to include only entities providing
communications services directly to PSAPs under tariff, contract or other direct arrangement and exclude
providers who only provide 911 service to their customers.”89
39.
Some commenters, however, suggest that the proposed rules should extend further, to
backhaul providers that transport 911 calls,90 data centers that provide NG911 capabilities,91 and even to
PSAPs and consumers.92 We decline to expand our definition as far as these commenters suggest. Under
current network configurations, while many service providers may play some role in the origination and
delivery of individual 911 calls, only a limited number of entities provide 911 connectivity directly to
PSAPs. Thus, we do not intend today’s rules to apply to wireless providers, VoIP providers, backhaul
providers, Internet service providers (ISPs), or commercial data centers based on the functions they
currently provide in 911 networks, assuming they do not provide the functions of a Covered 911 Service
Provider under our definition.
40.
While some commenters, particularly rural local exchange carriers (RLECs), advocate
explicit exemptions from 911 reliability rules for certain parties,93 we intend the certification requirement
adopted here to apply to all “Covered 911 Service Providers,” as defined above, without exception. We
also decline to create a specific waiver procedure for entities to seek exemption from the rules. While we
acknowledge that small or rural service providers may have limited resources or operate in remote areas,
we decline to establish two tiers of 911 reliability based on economics or geography. Moreover, the rules
we adopt allow flexibility for small or rural providers to comply with our rules in the manner most
appropriate for their networks, and certain requirements will, by their nature, only apply to larger
providers. For example, some small service providers monitor their networks directly from a central
office and may not have separate NOCs; in such cases, the provider could certify that, while it does not
have diverse aggregation points supplying telemetry data to diverse NOCs, it has taken reasonable
alternative measures to ensure that the monitoring network in its central office is diverse.
41.
Although one commenter suggests that the rules should extend further to PSAPs,94 that
question is beyond the scope of the NPRM in this proceeding. In any event, the record in this proceeding
and our experience as set forth in the Derecho Report does not reflect avoidable failures on the part of
PSAPs, but rather on the part of their service providers. We therefore disagree that Commission action
should primarily “touch[] on the benefits to PSAPs of working with network providers to purchase
diverse and redundant services where available.”95 Moreover, there are significant questions of

89 American Cable Association Comments at 6.
90 See Mission Critical Partners Comments at 3 (arguing that rules should apply to backhaul providers and
aggregators of 911 call traffic).
91 Compare APCO Comments at 2 (arguing that data centers and other facilities that host NG911911 capabilities
“should also be subject to best practices and the Commission’s rules, at least to the extent permitted by relevant
law”) with Mission Critical Partners Comments at 5 (“The Commission should defer the responsibility for ESInet
datacenter standards development to industry associations such as [NENA].”).
92 See Alaska Communications Systems Comments at 4 (“The Commission should broaden its view to include
PSAPs, consumers, and other parties that contribute to the effectiveness and reliability of 911 services.”).
93 See, e.g., Western Telecommunication Alliance Comments at ii (“The Commission’s proposed new 911 service
requirements and reporting rules are devised primarily to address potential problems of large carriers in metropolitan
areas, and are largely irrelevant and even harmful to disaster recovery efforts by RLECs in their rural service
areas.”); Alaska Communications Systems Comments at 3 (“[I]t is not always possible to follow every industry best
practice in remote areas such as the Alaska bush.”).
94 See Alaska Communications Systems Comments at 4 (“The Commission should broaden its view to include
PSAPs, consumers, and other parties that contribute to the effectiveness and reliability of 911 services.”).
95 Id. at 4-5.

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federalism involved in regulation of local government entities, and a strong consensus among commenters
that the Commission should not interfere with the internal operations of PSAPs.96 While we agree that
each of these groups plays a role in 911 reliability and encourage PSAPs to contract for the highest level
of service available, we conclude that a regulatory focus on entities that provide 911 capabilities to
PSAPs is most consistent with the Commission’s objectives in this proceeding, based on the findings of
the Derecho Report, our prior experience, and the comments in the record as set forth above. Moreover,
in light of the limited focus of this proceeding, we do not believe it is necessary to determine whether to
classify all entities or networks directly or indirectly involved with 911 calls to a PSAP as
“telecommunications,” as the Pennsylvania PUC suggests.97 Because the term “telecommunications” has
a specific meaning under the Communications Act,98 we seek to avoid unintended consequences of
classifying a broad range of entities that provide 911 capabilities as “telecommunications.”
42.
As multiple commenters observe, the Commission’s approach to 911 reliability must
support and encourage the development of new technologies while ensuring that legacy infrastructure
remains reliable as long as it is in use.99 We must not inadvertently discourage innovation by assuming
that future 911 capabilities will require the same level of oversight as those in place today. 100 Therefore,
while we strongly support the transition to NG911,101 we are not persuaded that NG911 technologies have
evolved to the point that reliability certification rules should apply to entities beyond those that offer core
services functionally equivalent to current 911 and E911 capabilities.102 We may, however, revisit this
distinction in the future as technology evolves, as discussed below with regard to review and sunset of the
rules.
43.
Similarly, we decline at this time to cover all operators of emergency services Internet
protocol networks (ESInets), as proposed in the NPRM.103 Some ESInets may provide capabilities other
than those at issue here, and other ESInets may be operated directly by PSAPs and 911 authorities. Under
the rules we adopt today, ESInet operators will be required to certify reliability only to the extent they
qualify as Covered 911 Service Providers under our rules.

96 One commenter notes that the Commission has supported CSRIC’s development of best practices applicable to
PSAPs and consumers, underscoring the “interdependence of network providers, PSAPs, and consumers in ensuring
effective and reliable 911 services.” See Alaska Communications Systems Comments at 5-6 (citing CSRIC III
Working Group 8, E911 Best Practices Final Report, Part 1 at 7, Part 2 at 20).
97 See Pennsylvania PUC Comments at 3-4.
98 See 47 U.S.C. § 153(50).
99 See, e.g., Fairfax County Comments at 11 (“Ultimately the deployment of Next Generation 911 is the best
approach to improving 911 redundancy and reliability, but interim improvements are needed in the meantime.”);
NATOA Comments at 3 (“While we welcome the opportunities that new technologies bring to public safety
communications capabilities, we emphasize that as new technologies evolve, the reliability of the legacy network
remains a critical asset in stable emergency communications.”).
100 See NENA Comments at 14 (noting generally that “NG911 systems will require somewhat different reliability
rules”).
101 See RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NEXT GENERATION 911 LEGAL FRAMEWORK: FCC REPORT TO CONGRESS (2013)
(submitted pursuant to § 6509 of the Next Generation 911 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)
102 SMS-based text-to-911 capabilities, for example, are not functionally equivalent to the core 911 capabilities
described above (i.e., call routing and number/location information) and therefore fall outside the scope of this
Report and Order.
103 See 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3425 ¶ 23.

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C.

Implementation Approach

44.
The 911 Reliability NPRM proposed four alternative options for implementation of
recommendations in the Derecho Report: (1) reporting, (2) certification, (3) reliability requirements, and
(4) site inspections or compliance reviews.104 It noted that the implementation options need not be
mutually exclusive, and sought comment “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.”105 The
NPRM also posed a variety of questions regarding records retention and documentation of compliance
with best practices or reliability requirements. As discussed below, we adopt rules to require that
Covered 911 Service Providers (1) take reasonable measures to ensure reliable 911 service and (2) certify
annually that they do so by adhering either to specified, essential practices based on established industry
consensus or to appropriate alternative measures demonstrated to be reasonably sufficient to mitigate the
risk of failure.
1.

Reasonable 911 Reliability Measures Required

45.
To promote reliable 911 service, we adopt a rule that requires all Covered 911 Service
Providers to take reasonable measures to ensure 911 circuit diversity, availability of backup power at
central offices that directly serve PSAPs, and diversity of network monitoring links (the “reasonable
measures” requirement). As commenters point out, reasonable measures may vary to some degree by
location, service provider, and technology. 106 The record demonstrates, however, a number of concrete
and objective indications of whether a service provider’s practices with respect to 911 reliability are
reasonable.
46.
In particular, best practices are developed in a “consensus-based environment”107
reflecting the collective judgment of industry, government, and other stakeholders. It follows that
compliance with best practices is a strong indication that a service provider is taking reasonable measures
to ensure reliable 911 service. While there may be situations in which it would be reasonable for a
service provider to depart from best practices,108 there should be a reasonable basis for such decisions,
coupled with appropriate steps to compensate for any increased risk of failure. Thus, where service
providers employ alternative measures in lieu of best practices, they should be able to explain why those
measures are appropriate and reflect reasonable measures to provide reliable 911 service.
47.
The certification process we adopt today is founded in industry best practices and will
provide the Commission with important information on the reliability of 911 services nationwide. It will
also provide Covered 911 Service Providers with flexibility and a means of demonstrating that they are
taking reasonable measures to ensure the reliability of their 911 service. Below, we provide additional
guidance on what constitutes reasonable measures for the purposes of these rules.
2.

Annual Reliability Certification

48.
Under the rules we adopt today, Covered 911 Service Providers will be able to
demonstrate that they are taking reasonable measures to provide reliable 911 service through the annual
certification process discussed below. A Covered 911 Service Provider that performs all the specific
certification elements outlined in our rules regarding 911 circuit auditing, backup power at central offices
that directly serve PSAPs, and diverse network monitoring links, may certify that it has so performed
these elements without providing additional documentation to support its certification that it has met the

104 Id. at 3425-29 ¶¶ 24-31.
105 Id. at 3425 ¶ 24.
106 See, e.g., Alaska Communications Systems Comments at 6 (arguing that “[a]ny additional Commission
compliance rules should allow for flexibility to adapt to local and regional conditions”).
107 ATIS Comments at 6.
108 See id. at 5-6.

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reasonable measures requirement.109 The Covered 911 Service Provider’s certification that it has
performed all these elements will be deemed to satisfy the obligation to take reasonable measures to
provide reliable 911 service, provided that the certification is accurate and complete.110 In the alternative,
if a Covered 911 Service Provider cannot certify affirmatively to every element in a substantive area, but
believes that its actions are nevertheless reasonably sufficient to mitigate the risk of 911 service failure
based on the configuration of its network and other factors, then it may certify that it has taken alternative
measures in that substantive area.111 For each element where the Covered 911 Service Provider certifies
to taking alternative measures, it must include with its certification a brief explanation of those alternative
measures with respect to each PSAP, central office, or 911 service area where they are in use, and why
those measures are reasonable under the circumstances to mitigate the risk of failure.112 Finally, a
Covered 911 Service Provider may respond that certain elements of the certification do not apply to all or
part of its network, but it must include with its certification a reasonable explanation of why those
elements are not applicable.
49.
We require Covered 911 Service Providers to maintain for two years the records
supporting each annual certification and to make relevant records available to the Commission upon
request.113 For providers with existing electronic recordkeeping capabilities, these records must be
maintained in an electronic format for ease of access and review. While certifications require only a brief
description of alternative measures, we reserve the right to request additional information, at the time of
certification or thereafter, to verify the accuracy of a certification or determine whether alternative
measures are reasonable. This approach lessens the reporting burden on service providers while ensuring
that supporting documentation is available when necessary. Examples of such records include diagrams
of network routing, records of circuit audits, backup power deployment and maintenance records, and
documentation of network monitoring routes and capabilities.
50.
The 911 Reliability NPRM observed that the certification approach “could help ensure
that senior management is aware of significant vulnerabilities in the 911 network and accountable for its
decisions regarding design, maintenance, and disaster preparedness.”114 It also inquired whether existing
Commission certification schemes, or those under other statutes, provide a model for addressing 911
reliability.115 For example, under the Commission’s Consumer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI)

109 We note, however, that all Covered 911 Service Providers must maintain for two years records to substantiate
their certifications. See ¶ 49, infra.
110 The Commission reserves the right to review affirmative certifications and to request additional information to
verify whether a Covered 911 Service Provider has, in fact, performed all certification elements. If a Covered 911
Service Provider cannot substantiate its certification responses, it will not be deemed to be taking reasonable
measures to provide reliable 911 service and may be subject to enforcement action. See ¶ 49, infra.
111 As noted below, all Covered 911 Service Providers must audit and tag critical 911 circuits and audit network
monitoring links and aggregation points, but they may choose to take reasonable alternative measures in lieu of
eliminating single points of failure based on the results of those required audits.
112 If a provider discovers, during the course of completing the work necessary for this certification, that it has an
issue which it cannot remediate prior to certification, it may certify that it has identified the issue and is in the
process of taking appropriate steps to address the issue. Its certification should include a description of the steps it is
taking, the date by which it anticipates such remediation will be completed, and why it believes such steps are
sufficient to mitigate the risk of failure. As with certifications based on alternative measures, explanations of
ongoing remediation will be subject to further review by the Bureau. See ¶¶ 62-63, infra.
113 When the Commission is inquiring into a certification submitted pursuant to Part 12 of the Commission’s rules,
Covered 911 Service Providers should continue to retain all records relevant to the inquiry, even if the records
pertain to events that occurred more than two years before.
114 911 Reliability NPRM 28 FCC Rcd at 3427 ¶ 28.
115 Id. at 3427-28 ¶ 29.

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certification model, an officer of the telecommunications provider acting as its agent must sign and file a
certification including a statement that the officer has “personal knowledge” that the company has
established operating procedures that adequately ensure compliance with the CPNI rules.116 Similarly,
under the Commission’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) certification model, multichannel video
programming distributors (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.117 If the official answers in the negative, then that official
must attach an explanation.
51.
The record here reflects broad support for a certification approach, although commenters
disagree about what certification might entail. Verizon, for example, states that “[t]he most effective
approach would be for the Commission to collaborate with industry and other stakeholders to create an
annual certification program,” but adds that “[i]f the provider is not complying with a particular practice,
the provider could explain in the report why not and, if applicable, describe the actions it is taking that
would mitigate the relevant risk the practice is intended to address.”118 Frontier states that while “the
current record demonstrates that additional Commission mandates are unwarranted, if the Commission
were to take further steps in this area, the consensus amongst a majority of commenters is that a
certification process is the most appropriate method.”119 While Frontier favors the current system of
voluntary best practices above any form of regulation, it notes that “the certification system is preferable
over the other proposed implementation options because it is the most efficient use of resources.”120
Similarly, AT&T states that “[t]o the extent the Commission proceeds with regulation in the area of 911
circuit auditing, it should require 911 Service Providers to certify annually that they are conducting
computerized diversity audits consistent with industry best practices,” and adds that “[s]uch a requirement
would be an appropriate, incremental step to reassure the Commission that providers adhere to best
practices to bolster network reliability and resiliency.”121
52.
Other commenters support certification requirements in part, but argue that they should
be accompanied by other measures. The California Public Utilities Commission (California PUC), for
example, “recommends that the FCC adopt a certification scheme, in combination with minimum backup
power requirements” and an additional reporting requirement that would “provide States with timely
access to the state-specific data pertaining to 911 networks.”122 Fairfax County recommends that network
operators be required to certify the result of circuit audits to the Commission, but adds that “at a more
fundamental level, network operators and service providers should be required to maintain a minimum
specified level of physical diversity for their 911 circuits.”123
53.
Alaska Communications Systems, by contrast, states that “[the] industry best practices . .
. must be evaluated and implemented by individual service providers within the context of the specific
needs and resources available to serve specific PSAPs,” and adds that, “for this reason, the Commission’s
proposal to require periodic compliance certifications from service providers is flawed.”124 We disagree

116 See 47 C.F.R. § 64.2009.
117 See 47 U.S.C. § 554; 47 C.F.R. § 76.75(b); Commission Form 396, available at
http://transition.fcc.gov/Forms/Form396/396.pdf.
118 Verizon Comments at 7, 14.
119 Frontier Reply Comments at 3.
120 Frontier Comments at 6.
121 AT&T Comments at 13-14.
122 California PUC Comments at 4-5.
123 Fairfax County Comments at 5.
124 Alaska Communications Systems Comments at 7.

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that requiring certification to ensure the reliability of 911 service will stifle the development of best
practices, generally, and with respect to issues affecting 911 service, specifically. The elements of the
certification process we adopt today are designed to implement best practices already established through
industry consensus that have proven most relevant to reliable 911 service. We conclude that the
additional detail in our rules is warranted to ensure a reliable and robust 911 network based on our
experience – specifically, the analysis of NORS and DIRS data over the past eight years.
54.
While we agree with the broad range of commenters who favor a certification approach,
we conclude that a very high-level certification will not provide the Commission with either the
information it needs to identify important weaknesses in 911 networks or a reasonable basis on which to
hold service providers accountable for decisions affecting 911 reliability. We recognize also that a far-
reaching certification requirement could impose a heavy burden on providers that have been complying
with critical best practices. Therefore, we require all Covered 911 Service Providers to certify annually to
certain basic measures in the three substantive areas, and delegate to the Bureau the responsibility to
review the certifications and take additional action as appropriate. We also delegate to the Bureau the
authority and responsibility to develop the certification form and filing system.
55.
As with certifications and applications filed with the Commission, the reliability
certifications will be subject to penalties for false or misleading statements both under the United States
Code125 and the Commission’s rules.126 The certification shall also be accompanied by a statement
explaining the basis for such certification127 and shall be subscribed to as true under penalty of perjury in
substantially the form set forth in Section 1.16 of the Rules.128
56.
Certification Standards. Some commenters call for the creation of a process to define
and/or maintain the certification standards and procedures.129 CenturyLink suggests that a “working
group of interested public and private stakeholders should be charged to review best practices and other
proposals to determine whether a core subset of them should be adopted.”130 Likewise, Verizon suggests
that the Commission convene a group of experts to identify a core set of standards that could be used as
the basis for certifications.131 Other commenters would similarly turn to multi-stakeholder bodies like
CSRIC in search of a solution.132 The process that these commenters describe, however, is virtually
indistinguishable from our existing CSRIC process. In fact, CSRIC III was asked to “review the existing
CSRIC/NRIC 911 best practices and recommend ways to improve them, accounting for the passage of
time, technology changes, operational factors, and other identified gaps.”133 These revised best practices
are available to stakeholders for application on a voluntary basis.134 Thus, we see no reason to defer our

125 See 18 U.S.C. § 1001 (false statements to the federal government).
126 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.17 (truthful and accurate statements to the Commission).
127 Specifically, the rules require each Certifying Official to attest that the Covered 911 Service Provider has
adequate internal controls to bring material information to his or her attention, and that the Certifying Official
reasonably believes that he or she is aware of all material information necessary to complete the certification. See
App. B, infra.
128 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.16 (unsworn declarations under penalty of perjury).
129 See Pennsylvania PUC Comments at 13; Fairfax County Comments at 5.
130 See id. at 5.
131 See Verizon Comments at 8.
132 See NTCA Comments at 3 (“The Commission should install a certification scheme using applicable industry-
defined best practices as established through CSRIC.”).
133 See CSRIC III, Working Group 8, E911 Best Practices Final Report – Part 2 at 3 (March 2013), available at
http://transition.fcc.gov/bureaus/pshs/advisory/csric3/CSRICIII_6-6-12_WG8-Final-Report_Pt2.pdf.
134 See id. at 10, App. 3-4.

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refinement and implementation of these best practices in a Commission rule, in light of our experiences
with voluntary standards set forth above.
57.
Others note that CSRIC best practices may be vague or insufficient to suit the purpose at
hand.135 While we agree that best practices may not always provide exhaustive guidance in every
situation, we note that many service providers have realized significant improvements in network
reliability through their thorough and consistent implementation.136 We also observe that the certification
elements we adopt are consistent with relevant CSRIC best practices, with additional refinements based
on sound engineering practices in the 911 context. This approach provides more specific guidance to the
industry while assuring the public safety community that our rules fill any gaps in existing best practices
with measurable standards for certification.
58.
Finally, some commenters point out that the deployment of NG911 might have an impact
on the certification standards.137 We understand that, as NG911 deployment advances, our certification
standards may have to change, and we may need to turn to multi-stakeholder bodies like CSRIC in the
future for recommendations in these areas. Accordingly, we adopt certification standards that are
consistent with current best practices but also flexible enough to account for differences in 911 and
NG911 networks.
59.
Certifying Official. To ensure accuracy and accountability, each certification must be
made by a corporate officer responsible for network operations in all relevant service areas. Thus, the
certifying official must have supervisory and budgetary authority over a Covered 911 Service Provider’s
entire 911 network, not merely certain regions or service areas.
60.
Some commenters argue that service providers should have flexibility to execute the
certification at a lower level in the company. AT&T, for example, suggests that company directors
should be permitted to execute the certification as they “are better-positioned than officers to personally
attest to the adequacy of a company’s local auditing procedures.”138 As AT&T recognizes, however, our
CPNI rules require compliance certification by an officer with personal knowledge.139 Here, too, we do
not believe that certification by personnel without supervisory and/or budgetary authority over network
operations would hold management accountable for decisions affecting 911 reliability or create the same
incentive for service providers to make 911 infrastructure a priority at the corporate level, particularly
since these investments typically depend on budgeting decisions over which only officers would have
decisive authority. To that end, the certification must also reflect the existence of internal controls
sufficient to ensure that the certifying official has received all material information necessary to complete
the certification accurately.
61.
Effect of Certification. Under the certification process we adopt, a Covered 911 Service
Provider that performs all the certification elements in a substantive area is deemed in compliance with
our rules requiring reasonable measures in that area. This result is subject only to any determination we

135 See Fairfax County Comments at 5 (commenting that the CSRIC best practice upon which we base our 911
circuit auditing requirement “provides a starting point, but additional details need to be added to this and other
CSRIC best practices to provide more measureable standards for what comprises acceptable network diversity as
well as an acceptable diversity audit.”).

136 See, e.g., ATIS NETWORK RELIABILITY STEERING COMMITTEE, 2010-2012 OPERATIONAL REPORT at 6-15 (July
2013), available at https://www.atis.org/docstore/product.aspx?id=28010 (outlining recent efforts to study and make
recommendations on various network reliability issues and noting that “[t]he continued efforts of NRSC member
companies have directly and positively impacted the resiliency and reliability of the Nation’s networks, which
ultimately benefits all users”).
137 See CenturyLink Reply Comments at 6.
138 See AT&T Comments at 14 n.12.
139 Id.; see 47 C.F.R. § 64.2009(e).

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may make afterward, based on complaints, outage reports or other information, that the Covered 911
Service Provider did not, in fact, perform those elements as claimed in its certification. 140 Thus, Covered
911 Service Providers that perform all the specified elements will be deemed in compliance with our rules
as adopted in this Report and Order. We do not contemplate further Commission action under these rules
in response to affirmative certifications absent some indication that such certifications were not accurate
and complete.141
62.
If, however, a Covered 911 Service Provider certifies that it has taken alternative
measures to mitigate the risk of failure, or that a certification element is not applicable to its network, its
certification is subject to a more detailed Bureau review. In such cases, the Covered 911 Service Provider
must provide an explanation of its alternative measures and why they are reasonable under the
circumstances, or why the certification element is not applicable. The Bureau will consider a number of
factors in determining whether the particular alternative measures are reasonably sufficient to ensure
reliable 911 service. Such factors may include the technical characteristics of those measures, the
location and geography of the service area, the level of service ordered by the PSAP, and state and local
laws (such as zoning and noise ordinances). The Bureau may rely on information from a variety of
sources, including: (1) the certifications and descriptions of alternative measures, (2) supplemental
responses to Commission inquiries, (3) supporting records retained pursuant to the record retention
requirement, (4) NORS and DIRS data, (5) formal and informal complaints, and/or (6) news reports or
other information available to the Commission. We provide further guidance regarding reasonably
sufficient alternative measures in each substantive certification area below in section III.D.
63.
If the Bureau’s review indicates that a provider’s alternative measures are not reasonably
sufficient to ensure reliable 911 service, the Bureau should engage with the provider and other interested
stakeholders (e.g., affected PSAPs) to address any shortcomings. To the extent that a collaborative
process with a provider does not yield satisfactory results, the Bureau may order remedial action,
consistent with the authority delegated in this Report and Order. For example, if a Covered 911 Service
Provider does not certify that it has performed a given certification element and has not adopted
reasonably sufficient alternative measures to compensate for the increased risk of failure, the Bureau
should work with the provider to eliminate avoidable single points of failure, to install additional backup
power capabilities at a central office that directly serves a PSAP, or to upgrade its network monitoring
facilities; in situations where collaborating with the provider does not yield satisfactory results, the
Bureau may order the provider to take remedial action. Any service provider ordered to take remedial
action may seek reconsideration or review of the Bureau’s decision in accordance with the Commission’s
rules.142 In extreme cases, such as where a provider is not acting in good faith, the Bureau may also refer
cases where alternative measures are deemed unreasonable to the Enforcement Bureau for further action
as appropriate. This approach will place the least burden on those Covered 911 Service Providers that
provide consistently reliable 911 service, while allowing the Commission to focus its attention and
resources where most needed.143
64.
Certification Phase-In. The rules we adopt today, including the underlying obligation to
take reasonable measures to provide reliable 911 service, become effective thirty days after publication in
the Federal Register. Although information collection requirements pursuant to those rules will not
become effective until approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pursuant to the

140 We note that possible violations of our rules may be referred to the Enforcement Bureau for further action as
appropriate.
141 Of course, all Covered 911 Service Providers remain subject to the Commission’s more general authority under
Titles II and III of the Communications Act and the remedies under that Act.
142 See generally 47 C.F.R. §§ 1.101-1.117.
143 See Blooston Rural Carriers Comments at 2-5; Western Telecommunications Alliance Comments at 3-4; AT&T
Comments at 3.

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Paperwork Reduction Act,144 the substantive obligation to take such reasonable measures is not contingent
on such approval. Because certain certification elements (e.g., circuit diversity audits) require time for
implementation, the first full certification will be due two years from the effective date of the substantive
rule requiring service providers to undertake such reasonable measures.145
65.
Although service providers indicate that they already perform many of the elements of
our annual certification, the rules we adopt will require a phase-in period so that all covered entities,
particularly smaller entities with limited staff and resources, have time to come into full compliance.
Therefore, we require that, one year after the effective date of the rules, all Covered 911 Service Providers
file an initial certification that they have made substantial progress toward meeting the standard of the full
certification. To allow service providers time to implement the best practices reflected in the
certification, we define “substantial progress” as at least 50-percent compliance with each of the three
substantive certification requirements.146 We delegate to the Bureau authority to implement this initial
certification, including the form and process through which it is submitted, consistent with the principles
of substantial progress described above. After the first full certification two years from the effective date
of the rules, all Covered 911 Service Providers will file a 911 reliability certification on an annual basis.
3.

Implementation Approaches Not Adopted

66.
Reporting. Under one approach proposed in the 911 Reliability NPRM, 911 service
providers would be required to periodically file reports on their compliance with best practices, which
might provide both the Commission and industry with greater knowledge of the state of 911
infrastructure. However, such an approach would not require service providers to address noncompliance
with such best practices that may lead to vulnerabilities in their networks. Public-safety commenters
generally view reporting as an incomplete solution, while service providers oppose it as unnecessarily
burdensome.147 APCO, for example, supports periodic reporting by service providers as a “partial
solution” but adds that “[e]qually important, the Commission will need to review carefully those reports
in a timely manner and seek further information and clarification when the reports are incomplete or
reflect deficiencies.”148
67.
We are not convinced that a reporting approach would produce adequate assurance of
actual compliance with best practices and associated improvements in 911 reliability to outweigh any
costs of complying with reporting requirements. As noted in the NPRM, and confirmed by Verizon, our
experience with the one-time reports required by section 12.3 of our rules did not appear to result in a
“material benefit that outweighed its costs.”149 To the extent that reporting could provide additional data
on 911 reliability, we note that the specific information directly related to best practices critical to 911
service reliability will more likely be revealed through the certification process we adopt today.
Moreover, the approach we adopt lessens the reporting burden on service providers whose certifications
indicate that they already are taking reasonable measures to ensure reliable 911 service, while providing
the Commission with a more effective enforcement mechanism where certification or subsequent
performance reveals a need for corrective action.

144 44 U.S.C. §§ 3501 et seq.
145 As noted above, the information collection and recordkeeping procedures we adopt today in connection with both
the Initial and Annual Reliability Certifications will become effective upon OMB approval.
146 For example, regarding circuit diversity, Covered 911 Service Providers must certify they have conducted at least
50 percent of the circuit audits described more fully in Section D.1 below.
147 See id. at 7 (arguing that “resources are best directed at improving reliability and resiliency in the network – not
completing paperwork”).
148 APCO Comments at 2.
149 Verizon Comments at 12-13; 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3426-27 ¶ 27.

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68.
Reliability Requirements. Under this approach, the Commission would adopt rules
setting mandatory standards for the design and operation of 911 networks in key areas identified in the
NPRM. This approach has the advantage of ensuring that service providers adhere to mandatory network
reliability standards, but it may be unduly prescriptive and may not sufficiently account for changing
technologies and legitimate differences in network design.150 Commenters also express concern that the
Commission could risk inadvertently discouraging innovation by adopting rules based on legacy
technologies rather than promoting deployment of more reliable NG911 services.151 Although we
conclude that Commission action is warranted on a nationwide basis, we recognize that a “one-size-fits-
all” approach may be infeasible and that, for a variety of reasons, service providers may opt to achieve a
reasonable level of 911 reliability through other means than those specifically stated in existing best
practices. The certification approach we adopt is more flexible than uniform standards and will allow
service providers to implement best practices in the manner most appropriate for their networks and
service areas. Without imposing inflexible reliability requirements, our certification approach also offers
reasonable assurance to PSAPs and the public that known vulnerabilities in 911 networks will be
identified and corrected promptly.
69.
Site Inspections and Compliance Reviews. Although some commenters argue that
inspections and reviews would ensure a high level of compliance with best practices,152 others contend
that they could place significant administrative burdens both on the Commission and on service providers
and would yield little benefit for the cost incurred.153 Verizon, for example, comments that
“recordkeeping for its own sake will not help 911 resiliency,” and that “[t]he Commission should avoid
any prescriptive rules that would require 911 service providers to make specific improvements or adopt
certain practices and open their facilities for Commission-led periodic site inspections.” 154 The
Pennsylvania PUC, by contrast, notes its support for “testing, maintenance, and record keeping
requirements” with respect to central-office backup power.155
70.
Given the less burdensome options available and the Commission resources that would
be required to perform site inspections, we are not persuaded that the benefits of this approach would
outweigh the costs. We believe that the more appropriate course would be to rely on inspections and
compliance reviews only in those individual cases where the certification or subsequent performance
raises significant questions about the provider’s compliance with our rule designed to ensure 911 service
reliability. Accordingly, we would anticipate seeking additional information only when necessary to
determine whether a certification is complete and accurate or, in the case of certifications based on
alternative measures, when necessary to assess whether such alternative measures are reasonably
sufficient to minimize the risk of failure. Moreover, by requiring retention and production of such records
upon request, our certification approach ensures accountability in cases where a certification or outage
report raises concerns about a service provider’s 911 network, while avoiding the burdens of site
inspections and compliance reviews when they are not shown to be necessary.
71.
Risk-Based Approach. NENA recommends that we adopt a “risk-based approach” of
setting multiple levels of certification standards according to the relative criticality of particular network

150 See CenturyLink Reply Comments at 2; Verizon Comments at 16; Telecommunications Industry Association
Comments at 8; NTCA Comments at 2; AT&T Comments at 2.
151 See CenturyLink Reply Comments at 6; Telecommunications Industry Association Comments at 5-6.
152 See APCO Comments at 3 (supporting “the use of periodic compliance reviews and inspections of service
provider facilities to verify adherence to certain standards”).
153 See AT&T Comments at 15.
154 Verizon Comments at 12, 16.
155 Pennsylvania PUC Comments at 14.

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elements.156 Under this approach, “the Commission could require carriers and [system service providers]
to conduct and periodically update formal, all-hazards risk assessments for 911 special facilities and other
network elements or systems related to provisioning 911 service.”157 NENA further suggests that the
Commission could establish “normal” and “minimum” performance standards that would apply in
individual circumstances based on the results of these risk assessments.158 Although we agree that some
form of risk assessment should play a role in service providers’ allocation of resources, we have concerns
that a risk-based approach to certification could be difficult to implement and enforce, especially if it
requires us to supplement CSRIC best practices in order to establish multiple tiers of reliability standards.
While this approach would help to ensure that compliance costs would be matched to some objective
measure of risk, the periodic risk assessments that NENA describes could be complex and burdensome on
a national scale and would likely retain some subjectivity due to varying priorities and tolerances for risk
among service providers. We believe that it is preferable to rely upon the best practices already
established through consensus as the appropriate benchmark for our rules, at least in the first instance and
until we gain more experience.
72.
Furthermore, NENA suggests that risk assessments could help differentiate between
investments needed in “sparsely-populated or low-risk communities” as opposed to “densely-populated or
high-risk communities.”159 We decline to adopt rules that, even if unintentionally, could discourage
needed investments in 911 infrastructure serving rural and remote areas. The certification approach we
adopt holds all Covered 911 Service Providers to a single standard with flexibility to allocate resources
based on risk, service area, and any other relevant factors, as long as they employ measures reasonably
sufficient to mitigate the risk of failure.
4.

Costs and Benefits of Commission Action

73.
Reliable 911 service provides public safety benefits that, while sometimes difficult to
quantify, are enormously valuable to individual callers and to the nation as a whole. As one commenter
observes, “911 is the lifeline for safety and security for citizens and is seen by both citizens and all levels
of government as a part of the critical infrastructure that supports public safety.”160 As noted above, these
benefits are reflected in our statutory mandate to promote the safety of life and property.161 The 911
Reliability NPRM
further noted that “the ability to call 911 during a disaster, medical emergency or other
time of need may literally make the difference between life and death.”162 Accordingly, the NPRM sought
to quantify the potential benefits of improvements in 911 reliability through the “valuation of a statistical
life” (VSL) employed by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). At the time we issued our

156 See NENA Comments at 4.
157 Id.
158 See id. at 5.
159 Id.
160 VIRGINIA SECURE COMMONWEALTH PANEL, E911 SUB-PANEL, THE STATE OF E911 IN VIRGINIA at 3 (May 6,
2013), available at http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7022312861.
161 See 47 U.S.C. § 151.
162 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3424 ¶ 22.

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NPRM, DOT estimated this value at $6.2 million.163 Since then, the agency has increased that estimate to
$9.1 million in current dollars.164
74.
The NPRM also cited a 2002 study of 911 calls in Pennsylvania that found that, when
E911 location information was provided contemporaneously with a 911 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.165 Based on this data, the NPRM estimated that “[t]he 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” through the reduction in mortality
risk attributable to E911 location capabilities.166
75.
The conclusions of the Pennsylvania study provide a basis for a rough estimate of the
benefits of increasing 911 reliability. The NPRM estimated that “if storms cause as much as 1.25 percent
of the nation’s population to have such delayed access to 911 for one week each year, the expected annual
saving would be at least one life.”167 We cannot, of course, predict with any certainty the likelihood of
catastrophic emergency events. But we conclude for several reasons that the total benefit of the rules we
adopt today will far exceed the $9.1 million base value of one statistical life. For one thing, the
Pennsylvania Study captured only the lives lost when ambulances are delayed due to less accurate
location information. It therefore failed to capture lives that could be lost if ambulances do not arrive at
all
due to a lack of reliable access to 911, a problem our rules are intended to address. Furthermore, our
floor value considers only the benefits attributable to cardiac emergency calls, which, according to the
Pennsylvania Study, accounted for less than 20 percent of medical emergency calls and less than 10
percent of total emergency calls.168 Our estimated benefit of saving at least one life per year, therefore,
likely underestimates the expected benefits from 10 percent of 911 calls and fully excludes all of the
expected benefits from the remaining 90 percent of 911 calls, which involve a broad range of risks to
safety of life and property beyond the cardiac emergencies examined in the Pennsylvania Study.
76.
No commenter questions the basic premise that 911 communications provide significant
public health and safety benefits. Nor has any commenter provided an alternative method of quantifying
the public safety benefits associated with reliable 911 service. However, several commenters argue that
the Pennsylvania Study focused on E911 location information rather than 911 reliability during disasters,
and therefore is not applicable in this proceeding as a measure of the life-saving benefit of reliable 911

163 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).
164 See Memorandum from Polly Trottenberg, Under Secretary for 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, Guidance on the
Treatment of the Economic Value of a Statistical Life (VSL) in U.S. Department of Transportation Analyses
(February 28, 2013), available at http://www.dot.gov/sites/dot.dev/files/docs/VSL%20Guidance%202013.pdf.
165 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 (Pennsylvania Study).
166 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3433 ¶ 43 n.100.
167 Id. We also note that our estimate of 341,000 cardiac incidents being reported nationwide to 911 is roughly one-
fourth of the estimated coronary attacks occurring each year in the United States. The American Heart Association
estimates that each year 785,000 Americans have a new coronary attack and 470,000 have a recurrent attack. These
figures, which sum to 1.255 million cardiac incidents, suggest that our estimate of 341,000 is very conservative or, if
it is accurate, that only 27 percent of such incidents are called in to 911. See Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics -
2012 Update: A Report from the American Heart Association at 4, Circulation (Dec. 15, 2011), available at
http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/125/1/e2.full.pdf+html.
168 See Pennsylvania Study, supra note 165, at 31.

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service.169 If, however, the delivery of E911 location information has been linked to a notable reduction
in mortality risk, as the Pennsylvania Study suggests, a loss of location information necessary for such
service – not to mention a complete loss of 911 service – would produce a corresponding increase in
mortality risk. We therefore conclude that our $9.1 million floor value for the requirements’ expected
benefit is a very conservative estimate, and that the total benefit to the safety of life and property will be
considerably higher.
77.
Even if the NPRM “fails to identify any specific harm to an individual—much less a
death or serious injury—caused as a result of a failure to reach emergency services promptly during the
derecho,”170 as AT&T asserts, we consider it fortunate that the effects of the derecho were not worse
given the serious problems it revealed. Moreover, one large PSAP alone did not receive nearly 1,900
calls to 911 during the derecho, suggesting that numerous callers were, in fact, deprived of access to vital
emergency services.171 Thus, whether we calculate mortality risk based on location information or some
other component of 911 service, and regardless of the precise statistical value we assign to each human
life, the record reflects a quantifiable risk of harm to public safety through the absence or failure of 911
capabilities and corresponding benefits to public safety through improved 911 reliability. No commenter
seriously disputes that reliable 911 service saves lives and minimizes the impact of additional hazards to
the safety of our citizens and their homes and other property.
78.
The 911 Reliability NPRM estimated total costs to service providers of $16.1 million to
$44.1 million.172 By relaxing or eliminating several of the requirements proposed in the NPRM, however,
we have reduced the impact on service providers far below those estimates, and within an acceptable
range of the $9.1 million floor value of benefits estimated in this Report and Order. As explained below,
we estimate that the total annual incremental cost to service providers is approximately $9 million, which
includes $6.4 million for circuit audit costs, $1.9 million for backup power costs, and $732,000 for
monitoring costs.173 We address the estimated costs of each certification element in more detail below in
section III.D.
79.
Some commenters, particularly 911 service providers, argue that the cost benefit-analysis
in our NPRM overstates the expected benefits174 and underestimates the costs of implementing the
certification requirements we adopt today.175 As noted below, however, by limiting the scope and nature
of our requirements, we believe that we have reduced the potential costs associated with them.176 We find

169 See AT&T Comments at 26 (arguing that the Pennsylvania Study “does not apply here”).
170 Id. at 25. But see Sullivan, Patricia, Help Delayed For Electrocuted Man As 911 Calls Backed Up During Storm,
WASH. POST, July 19, 2012; Ruane, Michael E., D.C. Woman Caught In The Derecho Storm Is Left Paralyzed, But
Her Attitude Is Optimistic
¸ WASH. POST, Aug. 19, 2012.
171 See Derecho Report at 4 (citing Fairfax County Public Notice Comments at 12).
172 The 911 Reliability NPRM estimated nationwide costs to all service providers of $2.2 million for circuit audits,
$11.7 million to $37.5 million for backup power, and $2.2 million to $4.4 million for network monitoring, for a total
of $16.1 million to $44.1 million. See 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3432-33, 3438-39, 3441 ¶¶ 41, 57, 66.
173 See infra, ¶¶ 103, 130, 138.
174 See AT&T Comments at 25 (arguing that the 911 Reliability NPRM “fails to make a causal link between the
regulatory remedies proposed and the asserted public interest benefits.”); CenturyLink Reply at 15 (“Evidence of
tangible public benefits resulting from the reliability and resiliency measures proposed in the NPRM is
conspicuously absent.”).
175 See ATIS Comments at 13 (“ATIS believes that the estimated costs grossly underestimate the burden to the
industry associated with the proposed recommendations.”); AT&T Comments at 24 (arguing that “[t]he
Commission’s cost estimates are irreparably flawed”); Verizon Comments at 12 (disputing the NPRM’s cost
estimate for central-office backup generators); Frontier Comments at 8 (describing the “significant time and costs
that are associated with auditing 911 circuits”).
176 See infra, Section III.D.

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that our statutory mandate to promote the safety of life and property and to implement our specific
statutory 911 responsibilities makes the benefits of reliable 911 service well worth these costs,
particularly since the approach we adopt here is based on best practices developed through broad industry
consensus. In light of the importance that the industry places on these best practices for ensuring
reliability and public safety, we believe it is reasonable to conclude that the public safety benefits of
encouraging service providers to implement those best practices more consistently will exceed the
incremental cost of compliance.

D.

Certification Requirements

1.

Circuit Diversity Audits

80.
Under the rules we adopt today, Covered 911 Service Providers must certify annually
whether they have, within the past year, audited the physical diversity of critical 911 circuits or equivalent
data paths to each PSAP they serve, tagged those circuits to minimize the risk that they will be
reconfigured at some future date,177 and eliminated all single points of failure between the selective
router, ALI/ANI database, or equivalent NG911 component, and the central office serving each PSAP. In
lieu of eliminating single points of failure, they may describe why these single points of failure cannot be
eliminated and the specific, reasonably sufficient alternative measures they have taken to mitigate the
risks associated with the lack of physical diversity. Alternatively, Covered 911 Service Providers may
certify that they believe this element of the certification is not applicable to their network, although they
must explain why it is not applicable. Under these rules, all Covered 911 Service Providers must conduct
annual audits of the physical diversity of their critical 911 circuits and tag those circuits to prevent
rearrangement, but they may take a range of corrective measures most appropriate for their networks and
PSAP customers. Covered 911 Service Providers must also retain records of circuit audits for
confidential review by the Commission, upon request, for two years.
81.
Critical 911 Circuits. For purposes of the certification, “critical 911 circuits” include
transmission facilities between a 911 selective router or its functional equivalent and the final point in the
local exchange serving the PSAP where these facilities make an appearance (e.g., the main distribution
frame) before leaving this exchange on their way to the PSAP. For purposes of this requirement, a
selective router is a 911 network component that selects the appropriate destination PSAP for each 911
call based on the location of the caller.178 Critical 911 circuits also include links from ANI/ALI databases
to central offices that serve PSAPs. We emphasize that we do not include in our definition of “critical
911 circuits” the connections between the calling party and the selective router that serves this person.
Because IP-based NG911 networks may not employ circuit-switched technologies, we intend the auditing
obligation to extend to data transport paths for the core 911 capabilities described above in Section III.B,
regardless of whether they are technically “circuits.”179 Likewise, the selective router function could be
hosted by a third party. The facilities connecting the third party’s selective router with the PSAPs to
which it is interconnected are “critical 911 circuits.”
82.
Diversity. The 911 Reliability NPRM observed that “[i]f providers do not regularly audit
the physical routes of 911 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 E911 circuits or all ALI

177 “Tagged” refers to an inventory management process whereby critical circuits are labeled (e.g., in circuit
inventory databases) to make it less likely that circuit rearrangements will compromise diversity. While we do not
specify a method or technology for tagging circuits, we require service providers to take reasonable measures to
prevent inadvertent rearrangement of diverse circuits over time.
178 See NENA Standard 03-005, Generic Requirements for an Enhanced 9-1-1 Selective Routing Switch at 12, §
2.21 (January 2004), available at http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.nena.org/resource/collection/1F053CE7-3DCD-
4DD4-9939-58F86BA03EF7/NENA_03-005-v1_Generic_Requirements_E9-1-1_SR_Switch.pdf.
179 For example, NG911 networks may use IP-based ESInets to interconnect the selective router function to the
PSAP. The facilities that compose these ESInets would be considered “critical 911 circuits.”

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links for a PSAP.”180 It also noted that a physical diversity audit would likely have revealed
vulnerabilities that led to 911 and ALI service failures to multiple PSAPs in northern Virginia during the
derecho.181 A CSRIC best practice advises network operators to “periodically audit the physical and
logical diversity called for by network design and take appropriate measures as needed.”182 Given their
importance to safety of life and property, few communications circuits could be more worthy of this
treatment than the dedicated facilities that Covered 911 Service Providers use to deliver emergency calls
to PSAPs. During the derecho, a number of these critical 911 circuits were clearly not provisioned with
the diversity called for in the CSRIC best practice.183 No commenter disputes that increased
diversification could help prevent similar failures in the future.
83.
Physical diversity, sometimes called route diversity, means that two circuits follow
different routes 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.184 Logical diversity, sometimes
called equipment diversity, implies that two circuits are provisioned to use different transmission
equipment, but could share the same transmission medium (for example, the same fiber or conduit). For
example, two circuits that are modulated onto two wavelengths are logically diverse. If they are then
placed onto two physically separate optical fibers whose routes do not meet, they are also physically
diverse, provided they do not share other equipment prior to being placed on the fibers. If, instead, they
are placed onto the same optical fiber, they are no longer physically diverse, but they retain their logical
diversity. In the context of critical 911 circuits, we focus on physical diversity as the optimum standard
for certification, but we also recognize that logical diversity may be appropriate where a PSAP has not
ordered physically diverse service or where physical diversity is not feasible in a particular location.185
Accordingly, we do not impose a blanket requirement that all critical 911 circuits be physically diverse in
all circumstances, but we require Covered 911 Service Providers that do not provision physically diverse
911 circuits to explain why those measures are reasonably sufficient.
84.
Most Covered 911 Service Providers recognize the importance of diverse 911 circuits186
and describe rigorous procedures and high standards of care for maintaining the integrity of critical 911
circuits. AT&T, for example, notes that “[w]hen installing critical 911 circuits—such as 911 trunks to
PSAPs and ALI/ANI links—AT&T follows industry best practices designed to ensure 911 network
redundancy and survivability. These practices include maintaining an operational support systems
inventory of all new 911 network equipment as it is deployed.”187 Frontier states that it “has a team
performing diversity reviews on network elements within central offices and outside plant fibers. This

180 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3430 ¶ 35.
181 Id. at 3430 ¶ 34.
182 See CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-0532, available at
https://www.fcc.gov/nors/outage/bestpractice/DetailedBestPractice.cfm?number=8-7-0532 (emphasis added).
183 See Derecho Report at 20-21.
184 See 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3420 ¶ 13. See also 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.”)
185 There are many variations of this deployment scenario, and CSRIC has recognized that both physical and logical
diversity may be appropriate in various circumstances. CSRIC Best Practice 7-7-0532, which is used as the basis
for our circuit auditing standard, states that “network operators should periodically audit the physical and logical
diversity
called for by network design and take appropriate measures as needed.” (emphasis added)
186 See Alaska Communications Systems Comments at 1.
187 AT&T Comments at 11.

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team performs diversity reviews of 911 circuits, and when it identifies diversity violations it notifies
regional engineering; in turn the regional engineering team works to create diversity solutions.”188 In a
similar vein, since the derecho, Verizon has been working directly with PSAPs to identify and make
improvements to critical 911 circuit diversity throughout its footprint.189 These and other comments lead
us to conclude that most Covered 911 Service Providers now already adhere, or intend to adhere, to the
circuit-auditing measures we adopt today and will incur minimal incremental costs through the
certification process.190 However, we find that the failures revealed by the derecho compel additional
oversight by the Commission to ensure that vital best practices are actually followed, and continue to be
followed, to bolster the reliability and resiliency of 911 networks.
85.
States and public-safety commenters strongly support mandatory circuit audits,191 or
contend that service providers “should be required to maintain a minimum specified level of physical
diversity for their 911 circuits.”192 Other commenters point out that the costs to perform these audits
should be modest given how the circuits are typically routed in the networks of Covered 911 Service
Providers.193 The Pennsylvania PUC suggests that physical diversity requirements be imposed after an
“industry-government consultation process” has developed the applicable best practices.194
86.
Service providers, however, are mixed in their reaction to our proposal for regular audits
of 911 circuit diversity. Some argue that they already have policies in place to audit and maintain circuit
diversity, and that Commission mandates would be costly and inflexible. AT&T argues that imposition
of regulatory obligations in the area of 911 circuit auditing, like specific physical diversity requirements,
would “harm network reliability by preventing 911 Service Providers from implementing solutions
tailored to the unique characteristics of their networks . . .”195 RLECs also oppose a requirement for
physical diversity on the grounds that it may not be feasible in rural areas.196 NTCA, on the other hand,
calls upon the Commission to “install a certification scheme to enable communications service providers
to annually certify that 911 network services and facilities comply with applicable industry best practices
as administered by CSRIC.”197 Verizon argues for the use of a collaborative group of subject matter

188 See Frontier Comments at 8
189 See Verizon Comments at 6.
190 See ATIS Comments at 10 (arguing that mandatory circuit audits are not necessary because “communication
providers do recognize the importance of maintaining 911 circuit availability and have appropriate processes in
place to meet established commitments to PSAPs”).
191 See NENA Comments at 10; Fairfax County Comments at 3 (“Network operators/service providers should be
required to conduct such audits.”); City of Alexandria Comments at 5; Pennsylvania PUC Comments at 13.
192 Fairfax County Comments at 5; City of Alexandria Comments at 4; Pennsylvania PUC Comments at 13.
193 See Mission Critical Partners Comments at 6 (“Indeed we agree with the Commission that the costs associated
with these audits are modest, as many of the trunks and data circuits to a single PSAP will follow similar routes.
That is to say that although a PSAP may have 50 trunks, it is common that many of the trunks will follow only one
or two paths and thus a commensurate number of audits is not the rule but rather the exception.”).
194 See Pennsylvania PUC Comments at 14.
195 See AT&T Comments at 14; ATIS Comments at 10; Edison Electric Institute Comments at 7 (“Given the
existence of such standards, as well as the nature of communications networks and the need for a certain level of
flexibility, EEI believes that adoption by the Commission of proscriptive rules or standards is not an ideal solution to
address reliability deficiencies and backup power issues.”).
196 See NTCA Comments at 5 (“NTCA urges the FCC to consider the unique circumstances of rural operators and
refrain from implementing physical diversity requirements upon small rural carriers to the extent that they might
apply to all RLEC operations.”); Frontier Comments at 10; Western Telecommunications Alliance Comments at 10-
11.
197 See NTCA Comments at 4.

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experts, like CSRIC, to define a core set of practices that would form the basis for a reliability
certification.198
87.
Assure911.net proposes a reporting scheme that would extend from 911 callers through
to the PSAP that serves them.199 As a threshold matter, we note that the circuits from the end-user to the
selective router lie beyond the scope of this proceeding. AT&T also observes that reporting obligations
above and beyond what would accompany the certification would require Covered 911 Service Providers
to file information that “is not necessary to ensure that providers regularly carry out diversity audits.”200
Other commenters share this view.201 We agree and decline to impose a separate reporting obligation on
Covered 911 Service Providers at this time.
88.
One commenter suggests that periodic failure testing of critical 911 circuits could be an
alternative to the auditing approach that we adopt here.202 We are reluctant to adopt a requirement for
periodic testing of circuit failure scenarios, however, as such testing might result in short disruptions to
911 service while testing is performed. Moreover, while such an approach could help identify failed
circuits, it would not necessarily reveal lapses in the diversity of functional circuits. Given these potential
dangers, we conclude that this alternative would provide insufficient protection to 911 service, and to the
lives and property this service is designed to protect.
89.
Another commenter proposes that we consider the use of the Telecommunications
Service Priority (TSP) system as a basis for circuit auditing of critical 911 circuits.203 Mission Critical
Partners argues that, among other things, the use of TSP for critical 911 circuits would help ensure
prompt restoration of such circuits. TSP uses an inventory management process much like the “tagging”
concept that we adopt today. Unlike tagging, however, TSP is not designed to ensure circuit diversity,
which the record indicates to be of central importance in avoiding 911 failures. Rather, it is intended to
hasten the circuit provisioning and restoration processes.204 Hence, we choose not to adopt TSP as the
mechanism whereby Covered 911 Service Providers manage their 911 circuit inventory.
90.
Auditing Methods. As a number of parties have pointed out,205 physical diversity audits
need not be intrusive or disruptive. For example, the audits could be completed using a computerized
examination of circuit and facility assignment data in databases. A more labor-intensive version of this
process would involve human examination of circuit assignment records for critical 911 circuits. To be in
conformance with the CSRIC best practice, however, an auditing method must reflect the geographic
routing of circuits, as well as the logical flow of data, which could occur over a common physical path.
In cases where a party provides 911 services directly to a PSAP (pursuant to contract or tariff) over leased
facilities, the auditing obligation would apply to that party, and not to the facilities lessor. Although it
could contract with the underlying facilities lessor, if necessary, to audit its facilities, the Covered 911
Service provider would remain responsible under our rules for ensuring compliance with the auditing
requirement.
91.
Although some commenters contend that “physical auditing” of 911 circuits is time-
consuming and may actually damage network components that must be disassembled or otherwise

198 See Verizon Comments at 13.
199 See Assure911.net Comments at 3-4.
200 See AT&T Comments at 14.
201 See ATIS Comments at 10.
202 See NENA Comments at 10.
203 See Mission Critical Partners Comments at 7.
204 See U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Telecommunications Service Priority, http://tsp.ncs.gov/.
205 See AT&T Comments at 11-12.

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disturbed in the process,206 we believe this objection overlooks the possibility for accurate audits of
records, or automated systems that perform the same function. It may be possible to conduct “highly
accurate” computerized audits of physical and logical diversity, as AT&T asserts,207 and such audits
would satisfy the certification obligation so long as they trace the geographic routing of 911 circuits.
AT&T describes one such inventory system, called the Diversity Analysis Reporting Tool (DART),
which integrates logical circuit data with physical facilities data, enabling automated auditing of the
diversity of critical 911 circuits.208 AT&T further notes that “after the initial development of the tool is
complete, there are minimal incremental costs to operating and maintaining DART.”209 Similarly,
Verizon notes that it is “working on a means to store network information in a new inventory system to
better facilitate response and restoration.”210 This system would “automate the process of grouping a
PSAP’s circuits, thus eliminating one of the manual steps [Verizon] take[s] today.”211 Although Verizon
states that the costs of subsequent audits using this system are unclear, it acknowledges that the automated
process “may require slightly less time” than previous audits.212
92.
Other Covered 911 Service Providers, while asserting that they audit critical 911 circuits
for diversity, do not use automated systems.213 CenturyLink, for example, lacks the capability to perform
computerized audits and opposes a requirement that such a method be used to conduct audits.214
Nevertheless, even relatively labor-intensive audits can be performed without laying a hand on the
network facilities to be audited, and the CSRIC best practice upon which our standard is based does not
specify the form of audit recommended. Covered 911 Service Providers might not have integrated
operations systems to perform this task, but they do have cable records and circuit inventory databases
that can be used. CenturyLink, for instance, notes that while it “does not formally ‘lock down’ 911
circuits in order to preserve the ability to readily perform maintenance or emergency work on them,” it
does have a process in place to “verify that any design changes will not adversely affect 911 network
diversity or other functionality.”215 In light of the above, we decline to adopt detailed standards – beyond
those discussed above – governing how Covered 911 Service Providers must conduct these audits.
93.
Frequency of Audits. The 911 Reliability NPRM sought comment on how often 911
reliability certifications should be submitted.216 For the reasons discussed below, we conclude that a
requirement that Covered 911 Service Providers conduct annual audits of their 911 circuits coupled with a
requirement for submission of annual certifications best serves the public interest. We agree with those
commenters who note that regular auditing of critical 911 circuits can significantly improve network
reliability217 and we conclude that annual auditing of 911 circuits and network monitoring links is

206 See AT&T Comments at 12-13.
207 See id. at 11-12.
208 See AT&T Ex Parte Notice at 1 (June 3, 2013).
209 AT&T Ex Parte Notice at 1 (June 27, 2013).
210 Verizon Comments at 6.
211 Verizon Ex Parte Notice at 1 (July 3, 2013).
212 Id.
213 Frontier Comments at 8-9; CenturyLink Reply Comments at 7.
214 See CenturyLink Reply Comments at 7.
215 See CenturyLink Ex Parte Notice at 3-4 (June 20, 2013).
216 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3432 ¶ 40.
217 See NENA Comments at 10 (“With respect to both [selective router]-to-PSAP trunks and redundant ALI
datalinks, NENA believes that regular auditing of physical path diversity can significantly improve 9-1-1 system
reliability.”); APCO Comments at 3 (urging the Commission to require “specified levels of physical diversity for 9-
1-1 circuits,” consistent with CSRIC best practices).

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necessary to prevent a loss of diversity in these critical circuits due to routine circuit rearrangements
between audits.
94.
The relevant CSRIC best practice advises network operators to “periodically audit the
physical and logical diversity called for by network design and take appropriate measures as needed,” but
it does not recommend a specific interval for 911 circuit audits.218 Some commenters, primarily Covered
911 Service Providers, contend that annual circuit audits are unnecessary and that reliable 911 service
may be adequately maintained through audits every three years,219 or on some other schedule.220 Public
safety commenters, however, recommend more frequent audits, combined with an obligation to quickly
address any vulnerabilities that those audits reveal. New York City and the Pennsylvania Public Utility
Commission both favor annual audits. 221 Fairfax County proposes audits at least every two years but
notes that this recommendation is contingent on “the relative stability of the circuit routes after any
remediation” and assumes that “service provider process controls are in place to establish ‘lock downs’ on
the circuit routes.”222 The derecho experience, however, revealed that multiple service providers not only
failed to detect serious vulnerabilities in their 911 networks, but could not even identify critical circuit
routes until long after the outages occurred.223 We conclude from this experience, and from comments
indicating that service providers’ current circuit-auditing practices are often insufficient to provide
assurances of reliable service,224 that a more rigorous approach is warranted.
95.
Moreover, our experience reviewing thousands of NORS outage reports since 2004
shows that communications circuits, including 911 circuits, are subject to periodic, unpredictable
reconfiguration to satisfy a variety of business and operational needs.225 These reconfigurations can cause
a previously diverse 911 circuit to be configured without diversity, which imposes a serious risk to 911

218 See CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-0532, available at
https://www.fcc.gov/nors/outage/bestpractice/DetailedBestPractice.cfm?number=8-7-0532 (emphasis added).
219 See Frontier Comments at 9 (arguing for circuit audits every three years on grounds that annual audits would not
be necessary if service providers tag critical circuits to prevent inadvertent rearrangement); cf. Verizon Ex Parte
Notice at 1 (July 3, 2013) (stating that Verizon plans to perform diversity reviews every three years).
220 See Century Link Ex Parte Notice at 1 (Sept. 18, 2013) (stating that it would take “approximately 24 months to
audit all the 911 circuits in its network”); AT&T Reply Comments at 8 (supporting a requirement that 911 service
providers “certify annually that they conduct computerized audits consistent with industry best practices,” but not
specifying an interval for each audit of its network).
221 See Pennsylvania PUC Comments at 13 (supporting “annual auditing for physical diversity to avoid single points
for routine 911 circuits,” with remediation complete by the end of the second year); City of New York Reply
Comments at 2 (supporting “[a]nnual auditing of 911 trunked circuits and other designated high priority circuits to
ensure physical diversity” in dense urban and suburban areas).
222 Fairfax County Comments at 4. See also City of Falls Church Comments at 1 (joining in Fairfax County
Comments); City of Alexandria Comments at 5 (supporting “periodic, mandatory circuit auditing” by 911 service
providers).
223 See Derecho Report at 21 (stating that “it is clear to the Bureau that Verizon was not fully aware of the routing of
its own critical circuits until a considerable time after they failed”).
224 See Mission Critical Partners Comments at 6 (“Our experience in various locations in the country has been that
many carriers are reluctant or unwilling to provide detailed physical circuit maps due to the failings that they
reveal.”)
225 See FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Reminds Telecommunications Service Providers of
Importance of Implementing Advisory Committee 911 and Enhanced 911 Services Best Practices, Public Notice,
DA 10-494, 25 FCC Rcd 2805 (PSHSB rel. March 24, 2010) (Observing that “[t]hrough an examination of network
outage reports filed through [NORS], the 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”).

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reliability. We conclude that annual circuit diversity audits will reveal conditions like these, and enable
providers to take steps to address any such issues in a timely manner.
96.
Further, we find that any costs associated with annual audits are incremental and modest,
at best, as many service providers claim that they already have implemented similar processes. For
example, while Verizon proposes circuit audits every three years, it notes that it had “almost completed”
auditing its entire 911 network less than a year after the derecho.226 Other service providers comment that
more frequent audits would require additional staff time.227 Even if true, the derecho and associated
outages show that these additional resources may well be necessary to fulfill Covered 911 Service
Providers’ responsibility to provide dependable service when it matters most. While there may be startup
costs associated with these needed improvements, service providers that have already implemented
automated circuit audits demonstrate that the incremental cost of each audit decreases once the system has
been developed.228 Even if other service providers, particularly smaller entities with fewer resources, do
not currently have such systems in place, the two-year phase-in of our certification allows time to
implement more efficient auditing mechanisms that will reduce costs over time while increasing network
reliability. Once internalized, these efficiencies will address service provider concerns that one audit may
not be completed by the time the next certification is due.229 Moreover, the tagging of circuits to prevent
inadvertent rearrangement over time in accordance with our rules will further serve to minimize the time
required for future audits.230 Accordingly, we are persuaded that annual 911 circuit audits are necessary
to ensure that necessary diversity of 911 circuits and, in turn, promote the reliability of our 911
communications system.
97.
Corrective Measures. Under the rules we adopt today, Covered 911 Service Providers
must certify annually whether they have, within the past year, audited the physical diversity of critical 911
circuits or equivalent data paths to each PSAP they serve, tagged those circuits, and eliminated single
points of failure in these circuits. In lieu of eliminating single points of failure, providers also may certify
that they have taken specific, alternative measures reasonably sufficient to mitigate the risk of insufficient
physical diversity. While physical diversity always results in higher reliability, we are persuaded by
AT&T and others that the costs of achieving physical diversity inflexibly in every instance would be
overly burdensome.231 We are also sympathetic to NTCA’s arguments that the relevant 911 infrastructure
is frequently owned and operated by a separate service provider. Hence, we decline to adopt uniform
performance requirements specifying physical diversity for all critical 911 circuits, but we require

226 See Verizon Comments at 6 (noting in May 2013 that within the past year “Verizon conducted network design
reviews of PSAP trunking and ALI links for diversity for all Maryland and Virginia PSAPs” and “has almost
completed similar reviews of PSAP trunking throughout its footprint”).
227 See Frontier Comments at 9 (arguing that annual circuit audits would require the work of nine full-time
employees); CenturyLink Ex Parte Notice at 1 (Sept. 18, 2013) (arguing that it would take seven employees twenty-
four months to audit and tag all of its critical 911 circuits).
228 See AT&T Ex Parte Notice at 1 (June 27, 2013) (noting that that “after the initial development of the tool is
complete, there are minimal incremental costs to operating and maintaining” its automated Diversity Analysis
Reporting Tool (DART)); Verizon Ex Parte Notice at 1 (July 3, 2013) (acknowledging that the automated process it
is developing “may require slightly less time” than previous manual audits).
229 See Century Link Ex Parte Notice at 1 (Sept. 18, 2013).
230 See Fairfax County Comments at 4 (noting that 911 circuits may be relatively stable between audits if service
providers “lock down” diverse circuits); Frontier Comments at 9 (“Once all critical circuits are flagged and
identified within the database, regional engineers that are planning changes within the network would review the
system records and identify critical circuits that reside on facilities and/or equipment they are proposing to
change.”).
231 See AT&T Comments at 19-20; Frontier Comments at 10-11; Alaska Communications Systems Comments at 3;
Verizon Comments at 12.

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Covered 911 Service Providers to explain why measures short of physical diversity are reasonably
sufficient to ensure reliable 911 service in individual cases.
98.
Service providers have a number of flexible methods at their disposal to satisfy the
certification requirement and mitigate the risks of circuit failure, even where ensuring complete physical
diversity may not be feasible. Because the decision whether to order diverse access through multiple
selective routers, or the functional equivalent, typically rests with the PSAP and is driven by budgetary
and other local concerns,232 we agree that service providers should not be inflexibly required to install
costly, redundant circuits where a PSAP has not ordered that level of service. They will be required,
however, to audit their critical 911 circuits for physical diversity as our rules set forth. Verizon, for
example, states that less than 20 percent of the PSAPs it serves have only a single selective router,233
although the proportion may be higher in rural areas where communities are spread farther apart.234 As
NENA notes, however, there are technologies and services that can help overcome the obstacles presented
by the lack of physically diverse wireline facilities.235 Thus, even where there is limited access to
physical routes for critical 911 circuits,236 service providers have many alternatives that can yield
physically diverse service and the reliability it offers.
99.
Moreover, while physical diversity may be impossible to achieve in a particular situation,
logical diversity can often be achieved relatively easily and at modest cost, and could be reasonably
sufficient in such circumstances to mitigate the risks associated with insufficient physical diversity. For
example, a circuit audit might reveal that all 911 circuits to a PSAP terminate on a single circuit pack in a
digital cross-connect system. It would not be costly or difficult to move some of these circuits to a
different circuit pack, adding some measure of physical diversity without requiring a second selective
router. As NENA points out, “in many cases the trunks connecting the selective router to its PSAPs’
serving end offices do have some diversity, by virtue of dividing the trunk groups in two and sending each
half along a different physical path.”237 Where a separate physical path is unavailable, 911 trunks can be
spread out across diverse equipment in the central offices through which the trunks pass, providing a
modest level of diversity. Similar methods can be applied to ALI links to make them more resilient.
These measures may be considered reasonably sufficient to mitigate the risk of insufficient physical
diversity, depending on the facts of individual cases.
100.
Cost Effectiveness. Regarding costs of 911 circuit auditing, we note as an initial matter
that our approach is likely to be cost-effective because it is has been designated a best practice by
industry, via CSRIC.238 Moreover, many Covered 911 Service Providers argue that such reviews are

232 See Alaska Communications Systems Comments at 4-5 (“The decisions and funding commitments necessary to
achieve [improved] redundancy and service resiliency are wholly within the province of the PSAP and its associated
local governmental budgeting process.”); NENA Reply Comments at 2 (“From the [selective router] to the served
PSAP. . . NENA agrees with Alaska Communications Systems that route diversity should be the responsibility of
911 authorities or PSAPs.”), Mission Critical Partners at 5.
233 Verizon Comments at 11.
234 See Alaska Communications Systems Comments at 3 (“In the Alaska bush, where there may not be a PSAP
covering 150 or more communities, physical route diversity may not be possible, because there may be only a single
facility or route serving a given bush location.”).
235 See NENA Reply Comments at 3 (“Today, a number of less-costly technologies such as microwave, free-space
optical, encapsulated IP transport, and even lower-cost satellite service are available, and can meet PSAPs’ needs for
last mile redundancy.”); EchoStar Comments at 3 (“Time and time again, satellite technology has demonstrated its
ability to offer true path diversity to enable the continued availability of communications services.”).
236 See NTCA Comments at 6.
237 See NENA Comments at 10 (emphasis in original).
238 See ¶ 4, supra.

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already part of their normal course of business.239 Hence, the incremental costs to comply with the
certification requirements we adopt today should be modest. However, we also believe that the costs
should be narrowly tailored to the need to ensure reliability of the critical circuits at issue here. We turn
now to a more detailed analysis of commenters’ views on costs and their justification.
101.
In our NPRM we estimated that the incremental cost to perform the additional audits
annually for all of the PSAPs where they are not being performed at regular intervals would be roughly
$2.2 million.240 We further estimated that half of PSAPs served by dual selective routers are not currently
subject to regular audits.241 In light of comments indicating that Covered 911 Service Providers already
perform regular diversity audits for many, but not all, critical 911 circuits,242 we believe that the NPRM’s
estimate is reasonable, and may, in fact, be conservative. However, based on the reliability concerns
described above, we conclude that audits must be performed on all PSAPs, not just those that are served
by dual selective routers. 243 In the worst case, where the single-stranded PSAP audits cost as much as
those for PSAPs served by dual selective routers, we would expect the annual incremental cost of those
audits to be about $4.5 million when based on the assumptions in the NPRM.244
102.
A number of service providers estimated higher costs on the grounds that circuit audits
take longer than the sixteen hours estimated in the NPRM.245 Even assuming that these more conservative
figures are accurate, however, we conclude that most of these costs are already being incurred by Covered
911 Service Providers and will decrease over time as their auditing practices improve. As commenters
attest through their descriptions of existing practices,246 it is more likely that only a segment of critical
911 circuits are not already subject to regular audits consistent with today’s Report and Order, and the
incremental cost to audit the remaining circuits on an annual basis is the more reasonable figure to use in
an assessment of the burden imposed by our auditing requirement. Frontier, for example, estimates that
“diversity reviews” of all its critical circuits would take approximately twenty-three hours per PSAP
served.247 Even if Frontier is correct, and if we continue to estimate that half of all critical 911 circuits are
not currently audited each year, the incremental cost of our circuit auditing requirement across the

239 See AT&T Comments at 11 (“Consistent with industry best practices, 9-1-1 circuit auditing is already a part of
AT&T’s standard operating procedure.”); Frontier Comments at 8 (“Frontier has a team performing diversity
reviews on network elements within central offices and outside plant fibers.”); Verizon Comments at 6 (“[L]ast year,
Verizon conducted network design reviews of PSAP trunking and ALI links for diversity for all Maryland and
Virginia PSAPs. . . [and] has almost completed similar reviews of PSAP trunking throughout its footprint.”); ATIS
Comments at 10 (“[C]ommunication providers do recognize the importance of maintaining 9-1-1 circuit availability
and have appropriate processes in place to meet established commitments to PSAPs.”).
240 See 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3432-33 ¶ 41. The NPRM based this calculation on the assumptions
that critical 911 circuits serving approximately 1,750 PSAPs (half of those served by dual selective routers) would
be audited annually at a cost of $1,280 per audit, for a total cost of $2,240,000.
241 See id.
242 See AT&T Comments at 11; Frontier Comments at 8; Verizon Comments at 6; ATIS Comments at 10.
243 The NPRM assumed that each audit would take 16 hours at $80/hour and would only be conducted yearly on
those PSAPs served by a 911 dual selective router configuration, which we estimated accounts for 50 percent of all
PSAPs. See 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3432-33 ¶ 41.
244 3,500 audits (half of 7,000 PSAPs nationwide) * 16 hours each audit * $80 per hour = $4,480,000.
245 See Verizon Comments at 11, Frontier Comments at 8-9.
246 See AT&T Comments at 11, Frontier Comments at 8, Verizon Comments at 6, ATIS Comments at 10.
247 See Frontier Comments at 8-10 (estimating a total of 18,660 hours to audit all critical circuits to “over 800 PSAPs
nationwide,” or 23.3 hours each). While Frontier’s comments provide time estimates for auditing various
components of the network (e.g., end offices, ALI links and PSAP trunks), we use the aggregated number as a
measure of the total incremental coast of our auditing requirement for comparison with estimates provided by other
commenters.

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nationwide network would be about $6.4 million.248 Notably, Frontier comments that “once the
information is audited it is included in a database and future audits should take less time on a going-
forward basis.”249 Similarly, CenturyLink asserts that it would take seven employees twenty-four months
to audit and tag all of its critical 911 circuits, at a cost of $1.3 million annually,250 indicating that its
current manual audits each require about twenty-nine hours of labor.251 Yet CenturyLink also comments
that it already “has processes in place to prevent adverse impacts to 9-1-1 network design . . . [and] verify
that any design changes will not adversely affect 9-1-1 network diversity or other functionality,”252
suggesting that it already bears at least some of the costs of auditing and tagging critical 911 circuits.
Even if CenturyLink is correct that its total auditing costs would be $1.3 million annually, and even if all
Covered 911 Service Providers incur the same expense – which is unlikely because some already perform
automated audits and others are developing such processes – the annual incremental cost for all providers
would be $8.1 million.253 Verizon argues that each diversity audit requires 40 hours of engineering
time,254 in which case the total incremental cost would not exceed $11.2 million.255 Verizon also states,
however, that it already routinely audits all critical 911 circuits, even for PSAPs served by only a single
selective router, and that it already is developing a more efficient auditing process.256
103.
In any event, these estimates provide a range of $6.4 million to $11.2 million in annual
incremental costs, even if we accept the industry view that critical 911 circuit audits require more time
than we estimated in the NPRM. In light of comments from AT&T describing the “minimal incremental
cost” of computerized audits257 and from Frontier and CenturyLink indicating that even their existing
auditing methods require less than 40 hours per PSAP,258 however, we do not believe Verizon’s estimate
accurately represents the cost of our rules to the industry as a whole. 259 Furthermore, the two-year phase-
in of our certification will allow all Covered 911 Service Providers to reexamine their existing circuit

248 3,500 audits * 23 hours each audit * $80 per hour = $6,440,000.
249 Frontier Ex Parte Notice at 1 (July 3, 2013).
250 CenturyLink Ex Parte Notice at 1 (Sept. 18, 2013).
251 CenturyLink states that it serves 1,117 PSAPs and would require two years to audit those circuits. See
CenturyLink Ex Parte Notice at 3 (June 20, 2013). If we accept these numbers, it follows that half, or 558 of those
PSAPs, would be audited each year at a cost of $1.3 million or $2,330 per PSAP. This amounts to about 29 hours
per PSAP if labor costs $80 per hour.
252 CenturyLink Ex Parte Notice at 3 (June 20, 2013).
253 3,500 audits * 29 hours * $80 per hour = $8,120,000.
254 See Verizon Comments at 11.
255 3,500 audits * 40 hours each audit * $80 per hour = $11,200,000.
256 Verizon Comments at 11; Verizon Ex Parte Notice at 1 (July 3, 2013) (acknowledging that the automated process
it is developing “may require slightly less time” than previous manual audits).
257 AT&T Ex Parte Notice at 1 (June 27, 2013).
258 See Frontier Comments at 8-9 (estimating about 23 hours per PSAP audited); CenturyLink Ex Parte Notice at 3
(June 20, 2013); CenturyLink Ex Parte Notice at 1 (Sept. 18, 2013) (estimating about 29 hours).
259 Even if Verizon’s higher cost estimate were correct, it would not change our conclusion that annual circuit audits
are warranted in light of the public safety benefits of reliable 911 service. The expected benefit from only 10
percent of 911 calls (i.e., those calls involving cardiac emergencies) by itself covers 66 percent of the incremental
cost of a certification including annual circuit audits, even if we use Verizon’s figures ($9.1 million value of one
statistical life / $13.8 million cost of all certification elements including annual audits = 0.659). We therefore expect
the total benefit from our rules to far exceed total incremental costs, even if Verizon’s cost estimate were accurate.
See ¶ 75, supra.

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auditing practices and implement more efficient systems.260 Accordingly, we conclude that the lower end
of the industry range – about $6.4 million – is a reasonable estimate of the annual incremental cost of our
circuit auditing requirement once the audits we require are put into practice.261 Notably, these estimates
reflects the cost of a “highly important” best practice that virtually all Covered 911 Service Providers
claim to follow already to some degree.262 The incremental cost of conducting circuit audits in
conformance with our certification will be substantially less than the total cost, regardless of how it is
calculated.
104.
We recognize that these estimates are based on assumptions, and that some of these
assumptions may not be true for all service providers. For example, small and rural carriers additionally
argue that circuit-auditing obligations would have a disproportionate impact on providers without the
necessary staff and resources.263 Although we acknowledge that there will be costs associated with any
circuit auditing requirement, we believe the approach we adopt minimizes those costs while providing
Covered 911 Service Providers with the flexibility to manage their compliance burden in areas where they
find it infeasible to implement remedies that bring them into full compliance with our critical 911 circuit
diversity requirements. Thus, we conclude that the approach we adopt is cost-effective.
105.
One commenter argues that if the Commission adopts regulatory mandates in this
proceeding, it should “also identify federal funding sources to address the cost of compliance” and also
“consider whether federal legislation would be necessary to assist 911 Service Providers in meeting the
911 reliability objectives.”264 Similarly, Frontier comments that “[i]f the Commission truly wants to
provide diversity to every critical circuit it will need to make significant resources available to carriers to
do so.”265 The 911 Reliability NPRM inquired whether there should be a “mechanism for cost recovery
beyond the 911 related tariff mechanisms already in place” for common carriers under Title II of the
Communications Act.266 Although some commenters assert that regulatory obligations with respect to
circuit auditing and diversity would be prohibitively expensive without additional funding,267 our analysis
above shows that service providers already budget for many of the costs of the approach we adopt today
and are unlikely to incur significant incremental costs to comply with certification requirements.268 We

260 See AT&T Ex Parte Notice at 1 (June 27, 2013). (describing the “minimal incremental costs” to performing
circuit audits after development of its automated system); Verizon Ex Parte Notice at 1 (July 3, 2013)
(acknowledging that the automated process it is developing “may require slightly less time” than previous manual
audits); Frontier Ex Parte Notice at 1 (July 3, 2013) (noting that “future audits should take less time on a going-
forward basis”).
261 We expect the costs to remediate diversity vulnerabilities to be a small percentage of the costs to perform 911
circuit audits. First, the costs to remediate diversity problems will, in most cases, involve reassigning circuits.
These costs should be fairly small since the circuit audits will have already identified the places where additional
diversity should be provided and circuit reassignments are routinely done with automated systems. Second, even
though all 911 circuits will be audited, it is likely that only a fraction of those circuits will require remediation in
light of service providers’ claims that they already have processes in place to maintain 911 circuit diversity.
262 See AT&T Comments at 11, Frontier Comments at 8, Verizon Comments at 6, ATIS Comments at 10;
CenturyLink Ex Parte Notice at 3 (June 20, 2013).
263 See Alaska Communications Systems Comments at 9 (“The regulatory burden of preparing and filing yet another
Commission report is costly.”).
264 AT&T Comments at 11 n.8.
265 Frontier Comments at 10-11.
266 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3425 ¶ 23.
267 See AT&T Comments at 11 n.8; Frontier Comments at 10-11.
268 Furthermore, the standards that we have selected as the basis for the circuit diversity audits and associated
certifications are based on those recommended to us by CSRIC and found by that body to be “highly important.”
Such “highly important” practices serve the vital purpose of improving the likelihood of emergency call completion,
(continued….)

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therefore disagree that these requirements amount to an extraordinary increase in costs, particularly in
light of the option for service providers to employ reasonable alternative measures where physical
diversity is not feasible. Accordingly, we decline at this time to consider additional sources of funding
for compliance with the rules we adopt today.
2.

Central-Office Backup Power

106.
The 911 Reliability NPRM noted that “reliable central office backup power is essential
for communications during large-scale emergencies, and backup power failures in [central offices] can
disable 911 communications services for an entire community.”269 It posed a range of questions regarding
backup power, including whether all central offices should be required to have dedicated backup power,
what constitutes “adequate” backup power, and what level of testing and maintenance is necessary to
ensure reliability.270 The NPRM also acknowledged “what constitutes a ‘central office’ can vary to some
extent by service provider and location,” and that some facilities may require a greater degree of backup
power than others.271 Multiple CSRIC best practices address backup power issues such as generator
design and configuration,272 and appropriate testing and maintenance.273 These best practices also provide
that all critical infrastructure facilities should be supported by backup power systems such as batteries,
generators, and fuel cells.274
107.
The rules we adopt today require Covered 911 Service Providers to certify annually
whether they have sufficient, reliable backup power in any central office that directly serves a PSAP to
maintain full service functionality, including network monitoring capabilities, for at least 24 hours at full
office load. Further, we require the especially critical central offices that host selective routers to be
equipped with at least 72 hours of backup power at full office load. The specified level of backup power
may be provided through fixed generators, portable generators, batteries, fuel cells, or a combination of
those or other such sources so long as it meets the applicable certification standard.
108.
If that level of backup power is not feasible at a particular central office that directly
serves a PSAP or hosts a selective router, the certification will be required to indicate this. The service
provider must briefly state why it is not feasible and describe the specific alternative measures it has taken
to mitigate the risk associated with backup power configurations that fail to satisfy the certification
standard. Covered 911 Service Providers may also certify that they believe this element of the
certification is not applicable to their network, although they must explain why it is not applicable. As
noted above with regard to covered entities, a central office “directly serves a PSAP” if it (1) hosts a
selective router or ALI/ANI database (2) provides equivalent NG911 capabilities, or (3) is the last
(Continued from previous page)
with caller information, to the appropriate response agency, ensuring access to emergency communications for all
callers. See CSRIC II Working Group 6, Best Practice Implementation Final Report at 7-8 (January 2011),
available at http://transition.fcc.gov/pshs/docs/csric/WG6-Best-Practice-Implementation-Final-Report.pdf.
269 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3421 ¶ 14.
270 See id. at 3434-37 ¶¶ 44-46.
271 Id. at 3435 ¶ 46.
272 See CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-5281 (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.”).
273 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.”).
274 CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-5058, available at
https://www.fcc.gov/nors/outage/bestpractice/DetailedBestPractice.cfm?number=8-7-5058.

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service-provider facility through which a 911 trunk or administrative line passes before connecting to a
PSAP. Service providers must also certify (1) that they test and maintain all backup power equipment in
all central offices directly serving PSAPs in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications, per
CSRIC best practice,275 (2) that they adhere to CSRIC best practices276 regarding fully automatic, non-
interdependent generators that can be started manually if necessary,277 and (3) that they retain records of
backup power deployment and maintenance for confidential review by the Commission, upon request, for
two years. If the specified standards related to testing and tandem generator configurations cannot be
met, the service provider must briefly state why it is not feasible to meet them and describe the specific
alternative measures it has taken to mitigate the risk associated with the failure to satisfy the certification
standards.
109.
Because different central offices present different backup power challenges and a single
solution may not be suitable for all,278 we allow Covered 911 Service Providers to certify and describe
reasonable alternative measures on a case-by-case basis. For these reasons, rather than codifying existing
best practices as prescriptive rules, the certification requirement we adopt today allows 911 service
providers flexibility to maintain adequate central-office backup power based on best practices and
reasonable alternatives to suit site-specific circumstances.
110.
Several communications providers, even RLECs that presumably have more limited
resources, note that they already maintain sufficient reserves of backup power to compensate for
commercial power outages in harsh climates and geographies.279 Frontier, for example, “has reviewed
and updated its generator plan as part of its overall performance maintenance plan and also has policies
for generator usage in emergency situations.”280 Frontier currently “sets an internal standard of having

275 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.”).
276 See CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-0657, available at
https://www.fcc.gov/nors/outage/bestpractice/DetailedBestPractice.cfm?number=8-7-0657 (“Service Providers . . .
should design standby generator systems for fully automatic operation and for ease of manual operation, when
required.”); CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-5281, available at
https://www.fcc.gov/nors/outage/bestpractice/DetailedBestPractice.cfm?number=8-7-5281 (“Service Providers . . .
with buildings serviced by more than one emergency generator should design, install and maintain each generator as
a standalone unit that is not dependent on the operation of another generator for proper functioning, including fuel
supply path.”).
277 See NATOA Comments at 6.
278 See Western Telecommunications Alliance Comments at 10; Frontier Comments at 13; CenturyLink Reply
Comments at 9-11.
279 See Alaska Communications Systems Comments at 10-11 (“Reliable commercial power is unavailable in many
areas of Alaska that ACS serves, and ACS therefore maintains significant backup power capabilities, both in
Anchorage and throughout the state. ACS maintains generators at critical locations throughout the state, as well as
its own, on-site fueling station that it can use to supply and resupply the necessary fuel to keep these generators
operating. In addition, many ACS central offices have battery backup facilities that offer an additional source of
emergency power, should it be needed.”); NTCA Comments at 7 (“RLECs typically have on-hand uninterruptible
power supply systems, backup batteries, and portable and on-site generators.”).
280 See Frontier Comments at 3, 11. (“For Base Unit Central Offices Frontier is in compliance with CSRIC best
practice 8-7-5281 and has a single stationary generator with a single fuel source. Frontier has a performance
maintenance plan that it follows for backup power, whereby it follows the backup power test procedures and records
the results. The plan incorporates very specific and detailed AC generator, battery and DC power system standards,
including testing the backup generators under an actual office load. Stationary generators are to be tested monthly
with an annual “blackout” test also incorporated.”).

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three to four hours of backup power available at a site with a stationary generator and up to eight hours
available for a site that requires a portable generator,” although “[t]hese standards may vary depending
upon individual state requirements.”281 Verizon comments that “almost all” of its central offices “are
engineered to have on-site, fixed generators with 72-hour fuel reserves as well as battery reserves. When
a generator is present, the battery reserve is generally designed for at least three hours, and sometimes
more, depending on state and local standards or needs. Otherwise, the battery reserve is designed for over
eight hours to allow time for a Verizon technician to arrive on site and connect a portable generator.”282
Verizon also “maintains a thorough testing and maintenance practice for its backup power,” including
both monthly and annual generator tests and annual battery discharge tests.283 AT&T declares that it has
“fixed generators in 88 percent of its central offices, backup batteries at all central offices, and a fleet of
portable generators that can be mobilized on a moment’s notice.”284 AT&T also describes a rigorous
backup power testing program based on manufacturer-recommended schedules, just as we choose today
as the certification standard for backup power testing.285 According to CenturyLink “there are numerous
best practices associated with backup power that CenturyLink generally follows to ensure functionality in
an emergency, including engine maintenance, battery maintenance, battery backup requirements, fuel
reserves, just to name a few.”286 We conclude from these comments that most Covered 911 Service
Providers are currently implementing in the normal course of business the practices that we call for as
part of the backup power certification process we adopt today. But while these filings imply general
conformance to backup power standards, the failures observed in the derecho cause us to conclude that
additional Commission oversight is needed, particularly as it relates to vital emergency services.
111.
Public-safety commenters strongly support minimum backup-power requirements, or at
least an obligation to certify that backup power is adequate and properly maintained.287 NENA, for
example, states that “a prudent standard would begin at a minimum of 24 hours of uninterruptable backup
power” and that especially critical facilities should have as many as 120 hours available.288 According to
Fairfax County, “mandating backup power equipment testing and maintenance, along with supporting

281 Frontier Comments at 11. State requirements for central-office backup power vary based on the number of lines
an office serves, whether it has a permanently installed generator, and other factors. Alabama, for example,
provides that “[c]entral offices that have 24-hour maintenance coverage or have an automatic start engine alternator
shall provide a minimum of three hours of battery reserve [and] [a]ll other central offices shall have a minimum of
eight hours of battery reserve.” Colorado requires “a minimum of four hours of backup power or battery reserve
rated for peak traffic load” and a “mobile power source . . . that can be delivered and connected within four hours,”
as well as a permanent auxiliary power unit in all toll or tandem switching offices and central offices with the
capacity for more than 10,000 access lines. In Iowa, “[e]ach central office shall contain a minimum of two hours of
battery reserve” but for offices without permanent generators, “there shall be access to a mobile power unit with
enough capacity to carry the load which can be delivered on reasonably short notice and which can be readily
connected,” and “[a]n auxiliary power unit shall be permanently installed in all toll centers and at all exchanges
exceeding 4,000 access lines.” See CenturyLink Ex Parte Notice, Exhibit A (June 20, 2013).
282 Verizon Comments at 3.
283 See id. at 3-4.
284 See AT&T Comments at 16.
285 See id. at 17.
286 CenturyLink Reply at 8.
287 See California PUC Comments at 9 (stating that “CPUC recommends that the FCC adopt specific minimum
back-up power requirements or standards for central offices and other network locations necessary to ensure the
provisioning of 911 service.”); City of Alexandria Comments at 6 ( “Assuring adequate backup power for every
telephone central office facilities supporting regional 911 services should be part of every service level of agreement
between the PSAP and the emergency communication service providers.”).
288 NENA Comments at 12.

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documentation of same, is the most logical way to improve 911 reliability and provide an ongoing level
of assurance that the appropriate best practices are being implemented and carried through on a routine
basis.”289 While the Edison Electric Institute “believes that adoption by the Commission of proscriptive
rules or standards is not an ideal solution to address reliability deficiencies and backup power issues,” it
does support a certification approach, arguing that it “will serve the dual function of establishing a
transparent means for ensuring service providers routinely meet a certain threshold for backup power, and
providing electric utilities and other CII users of communications networks up-front knowledge as to the
reliability of a given network.”290
112.
Service providers, by contrast, argue that they should retain flexibility to determine the
best backup power strategy for each service and facility, and that the Commission underestimates the cost
of complying with backup power mandates.291 AT&T, for instance, argues that “a mandate to provide on-
site backup power in every central office would eliminate . . . necessary flexibility and undermine
provider efforts to provide backup power in the most efficient possible manner.” Commenters with
diverse points of view recommended that our backup power rules provide flexibility to address the
peculiarities of individual central office backup power situations.292 Commenters also note that
“standards may vary depending upon individual state requirements” and that backup power problems and
requirements are not uniform nationwide.293 Western Telecommunications Alliance adds that “location
and likely weather conditions affecting an area”294 will affect the feasibility of a achieving a particular
backup power standard at a site.
113.
The certification approach for backup power that we set forth today provides Covered
911 Service Providers with the flexibility to use alternative measures where the specified level of backup
power is not feasible under the circumstances, so long as they describe those alternative measures and
demonstrate that they are reasonably sufficient to mitigate the risk of failure. This process allows
Covered 911 Service Providers the flexibility they seek to, among other things, “account for state and
local geography, population density, and zoning and environmental laws,”295 while reserving authority to
order remedial action where alternative measures are not reasonably sufficient to ensure reliable 911
service. For example, fuel storage, zoning and noise ordinances may limit the placement of generators,
thereby justifying a conclusion that strict adherence to the backup power standards set forth in our
certification requirement is not feasible.296

289 See Fairfax County Comments at 6.
290 See Edison Electric Institute Comments at 7-8.
291 See Frontier Comments at 12 (“Frontier has already spent considerable expense to develop its backup power plan
and additional mandates for backup power may also prove to be cost prohibitive without further support.”).
292 See Virginia State Corporation Commission Comments at 7 (The Virginia State Corporation Commission has
suggested that a monolithic, prescriptive set of regulations will not “be sufficiently detailed to address all the
necessary operational parameters and situations.”); Pennsylvania PUC Comments at 15 (“The Pa. PUC strongly
supports allowances for waivers for good cause shown, particularly given the FCC's recognition of the differences
between central offices in a large metropolitan area compared to a smaller rural area.”); California PUC Comments
at 10; CenturyLink Reply Comments at 4-5.
293 Frontier Comments at 11 n.20, 13 (“Fourteen of Frontier’s 27 states of operation have some sort of regulation or
requirement with respect to backup power.”).
294 See Western Telecommunications Alliance Comments at 9.
295 See California PUC Comments at 10, 12
296 See NTCA Comments at 7; Western Telecommunications Alliance Comments at 9 (“The appropriate size and
capacity of such batteries and generators, as well as the suitable frequency of their testing, depends much upon the
location and likely weather conditions affecting an area. For example, a mountain community likely to be snowed
in for weeks during certain winters will need different backup power capacities and testing arrangements than a
community on the Great Plains that is subject to a spring tornado every decade or so.”).

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114.
Some commenters urge us to “look more broadly to all sites and critical nodes, and to be
mindful of the need for adequate backup power at each network location.”297 However, because this
proceeding focuses on the critical infrastructure serving PSAPs that the Derecho Report identified as a
source of failure, rather than on call origination and other network nodes, we limit backup-power
requirements to those central offices that could create choke points between Covered 911 Service
Provider networks and PSAPs. Although the NPRM suggested that backup-power requirements might
apply to all central offices,298 we conclude that a targeted emphasis on central offices that directly serve
PSAPs or host selective routers is most appropriately tailored to the problem identified in this proceeding.
Because the failure of one selective router could disrupt service to an entire region and prevent re-routing
of 911 calls to other PSAPs, we consider the central offices that host selective routers to be among the
most important facilities in the nation’s 911 infrastructure, and especially critical to public safety.299 By
focusing our certification requirements on the central offices associated with reliable 911 service and
prioritizing the most critical of those facilities, we seek to limit burdens on service providers and promote
investment in backup power where it is most needed for public safety.
115.
A number of commenters expressed opinions about the standards that should underlie
backup power certification. For facilities such as central offices that host a selective router, NENA
asserts that “a minimum of 72 hours and a normal range of 120 hours of backup power would be
considered prudent.”300 The Pennsylvania PUC recommends that we “require backup power in any
[central office] sufficient for 72 hours.”301 Mission Critical Partners recommends that the “Commission
require, by rulemaking, the 911 service entities self-certify that critical facilities are compliance with
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 110 standards at a minimum.”302 Fairfax County
recommends that we base our certification standard on a formula, to be developed in the future, that
would calculate the likelihood that a particular central office’s backup power implementation would fail
to perform during a loss of commercial power.303 While this approach has the advantage of being directly

297 Edison Electric Institute Comments at 7. See also NATOA Comments at 6 (noting that “remote terminal access
is also important during emergencies”); Pennsylvania PUC Comments at 18-24 (discussing battery backup for
customer premises equipment (CPE) used to provide VoIP services).
298 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3437 ¶ 52.
299 Moreover, the number of central offices with selective routers is only a small fraction of the total nationwide.
AT&T, the only service provider that supplied such information, comments that it operates 172 offices that contain
selective routers, AT&T Comments at 16 (noting that AT&T “has 172 offices that contain 9-1-1 Tandem Selective
Routers”), and provides 911 service to approximately 3,200 PSAPs. Id. at 2. If this proportion is consistent among
all Covered 911 Service Providers – and the record contains no reason to believe it is not – we estimate that there are
about 376 central offices that host selective routers nationwide. (172 selective routers/3,200 AT&T PSAPs =
0.05375 selective routers per PSAP. FCC records indicate that there are at most 7,000 PSAPs nationwide, in which
case 376 selective routers would be required to serve all PSAPs (0.05375*7,000 = 376.25).) This suggests that each
selective router serves, on average, nineteen PSAPs, (3,200 PSAPs/172 selective routers = 18.6 PSAPs per selective
router), and underscores just how critical each central office with a selective router is to the nation’s 911 network.
300 Id.
301 Pennsylvania PUC Comments at 14.
302 See Mission Critical Partners Comments at 10 (emphasis in original). NFPA 110 standards, however, are
primarily intended for application by manufacturers of communications equipment, not owners and operators of
communications networks. See National Fire Protection Association, NFPA 110: Standard for Emergency and
Standby Power Systems, available at http://www.nfpa.org/codes-and-standards/document-information-
pages?mode=code&code=110&DocNum=110 (“This Standard covers installation, maintenance, operation, and
testing requirements as they pertain to the performance of the emergency power supply system, including power
sources, transfer equipment, controls, supervisory equipment, and all related electrical and mechanical auxiliary and
accessory equipment.”).
303 See Fairfax County Comments at 6.

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applicable to a particular site, it could lead to a burdensome and complicated compliance process for
Covered 911 Service Providers.
116.
We agree with commenters who note that central offices serve a variety of functions in
the 911 network and should maintain the highest levels of backup power where a failure would be most
likely to affect public safety. We therefore adopt a dual standard with 72-hour backup required at central
offices hosting selective routers and 24-hour backup at all other central offices that directly serve PSAPs.
These numbers are consistent with the recommendations of public safety commenters,304 and many
Covered 911 Service Providers indicate they are currently maintaining similar levels of backup power in
the normal course of business.305 As Pennsylvania PUC recommends, we allow flexibility to satisfy that
standard using a variety of means;306 thus, Covered 911 Service Providers may employ fixed generators,
portable generators, batteries, or a combination of other such sources to meet the applicable level of
backup power. However, to the extent that the provider is relying on portable sources, we will require
that such sources be readily available within the time it takes the batteries to drain, notwithstanding
potential loss of commercial power and demand for generators elsewhere in a Covered 911 Service
Provider’s network.
117.
Testing Standards. The Pennsylvania PUC calls for full-load testing pursuant to the
CSRIC best practice that is the basis for the standard.307 NATOA recommends that generators should be
tested under electrical load for approximately 20 minutes.308 While these recommendations might be
appropriate for certain sites, we find that they are too narrow for general application. The record reflects
that industry’s practice and public safety’s preference in this area are reasonably well aligned. Hence, we
require Covered 911 Service Providers, consistent with CSRIC best practice,309 to certify that they test
their backup power equipment according to the relevant manufacturers’ specifications. This approach
accounts for differences in equipment and facilities while ensuring that backup power assets are properly
maintained. Pennsylvania PUC, similar to NATOA and City of New York,310 calls for the site load
approach to testing backup equipment in which the central office is switched off commercial power and
left to run on backup power alone.311 Although this method of testing may well be preferable in some
situations, we decline to adopt this standard in our certification approach as other approaches can be used
at lower risk.
118.
NATOA and Pennsylvania PUC also recommend that tandem generators be
electronically separated to ensure that failure of one generator does not cause the other to fail.312 We

304 See NENA Comments at 12; Pennsylvania PUC Comments at 14.
305 See Verizon Comments at 3.
306 See Pennsylvania PUC Comments at 14 (“The 911 Service Providers should be responsible for determining what
sole or mixed reliance on uninterruptible power supply, batteries, and backup generators are the most effective
means for powering any given central office, network facility or equipment so long as its meets a predetermined
minimum time period.”).
307 See Pennsylvania PUC Comments at 16.
308 See NATOA Comments at 5.
309 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.”).
310 See City of New York Reply Comments at 2 (recommending “annual full load testing of central office backup
power battery systems” and “quarterly full load testing of central office backup power generator systems”).
311 See Pennsylvania PUC Comments at 15
312 See NATOA Comments at 5. Pennsylvania PUC Comments at 15.

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agree and note that this is a CSRIC best practice313 and that interdependent tandem generators were a
primary cause of the failure of Verizon’s central office backup power during the June 2012 derecho.314
Accordingly, we will require the certification to confirm whether the 911 provider employs stand-alone
backup power sources. As with circuit diversity, however, we will afford 911 providers an opportunity to
demonstrate that alternative measures upon which they rely (e.g., load shedding315) are reasonably
sufficient to mitigate the risk of failure. Some commenters note that there are a variety of solutions
available to shed electrical loads, and that some are more costly than others.316 As with other aspects of
the backup power certification, we do not specify a mandatory method of load shedding so long as a
Covered 911 Service Provider demonstrates that its approach satisfies the foregoing standard of
reliability.
119.
Cost Effectiveness. In arriving at the cost estimates in our NPRM, we estimated costs for
having fixed generators, or portable generators, available in all central offices; the costs for testing
batteries; the costs for generator testing; the costs for repairing generators after failing tests; and the costs
for rectifying tandem generator configurations where the failure of one generator results in the complete
loss of backup power. In our NPRM we estimated that the incremental cost incurred to perform backup
power certifications, including remediation, ranges from $11.7 million to $37.5 million depending on
whether we require fixed generators at all central offices.317 We include no such requirement in today’s
Report and Order, meaning that there would be no incremental costs for central offices appropriately
provisioned with portable generators. As a result, we estimate the cost to conform to our backup power
standards is much closer to $11.7 million than $37.5 million.318
120.
The approach we adopt here will also significantly reduce the cost of compliance by
covering only central offices directly serving PSAPs or hosting selective routers or ALI databases,319 and
allowing alternative measures where the specified level of backup power is not feasible. Limiting these
requirements to central offices that directly serve PSAPs reduces our estimate of cost by 72 percent, from
$11.7 million to about $3.3 million.320
121.
Furthermore, industry comments suggest that Covered 911 Service Providers have
already undertaken most of these measures. As commenters attest,321 it is more likely that only a small
fraction of central offices serving PSAPs do not adhere to the backup power standards we adopt today,
and the incremental cost to adopt these standards at the remaining sites is the more reasonable figure to

313 See CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-5281.
314 See Derecho Report at 16-17; Fairfax County Comments at 6; Virginia State Corporation Commission
Comments at 7.
315 “Load shedding” refers to the process of diminishing the electrical load carried by an electrical power source, for
example a battery or a generator.
316 See CenturyLink Reply at 10-11 (discussing cost difference between manual and automated load-shedding
systems and stating that a requirement for automated load shedding could be “significantly more costly” than
estimated in the NPRM).
317 See 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3438-39 ¶ 57.
318 As noted below, we believe the actual cost will be significantly less than even the lower estimate in the NPRM.
See infra, ¶ 130.
319 We estimate that there are approximately 25,000 central offices in the United States and that approximately 7,000
of those central offices serve PSAPs; thus, limiting backup power requirements to only those offices directly serving
PSAPs could focus service providers’ efforts and costs on about 28 percent (7,000/25,000 = 0.28) of all central
offices.
320 100% - 28% = 72%. $11.7 million * 72% = $3.276 million.
321 See Alaska Communications Systems Comments at 10–11; NTCA Comments at 7; Frontier Comments at 11;
Verizon Comments at 3-4; AT&T Comments at 16-17; CenturyLink Reply Comments at 8.

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use in an assessment of the burden imposed by these rules. For example, virtually all 911 service
providers that submitted comments claimed that they either have fixed generators deployed in a vast
majority of central offices or have timely access to portable generators in the event of battery exhaustion
during a commercial power outage.322 Hence, the incremental cost to have portable generators available
within a reasonable time in all central offices where our certification standard requires them to be
available should be negligible. Even if we assume that 25 percent of all central offices that directly serve
a PSAP lack a fixed generator and that 1 percent323 of those central offices do not have access to a
portable generator, we calculate the incremental cost of our rule to be about $525,000 if the cost of a
portable generator is $30,000.324
122.
Generators (including Portable Generators) for Central Offices Serving PSAPs: Verizon
contends that the cost estimate for backup generators in the NPRM is “off by a factor of ten” and that “[a]
generator that can produce sufficient power for an average Verizon [central office] costs around $1
million if purchased or around $50,000 per month if leased.”325 These estimates, however, represent the
cost of a large, fixed generator. We note that, while our NPRM includes an estimate of fixed generator
costs, the cost-benefit analysis in the NPRM also assumed that portable generators could be used, which
lowers costs.326 In that NPRM, we assumed that the cost of a portable generator was $30,000.327 Verizon
additionally states that an 800 kilowatt portable generator costs about $300,000.328 But, according to
Verizon, these are costs to provide generators for an “average Verizon CO” and, by Verizon’s own
admission, it has generators deployed in “almost all”329 of its central offices already. If any central offices
that serve PSAPs lack fixed generators, they are likely to be smaller facilities that serve fewer lines and
require less power than an “average” central office. Thus, we disagree that cost estimates like Verizon’s
– which reflect the total cost of equipment that is already likely to be installed in key facilities – suggest
that the incremental cost estimates in the NPRM were not reasonably accurate.
123.
Similarly AT&T argues that the cost estimate in the NPRM “fails to account for the full
panoply of costs involved in purchasing, installing, and maintaining permanent generators and fuel
tanks,” and “fail[s] to account for the engineering and labor costs to install these items (including possible
retrofitting of COs to accommodate the equipment).”330 While we agree that the costs estimated in the
NPRM for a large, fixed generator are less than what some commenters have suggested, these costs are
inapplicable because we are not requiring fixed generators. AT&T also attests that 88 percent of its
central offices have both batteries and fixed generators deployed and that it has the “ability to effectively

322 See Verizon Comments at 3-4; Frontier Comments at 11; AT&T Comments at 16.
323 In the NPRM, we assumed that 5 percent of the central offices do not have access to a portable generator within
the time it takes for the batteries to drain. See 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3437 ¶ 52. Based on
comments indicating that virtually all 911 service providers have portable generators available where fixed
generators are not installed, we believe that estimate is too high, and that 1 percent is more accurate.
324 7,000 central offices serving PSAPs * 25 percent lacking fixed generators * 1 percent lacking portable generators
* $30,000 per portable generator = $525,000.
325 Verizon Comments at 12.
326 See 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3437 ¶ 52.
327 Id.
328 Verizon Comments at 12.
329 See Verizon Comments at 3 (“Almost all of Verizon’s [central offices] are engineered to have on-site, fixed
generators with 72-hour fuel reserves as well as battery reserves.”).
330 See AT&T Comments at 18.

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deploy portable generators in an emergency.”331 Hence, we conclude that the incremental cost to AT&T
to comply with our central office backup power certification standard would be modest.
124.
We further note that other commenters agree with cost estimates provided in the NPRM.
CenturyLink, for example, believes the NPRM’s cost estimate ranges for generator installation are
reasonable.332 NATOA also argues that the Commission’s “cost estimate for installing generators at the
COs that do not currently have them is reasonable.”333 These comments underscore our conclusion that,
particularly given our focus only on the roughly 28 percent of central offices serving PSAPs and the
widespread deployment of generator capacity today, as well as the ability of service providers to employ
portable generators in accordance with CSRIC best practices, the rules we adopt today are unlikely to
result in anything approaching the costs alleged by some service providers.
125.
Based on these observations, we conservatively conclude that at most 1 percent of the
central offices without fixed generators serving PSAPs do not have portable generators available in the
case of an emergency. As stated above, using this assumption and a cost of $30,000 for a portable
generator as we did in the NPRM, the estimated incremental cost for having portable generators available
at all central offices serving PSAPs that lack access to such generators today would be $525,000. 334 Even
if the cost of each portable generator is a more conservative $50,000, the total cost would not exceed
$875,000.335
126.
Battery Testing: Most service providers claim to test all batteries on a routine basis.336
The cost benefit analysis we included in our NPRM assumed that 5 percent were not tested regularly;
hence our estimate of testing costs was more conservative in this regard. Regarding testing costs, AT&T
comments that “testing costs vary widely based on the size and number of engines and batteries in an
office, factors which vary based on the office’s size.”337 NATOA argues that our cost analysis is accurate
and asserts that regular battery testing is part of a “reasonable baseline of operations and should not be
counted as an additional cost.”338 No commenter provided specific battery testing costs that disputed the
battery testing costs in our NPRM and endorsed by NATOA. The battery testing costs estimated in our
NPRM applied to just the central offices serving PSAPs are $448,000.
127.
Generator Testing: Most commenters also state that they routinely test all generators.339
CenturyLink is the only company which provides cost figures for generator testing. CenturyLink argues
that generator testing alone would result in annual costs to industry of $11.8 million, including the cost of
repairs.340 While we agree that Covered 911 Service Providers should make repairs where necessary, we

331 See id. at 8.
332 See CenturyLink Reply Comments at 9.
333 See NATOA Comments at 4-5.
334 7,000 central offices serving PSAPs * 25 percent lacking fixed generators * 1 percent lacking portable generators
* $30,000 per portable generator = $525,000.
335 7,000 central offices serving PSAPs * 25 percent lacking fixed generators * 1 percent lacking portable generators
* $50,000 per portable generator = $875,000. As noted above, in the NPRM we assumed that 5 percent of the
central offices without fixed generators do not have access to a portable generator in the case of an emergency. If
we apply the 5-percent figure, the estimated cost would be $2,625,000, which we believe seriously overestimates the
cost based on the information that we have received about the existing availability of portable generators.
336 See Verizon Comments at 3,4; AT&T Comments at 17.
337 See AT&T Comments at 19.
338 NATOA Comments at 5.
339 See Verizon Comments at 3,4; AT&T Comments at 17.
340 See CenturyLink Reply Comments at 10.

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do not agree that such costs should be included in routine testing costs. Furthermore, CenturyLink asserts
that 10 percent of the central offices do not have generator tests performed. Based on that assumption,
CenturyLink calculated that 1,838 central offices would incur costs due to additional generator testing.
Because most commenters indicated that they do generator testing wherever they are deployed, we
conclude that our original estimate of 5 percent is very conservative for an industry-wide estimate,
notwithstanding CenturyLink’s experience. Since we only apply our rules to offices that serve PSAPs,
this reduces the number of central offices by 72 percent. The number of central offices that would incur
costs due to additional generator testing is actually 263, not the 1,838 suggested by CenturyLink.341
CenturyLink estimated that it takes thirty-five hours to run the yearly tests for a generator.342 If we
assume that CenturyLink is correct about the time it takes to run generator tests, the generator testing
costs for 263 offices would be $735,000 for all of the central offices serving PSAPs for which no
generator testing was currently done. In addition, CenturyLink pointed out that there are additional fuel
costs for running generator tests which we did not include. CenturyLink assumed that tests were run for
sixteen hours requiring five gallons of fuel per hour and costing $4 per gallon.343 If we assume that there
are 263 central offices for which these calculations apply we obtain a fuel cost of $84,000. This brings
the generator testing cost to $819,000.344 This is below the $1,176,000 impact nationwide that we
estimated in our NPRM.345
128.
Generator Repaired Soon After It Fails a Test: In our NPRM we included some costs
due to commencing the repair of a generator quickly after it failed. There were no comments on the costs,
but we believe this estimate to be reasonable based on past experience. If we restrict the backup power
rules to central offices serving PSAPs, these costs would be $16,900.
129.
Eliminating Tandem Arrangements: In our NPRM, we targeted generator arrangements
where the failure of one generator in a pair of generators would result in a central office losing all backup
power. CenturyLink estimated the cost of setting up an automated load shedding arrangement in such
locations.346 But we are not requiring automated load shedding arrangements, and as a result, we do not
believe our costs need to be changed. Because we restrict the backup power rules to central offices
serving PSAPs, these costs would be only $71,400.
130.
Revised Total Back-up Power Costs: Combining the costs in the preceding paragraphs,
we conclude that the total cost of implementing our certification requirements for backup power in central
offices serving PSAPs would be in the range of $1.9 million,347 which is considerably less than the
$11,700,000 we estimated in the NPRM. Hence, we find the certification method we adopt today to be
cost effective.

341 7,000 (central offices serving PSAPs) *.75 (estimated proportion of offices with generators)*.05 (offices where
testing is not performed) = 263.
342 See CenturyLink Reply Comments at 10.
343 See id.
344 In our NPRM we assumed that it took sixteen hours a year to test each generator. Our cost using this figure for
testing generators in 263 offices would be $336,000. In addition, we estimated no fuel costs. By adopting
CenturyLink’s figures, this raises the cost to $819,000.
345 See 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3437-38 ¶ 54 (estimating a maximum of $882,000 for monthly
generator testing and $294,000 for annual testing, for a total of $1,176,000).
346 See CenturyLink Reply Comments at 10.
347 $525,000 for portable generators + $819,000 for generator testing + $448,000 for battery testing + $16,900 for
expedited generator repairs + $71,400 to remediate interdependent generators = $1,880,300.

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3.

Network Monitoring

131.
In light of the importance of accurate situational awareness during any network outage,
the findings of the Derecho Report, and the comments in the record, we also require Covered 911 Service
Providers to certify annually whether they have, within the past year: (1) audited the physical diversity of
the aggregation points that they use to gather network monitoring data in each 911 service area348 and the
network monitoring links between such aggregation points and their NOC(s); and (2) implemented
physically diverse aggregation points for network monitoring data in each 911 service area and physically
diverse links from such aggregation points to at least one NOC or, in light of the required audits, taken
specific alternative measures reasonably sufficient to mitigate the risk of insufficient physical diversity.
They may also certify that they believe this element of the certification is not applicable to their network,
although they must explain why it is not applicable. Covered 911 Service Providers also must retain
records of their network monitoring routes and capabilities for confidential review by the Commission,
upon request, for two years.
132.
For purposes of the certification, network monitoring links transmit data about failed or
degraded network equipment and facilities from monitoring points within the network to a NOC or other
location where the data are analyzed and decisions made about corrective action. Links from multiple
individual monitoring points may be routed through and aggregated onto common transport facilities at
one or more hubs in each service area for distribution to remote NOCs, in which case those hubs are
described as aggregation points for network monitoring data. “Physical diversity” applied to aggregation
points refers to aggregation points that are not physically co-located.
133.
During the derecho, the network monitoring capabilities of the two primary 911 service
providers involved were non-operative within the area of the storm, depriving them of visibility into the
status of their networks and complicating their recovery efforts. In both instances, a widespread loss of
network monitoring capabilities could be attributed to a single point of failure, such as one central office
collecting telemetry data for dozens of facilities in northern Virginia.349 Large carriers that serve multiple
states or regions typically use one or more central offices as hubs to gather telemetry data from multiple
end points in each service area (e.g., smaller offices, selective routers, remote switches, etc.) and transmit
that aggregated information to a NOC for remote monitoring and analysis. Diversity of regional
aggregation points for the collection of monitoring data, including the diversity of the facilities that
connect those aggregation points to NOCs, is vital to communications reliability because service
providers cannot diagnose and repair problems if they are unaware that they exist.
134.
Two CSRIC best practices address circuit diversity and network monitoring in general
terms. One of these best practices calls for network diversity audits on critical circuits, 350 and another
states that network operators “should monitor their network to enable quick response to network
issues.”351 At a minimum, the failures documented in the Derecho Report confirm that it is a sound
engineering practice to design network monitoring architectures with visibility into the network through
physically diverse aggregation points and monitoring links interconnecting to NOCs to help avoid single
points of failure. Accordingly, we adopt certification requirements that refine these CSRIC best practices,

348 Service providers typically collect network monitoring data through geographically distributed aggregation
points, which may correspond to major metropolitan areas but may also vary in size and location by service
provider. We intend the certification obligation in this section to ensure that large service providers have diverse
access to monitoring data in each of the major service areas in which they are the major provider of 911 service, i.e.,
operate the selective routers or equivalent, but not necessarily to every end point in their networks.
349 See 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3439 ¶ 59.
350 See CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-0532, available at
https://www.fcc.gov/nors/outage/bestpractice/DetailedBestPractice.cfm?number=8-7-0532.
351 CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-0401, available at
https://www.fcc.gov/nors/outage/bestpractice/DetailedBestPractice.cfm?number=8-7-0401.

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and provide additional guidance to Covered 911 Service Providers regarding reasonable alternative
measures with respect to network monitoring.
135.
Commenters generally agree that network monitoring is vital to the reliability of 911
services, although RLECs and other small entities assert that NOCs and regional aggregation points are
“predominately [a] large carrier concept,” and that diverse access may not be feasible when there is only
one practical route between remote facilities.352 Other commenters, however, observe that alternate
transmission technologies, like satellite, can be used to achieve physical diversity between aggregation
points and NOCs when wired paths are unavailable.353 EchoStar, for example, notes that emergency
authorities have used broadband satellite links to provide backup communications when their terrestrial
networks fail.354 We note that methods like this, where reliable, would qualify as reasonable alternative
measures to help ensure 911 reliability where diverse aggregation points or NOC interconnection
facilities are not feasible.
136.
Despite the claims of many commenters that they have already taken steps to ensure the
resiliency of network monitoring systems, the vital importance of accurate situational awareness during
disasters and other emergencies causes us to conclude that Commission oversight is needed to ensure
these improvements occur consistently nationwide. AT&T, for one, describes a program to route network
monitoring traffic on a more resilient IP-enabled network and eliminating, over time, single points of
failure in its monitoring network.355 Frontier has “updated its corporate network diversity, providing
protection to the management network that the Network Operations Center (NOC) uses to access
equipment in central offices. This process is ongoing.”356 Verizon is “rebuilding its telemetry system to
provide more diverse connections and alternate [backup] locations, in the event of a problem at a location
where telemetry information is aggregated.”357 Verizon also is migrating telemetry traffic across its
network to a more robust IP-based network and implementing a procedure to prevent circuit
rearrangements that can remove circuits from a diverse configuration.358 We note that all of these
measures are entirely consistent with the certification standards we adopt today.
137.
Corrective Measures. Recognizing that circumstances are likely to exist in real-world
networks that prevent the achievement of complete physical diversity and diverse aggregation points for
network monitoring data, we agree with ATIS that service providers should “retain the flexibility to
implement diversity and the migration of telemetry to the IP network as appropriate for their network
evolution, management, and monitoring.”359 Our certification approach provides Covered 911 Service
Providers with the flexibility to compensate for an inability to conform to our certification standard by
employing appropriate alternative measures to promote reliable and resilient network monitoring where
diverse aggregation points or monitoring links may not be feasible.
138.
Cost Effectiveness. No respondents claim that our proposal is not cost effective. On the
contrary, both AT&T and Verizon claim that our requirement of diversity in network monitoring facilities

352 See Western Telecommunications Alliance Comments at 10 (stating that “for most WTA members and other
RLECs their ‘NOC’ is their central office technician and his various wireline and wireless phones”); NTCA
Comments at 6.
353 See EchoStar/Hughes Ex Parte Notice at 2 (July 2, 2013) (“[A]s the Commission considers path diversity, it
should recognize satellite as a valued, reliable option for route diversity.”).
354 Id.
355 See AT&T Comments at 20-21.
356 See Frontier Comments at 3.
357 See Verizon Comments at 6.
358 See id.
359 See ATIS Comments at 11.

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is unnecessary because they already satisfy the requirement360 or are in the process of implementing it.361
As mentioned previously, while many of the measures described in our certification may now be in place,
the seriousness of the lapses revealed by the derecho calls upon us to exercise further oversight to ensure
that these standards continue to be met. In our NPRM, we assumed that 75 percent of the major
metropolitan areas lacked diverse monitoring links.362 Based on the preceding information from AT&T
and Verizon, this 75-percent figure is probably too high. If we reduce this to a more realistic 25 percent,
we calculate the costs to be $732,000,363 as opposed to $2,196,000 that we assumed in our NPRM.364 In
the absence of more detailed cost estimates from commenters, we find that the certification approach we
adopt today is cost effective because it uses standards that are already widely in use by communications
providers and includes flexibility to allow communications providers to address circumstances where the
standards cannot be feasibly implemented.

E.

PSAP Outage Notification

139.
To ensure that PSAPs receive timely and actionable notification of 911 outages, we
amend section 4.9365 of our rules. The Commission’s existing outage-reporting rules recognized that
PSAPs must be notified when communications outages affect 911 service, but they only required
notification “as soon as possible” with “all available information that may be useful.”366 The derecho
revealed that many PSAPs’ efforts to restore service were complicated by inadequate information and
otherwise ineffective communication by service providers.367 Multiple PSAPs stated that they contacted
their 911 service provider to report a loss of service before being contacted by the provider, and others
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. Inadequate information from service providers during the
derecho also led some PSAPs to activate ineffective reroutes, or to keep a reroute active even though
service had been restored on the original route.
140.
Under the amended rule, Covered 911 Service Providers must notify PSAPs of outages
potentially affecting 911 service to that PSAP within thirty minutes of discovering the outage and provide
contact information such as a name, telephone number, and e-mail for follow-up. As Fairfax County
observes, this initial notification should be based on the “best available information,” but the
unavailability of any piece of information should not delay a service provider’s initial contact with an
affected PSAP.368 Unlike for purposes of outage reporting in NORS, service providers must notify
PSAPs of 911 outages upon discovering the outage, not upon determining that the outage is NORS-
reportable.369
141.
Whenever additional material information becomes available, but no later than two hours
after the initial contact, the Covered 911 Service Provider must communicate additional detail to the
PSAP, including the nature of the outage, its best-known cause, the geographic scope of the outage, and

360 See AT&T Comments at 19-21.
361 See Verizon Comments at 6.
362 See 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3441 ¶ 66.
363 366 metropolitan areas in United States * 25 percent lacking diverse monitoring links * 100 hours to add each
diverse access point * $80 per hour = $732,000.
364 See 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3441 ¶ 66.
365 47 C.F.R. § 4.9.
366 See id.
367 See 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3441-43 ¶¶ 67-69.
368 See Fairfax County Comments at 10.
369 See NENA Ex Parte Notice (May 25, 2013).

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the estimated time for repairs.370 Although the 911 Reliability NPRM proposed requiring additional
details such as the estimated number of users affected, actions being taken by the service provider to
address the outage, and recommended actions the impacted facility should take to minimize disruption of
service,371 commenters disagree whether this information is reasonably available to service providers or
useful to PSAPs during a service outage.372 Accordingly, while we decline to specifically require this
information in all outage notifications, we encourage service providers to include these and other details
that may be useful to affected PSAPs as they become available.
142.
The 911 Reliability NPRM proposed requiring service providers to notify PSAPs of 911
outages “immediately by telephone and in writing via electronic means.”373 The rules we adopt today
provide a more objective basis for enforcement. APCO, for example, notes that “the term ‘immediately’
could be open to disputed interpretation” and suggests that notification should be provided “immediately,
within no more than 15 minutes of the service provider becoming aware of the outage.”374 Other public-
safety commenters recommend initial notification “within 15 to 30 minutes (maximum) of the discovery
of an outage,”375 or “within one hour of discovery.”376 We believe the thirty-minute limit adopted here
strikes an appropriate balance between these comments and service providers’ need for time to gather
information.
143.
Generally, commenters note that there will likely be a tradeoff between the time allowed
for notification and the amount and accuracy of information available.377 Fairfax County observes that a
requirement to communicate specific information such as the nature and location of the outage should not
prevent service providers from notifying PSAPs immediately with a “broad-brush picture of the situation”
and following up with additional information as it becomes available.378 We agree with this approach and
believe it accounts for the concerns of PSAPs and service providers.
144.
Commenters also addressed acceptable methods of outage notification. Some suggest
that notification “by telephone and in writing” should not preclude PSAPs and service providers from
agreeing on alternative methods of communication if they prefer.379 APCO comments that “the method of
notification should include electronic communication and positive, verified human contact with an on-

370 See NENA Comments at 13 (“In particular, NENA believes that information about the geographic scope of an
outage, its best-known cause, and an estimate of time to repair (or, if none is available, a notation as to when it can
be expected) will greatly aid public safety agencies in crafting public messaging and tactical response plans during
outages.”).
371 See 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3443 ¶ 70.
372 See CenturyLink Reply Comments at 14 (arguing that service providers should not be required to recommend
actions the impacted facility should take to minimize disruption of services because such decisions should be left to
PSAPs); AT&T Comments at 23 (arguing that a requirement to notify PSAPs immediately could result in
dissemination of “incomplete and inaccurate information”); Verizon Comments at 20 (arguing that specific
information about outages should be required only “to the extent it is reasonably available to the provider”).
373 See 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3443 ¶ 70.
374 APCO Comments at 3.
375 NENA Ex Parte Notice at 1 (May 25, 2013).
376 City of New York Reply Comments at 2.
377 See Verizon Comments at 21 (recommending that specific information be required only “to the extent it is
reasonably available to the provider”).
378 See Fairfax County Comments at 8-9.
379 See Verizon Comments at 22 (discussing option of conference call to multiple PSAPs affected by an outage);
AT&T Comments at 22 (arguing that “new rules may degrade the quality of completeness of information already
provided to PSAPs as a result of individualized discussions”).

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duty PSAP supervisor.”380 Similarly, “NENA believes that both telephone and email notification of
outages should be required offerings, but also believes that carriers, SSPs, and 911 authorities should
have the flexibility to agree to other primary means of notification that might better meet 911 authorities’
requirements.”381 We agree and note that our amendments do not preclude service providers and PSAPs
from establishing additional means of communication during an outage so long as they are mutually
agreed upon in advance so that PSAPs can plan accordingly.
145.
One commenter argues that some PSAPs may not want to receive outage notifications,
and the Commission should provide an “opt-out mechanism” for those PSAPs.382 This appears to be
based on the argument that “a PSAP may not have an administrative presence on a full-time (24/7) basis”
and that “911 service providers should also have flexibility in determining specific information that is
desired or needed by the individual PSAPs.”383 We decline to adopt any such language. Our goal is to
ensure that PSAPs receive timely and actionable notification of 911 outages by establishing minimum
criteria by which 911 service providers must abide. The overwhelming majority of comments indicate
that PSAPs desire to receive as much information as possible about such outages, without the need for an
opt-out mechanism.384
146.
Some commenters argue that more stringent PSAP notification requirements would
increase costs to service providers and divert resources away from more productive efforts to restore
services.385 We disagree, and stress that we do not seek to replace the existing scheme with a new, more
onerous one, but rather to clarify the timing and notification content with which certain service providers
subject to section 4.9 must already comply. Experience from the derecho indicated that some service
providers were not complying with the most basic portion of the rules, i.e., the obligation to actually
contact the PSAP. We trust that our action today will provide more guidance on expectations for
providers, and increased compliance with the outage notification rules. Our goal is certainly not to
substantially increase the burden on service providers; nor is it to divert them from performing what is
ultimately the most important task – restoring emergency communications services.
147.
These amendments to section 4.9 will extend to all Covered 911 Service Providers, as
defined in this Report and Order,386 regardless of the technology they employ. One commenter urges us
to amend the outage-notification rules covering a broader range of communications providers, including
those that originate 911 calls.387 In light of the limited focus of this proceeding, however, we conclude
that the specific obligations of the amended rules should apply only to Covered 911 Service Providers,
which are the entities most likely to experience reportable outages affecting 911 service. We defer for

380 APCO Comments at 4.
381 NENA Comments at 13.
382 ATIS Comments at 12.
383 Id.
384 See Fairfax County Comments at 8 (“Communication to the PSAPs is paramount, as the public and elected
officials turn to the PSAPs for immediate information on how best to respond to an emergency.”).
385 See, e.g., Blooston Rural Carriers Comments at 6 (“Requiring rural carriers to spend an ever-increasing amount
of time and money on gathering data and filing reports with the Commission diverts attention from operating and
monitoring the network.”); American Cable Association Comments at 13 (“[I]t is particularly important for the
Commission to adopt reasonable standards regarding the scope of the information that is required to be reported to
the PSAPs.”).
386 See ¶ 36, supra.
387 See APCO Ex Parte Notice (June 17, 2013) (arguing that “the definition of ‘911 service provider’ for purposes of
outage notification requirements should be sufficiently broad to include any facilities or services involved in the
initiation, transport, or delivery of a 911 call,” including wireline, wireless, and interconnected VoIP providers and
transport systems associated with the delivery of call and caller information).

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future consideration whether other entities currently subject to PSAP notification requirements (i.e., cable,
satellite, wireless, wireline, and interconnected VoIP providers) should be subject to more specific
obligations based on the functions they provide in 911 networks.388

F.

Legal Authority

148.
The 911 Reliability NPRM sought comment on the potential sources of legal authority for
Commission action to promote the reliability and resiliency of communications infrastructure that is
essential for 911 service. Beyond the Commission’s general mandate to “promot[e] the safety of life and
property through the use of wire and radio communications,”389 Congress has delegated to the
Commission specific responsibilities to “designate 911 as the universal emergency telephone number for
reporting an emergency to appropriate authorities and requesting assistance.”390 Our efforts to ensure that
such reports and requests for assistance can reliably be transmitted are “necessary in the public interest to
carry out” this provision of the Communications Act.391 Further, there has been judicial recognition of
“[t]he broad public safety and 911 authority Congress has granted the FCC”392 through legislation such as
the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999, the NET 911 Improvement Act of 2008,
and the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010.393
149.
To the extent that 911 service providers provide interstate common carrier service, the
Communications Act also provides that their “practices” must be “just and reasonable,”394 and that a
common carrier must “provide itself with adequate facilities for the expeditious and efficient performance
of its service as a common carrier.”395 Because the rules we adopt today are not directed at wireless
providers, insofar as that they do not currently provide 911 service directly to PSAPs, we need not
address here the potential basis for promulgating these rules under the Commission’s Title III authority to
“[p]rescribe the nature of the service to be rendered” 396 by wireless providers, and more generally “to
manage spectrum . . . in the public interest.”397
150.
In light of these express statutory responsibilities, regulation of additional capabilities
related to reliable 911 service, both today and in an NG911 environment, would be well within
Commission’s foregoing statutory authority.398 Although few commenters question the Commission’s

388 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).
389 47 U.S.C. § 151.
390 47 U.S.C. § 251(e)(3).
391 47 U.S.C. § 201(b). See also IP-Enabled Services; E911 Requirements for IP-Enabled Service Providers, First
Report and Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
, 20 FCC Rcd 10245 ¶ 34 (2005), aff’d sub nom. Nuvio Corp.
v. FCC,
473 F.3d 302 (D.C. Cir. 2007) (VoIP 911 Order) (recognizing plenary authority under Section 251(e) to
require “network changes” needed to ensure safe, reliable, nationwide 911 system).
392 Nuvio Corp. v. FCC, 473 F.3d 302, 311 (D.C. Cir. 2007) (Kavanaugh, J., concurring).
393 See 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3444-45 ¶ 76.
394 47 U.S.C. § 201(b).
395 47 U.S.C. § 214(d).
396 47 U.S.C. § 303(b).
397 Cellco Partnership v. FCC, 700 F.3d 534, 541-42 (D.C. Cir. 2012) (citing 47 U.S.C. § 303(b)).
398 Although ensuring reliable 911 service lies clearly within the Commission’s statutory authority under specific
911 statutes as well as the foregoing specific grants of authority under Title II and Title III, our prior experience and
the record of this proceeding demonstrate for the reasons stated above that the rules we adopt for ensuring reliable
911 service are also both within our jurisdictional grant under Title I and “reasonably ancillary to the Commission’s
effective performance of [these] statutorily mandated responsibilities.” American Library Ass’n v. FCC, 406 F.3d
(continued….)

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legal authority over 911 communications,399 one suggests that the Commission lacks authority to adopt
911 reliability rules because it asserts that 911 calls are purely intrastate. Thus, the commenter argues, the
Commission “should at most adopt or endorse recommended best practices for state and/or local
authorities to adopt.”400 The Commission has rejected similar arguments in the past, however, relying on
the 911 statutes enacted by Congress as an endorsement of the Commission’s role in this area.401 Our
plenary authority over 911 numbering, for example, was enacted pursuant to the Wireless
Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999, whose express purpose is “to encourage and facilitate the
prompt deployment throughout the United States of a seamless, ubiquitous, and reliable end-to-end
infrastructure for communications, including wireless communications, to meet the Nation’s public safety
and other communications needs.”402 Commenters also describe the interstate nature of at least some
portions of 911 network architecture.403 Moreover, the state public utilities commissions filing comments
in this proceeding have uniformly endorsed our proposals,404 which do not extend to matters of state or
local jurisdiction such as tariff conditions and the internal operation of PSAPs. Indeed, as noted above,
we have specifically declined to include PSAPs within our definition of Covered 911 Service Providers or
otherwise to regulate the reliability of their own internal operations. To the extent that commenters
express concern about the appropriate line between federal and state authority with respect to 911 service,
(Continued from previous page)
689, 691-92 (D.C. Cir. 2005). See also 47 U.S.C. § 154(i); United States v. Southwestern Cable Co., 392 U.S. 157,
178 (1968); Facilitating the Deployment of Text-to-911 and Other Next Generation 911 Applications, Report and
Order
, 28 FCC Rcd 7556 ¶¶ 128-40 (2013).
399 See e.g. Verizon Reply at 7 (arguing that the Commission is looking only at the reliability and resiliency ‘of the
911 system’” and cautioning against adopting proposals that would “significantly broaden [the Commission’s]
rulemaking into providers’ backup power practices…”).
400 See Boulder Regional Emergency Telephone Authority (BRETSA) Comments at 2 (emphasis in original).
401 See VoIP 911 Order, 20 FCC Rcd at 10263 ¶¶ 29-30 n.95 (2005), aff’d sub nom. Nuvio Corp. v. FCC, 473 F.3d
302 (D.C. Cir. 2007) (“[W]hile we acknowledge that there are generally intrastate components to interconnected
VoIP service and E911 service, we reject any argument that 911/E911 services are purely intrastate and therefore the
Commission has no jurisdiction in this area. The Commission has long maintained a federal role in wireline and
wireless 911/E911 issues.”). See also Petition for Declaratory Ruling That Pulver.com’s Free World Dialup Is
Neither Telecommunications Nor a Telecommunications Service, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 19 FCC Rcd
3307 ¶ 21 (2004).
402 Pub. L. No. 106-81, 113 Stat. 1286, § 2(b) (1999) (emphasis added). Congress established our plenary
jurisdiction over 911 numbering as a subsection of Section 251(e) of the Communications Act. While this provision
of the Act grants the Commission the authority to “delegat[e] to State commissions or other entities all or any
portion of such jurisdiction,” 47 U.S.C. § 251(e)(1), the Commission has retained “authority to set policy with
respect to all facets of numbering administration in the United States.” Numbering Policies for Modern
Communications, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Order and Notice of Inquiry, 28 FCC Rcd 5842 ¶ 84 (2013);
VoIP 911 Order, 20 FCC Rcd at 10265 n.110. The Commission has found that “Section 2(b) [of the Act] . . .
imposes no limitation upon the Commission’s exclusive authority under section 251(e) to perform ongoing
numbering administration functions.” Implementation of the Local Competition Provisions of the
Telecommunications Act of 1996, Third Order on Reconsideration of Second Report and Order and Memorandum
Opinion and Order,
14 FCC Rcd 17964 ¶ 36 (1999), aff’d sub nom. New York and Public Service Comm’n of New
York v. FCC,
267 F.3d 91, 102 (2d Cir. 2001).
403 See NENA Reply Comments at 2 n.5 (“Many database links, for example, now connect with widely dispersed
data centers in Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Washington, etc., regardless of where a 9-1-1 call originates or
terminates.”); Pennsylvania PUC Comments at 10 n.8 (citing 911 network functionalities, including delivery of ALI,
across state boundaries); ¶¶ 7-9 supra.
404See California PUC Comments at 4, 8 (urging FCC to adopt certification scheme and backup power
requirements); Pennsylvania PUC Comments at 4 (urging imposition of best practices as federal regulatory
minimums); Virginia State Corporation Commission Comments at 9 (“We encourage and support the FCC’s efforts
in this proceeding to ensure the reliability of 911 to all citizens in Virginia and the nation”).

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we emphasize that the Commission’s actions here will be undertaken, consistent with past practice, in
partnership with such authorities and in light of their unique interest in the delivery of reliable 911
service. The rules we adopt today are not intended to preempt state and local actions so long as they do
not operate to frustrate the implementation of the Commission rules adopted here. We do not believe it is
appropriate or feasible, however, to make any specific determinations about preemption, including
whether supplemental state or local requirements are consistent with the balancing of costs and benefits
reflected in our new rules, without an actual – not hypothetical – case of state or local action in this area.
The question of whether such action would frustrate the implementation of the Commission’s federal
regulatory framework would turn on the individual circumstances of each case. We do observe, however,
that the rules adopted here may obviate the need for state and local jurisdictions to promulgate their own
requirements, thereby reducing the prospect of disparate regulatory schemes and simplifying the
regulatory burdens on service providers.405

G.

Confidentiality

151.
We have long recognized that certain information about communications networks may
be competitively sensitive or reveal vulnerabilities to individuals or organizations with hostile intent, and
should therefore generally be treated as confidential.406 We also have observed, however, that “not all
information needs to be protected” and that allegations of competitive harm “must flow from affirmative
use of the information by competitors and not consist solely of injuries that flow from customer
disgruntlement or public embarrassment.”407
152.
The 911 Reliability NPRM sought comment on whether reliability information submitted
by 911 service providers should be made publicly available or presumed confidential.408 The NPRM also
inquired whether such information “should be shared within the PSAP community, or made accessible to
911 industry associations (e.g., APCO, NENA),” as was the case with previous reports on redundancy
and resiliency of 911 networks under section 12.3 of our rules.409 Additionally, the NPRM asked whether
reliability information should be shared with state public utilities commissions.410
153.
Most commenters agree that proprietary 911 network information is potentially sensitive
and should not be disclosed to the general public, although they disagree about the scope of disclosure to
other entities. Verizon, for example, states that “[w]hile the CPNI certification is filed in a public docket,
a 911 resiliency certification should be afforded full confidentiality protection in light of the sensitive
nature of the information disclosed.”411 ATIS contends that certification results should be withheld from

405 For these reasons, we decline to address here BRETSA’s October 25, 2012, Petition for Declaratory Ruling
requesting the Commission to “clarify the extent to which it has preempted state regulation of 911 and SSP service.”
See BRETSA Comments at 2-3. Moreover, consideration of the petition here is inappropriate because it raises
issues beyond the scope of this proceeding. We also defer BRETSA’s arguments regarding service provider liability
under PS Docket No. 11-153 for later consideration in that docket.
406 See Part 4 Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 16855 ¶ 45. See also Alaska Communications Systems Comments at 9 (noting
that “significant disclosure of the design and implementation process for 911 capability itself could introduce
security threats”).
407 Part 4 Order at 16848 ¶ 31, 16854 ¶ 43.
408 See 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3432, 3436 ¶¶ 39, 47.
409 See FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Announces the Activation of the E911 Architecture
Information System, 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) (noting that the Commission would share reports with certain public safety organizations subject to a
presumption of confidentiality).
410 See 911 Reliability NPRM, 28 FCC Rcd at 3432 ¶ 39.
411 Verizon Comments at 13 n.21.

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the states unless proper safeguards are in place.412 Similarly, CenturyLink comments that “[t]o the extent
any [circuit] audits are mandated, those audits should be treated as proprietary business information that is
presumed confidential.”413 CenturyLink, however, generally agrees that PSAPs should have access to
relevant information in at least a summary form.414
154.
Public safety and state government commenters recognize the sensitivity of this
information, but argue for at least limited access to information. Fairfax County specifically argues that
“detailed information from [circuit] audits needs to be shared with the PSAP to which the information
relates,” though it agrees that “such detailed network configuration information should be required to be
treated by all parties as sensitive and confidential information.”415 State regulators in California and
Pennsylvania request access to information collected through the Commission’s certification process.416
155.
It is clear that the information at issue in the certifications holds great value for public
safety and state authorities, but we have consistently recognized the sensitivity of this type of information
and the need to protect it from broad disclosure.417 On balance, we conclude that some components of
annual 911 reliability certifications are likely to raise genuine public safety and competitive concerns,
while other portions of the certification will not and may be of legitimate interest to the public. For
example, we perceive little threat to public safety or competition in the mere fact of whether a Covered
911 Service Provider has filed a certification, or whether a service provider answers in the affirmative or
negative to each element of the certification. Thus, we would not consider confidential a service
provider’s responses on the face of the form with respect to whether it adheres to certification elements or
relies on alternative measures to satisfy other elements of the certification.
156.
We recognize, however, that confidentiality concerns increase significantly if a
certification includes proprietary information about a service provider’s specific network architecture or
operations on less than an aggregated basis. Accordingly, as with our mandatory outage-reporting
requirements,418 we will treat as presumptively confidential and exempt from routine public disclosure
under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA): (1) descriptions and documentation of alternative
measures to mitigate the risks of nonconformance with certification standards; (2) information detailing
specific corrective actions taken; and (3) supplemental information requested by the Commission or
Bureau with respect to a certification. Examples of information we will treat as presumptively
confidential include circuit routes and diagrams, maintenance records, internal policies and procedures,
and outage data.419

412 See ATIS Comments at 10.
413 CenturyLink Reply Comments at 3.
414 See id. at 3 (“CenturyLink supports sharing summary information with its PSAP customers that is directly
applicable to them.”).
415 Fairfax County Comments at 4-5.
416 California PUC Comments at 6; Pennsylvania PUC Comments at 4.
417 See Part 4 Order, 19 FCC Rcd at 16855 ¶ 45.
418 See Part 4 Order at 16852-55 ¶¶ 40-46; MSNBC Interactive News, LLC, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 23
FCC Rcd 14518 (2008). See also 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.457(d)(1)(vi), 4.2.
419 Our decision here does not extend to whether states may have access to NORS data. In 2009, the Commission
received a petition for rulemaking from the California PUC to allow states direct access to NORS outage reporting
data. See Petition of the California Public Utilities Commission and the People of the State of California for
Rulemaking on States’ Access to the Network Outage Reporting System (NORS) Database and a Ruling Granting
California Access to NORS, ET Docket No. 04-35, Petition for Rulemaking (filed Nov. 12, 2009). The petition
remains pending, and while it involves many of the issues raised here with respect to sharing of certification data,
we agree with Verizon to defer a decision about sharing certification data with state regulators until the issue is
resolved in the context of outage reporting. See Verizon Comments at 9.

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157.
We also recognize that PSAPs and state 911 authorities have a strong interest in obtaining
relevant information about the reliability and resiliency of their 911 service. As NENA states, PSAPs
may be in the best position to use this information to prompt 911 service providers to make specific
reliability improvements in their networks, but they may not otherwise be able to negotiate reliable access
to this information through their contracts or tariffs.420 As noted, Fairfax County argues for disclosure to
PSAPs of detailed information on circuit audits.421 The record in this proceeding supports allowing
PSAPs and, as relevant, state 911 authorities, access to potentially sensitive information on the circuit
routes to the PSAP. No PSAPs have identified any other proprietary information that they believe to be
important in assessing reliability of their service, and accordingly, we have no reason to address here the
need for disclosure of additional information to PSAPs and/or state 911 authorities.
158.
To this end, we expect that a Covered 911 Service Provider will, at the request of the
PSAP (or state 911 authority, as relevant), enter into discussions concerning the content of the provider’s
911 circuit auditing certification with respect to the PSAP. In light of the wide variety of circumstances
involved in how PSAPs nationwide purchase 911 service, we decline to require specific disclosure by
rule, preferring to allow parties to negotiate reasonable and appropriate terms for assuring protection of
proprietary information. We make clear, however, that Covered 911 Service Providers should respond
promptly to a PSAP request in this area and reiterate our belief that PSAPs should have access to the
details of circuit-auditing certifications, as long as the sensitive and proprietary nature of the information
can be maintained.

H.

Review and Sunset of Rules
159.
The Commission will review the rules adopted in this Report and Order in five years to
determine whether they are still technologically appropriate and both adequate and necessary to ensure
reliability and resiliency of 911 networks.422 Review of the rules will also include consideration of
whether they should be revised or expanded to cover new best practices or additional entities that provide
NG911 capabilities, or in light of our understanding about how NG911 networks may differ from legacy
911 service. Factors for consideration will include outage reporting trends, adoption of NG911
capabilities on a nationwide basis, and whether the certification approach has yielded the necessary level
of compliance. If, after review, the Commission determines that some or all of these rules are no longer
effective in promoting 911 reliability, we will establish an appropriate sunset date for those portions of
the rules that are no longer necessary. At the same time, a lack of compliance with certification
requirements or persistence of preventable 911 outages could indicate a need for broader or more rigorous
rules.
160.
As noted in the NPRM, the transition to NG911 will likely drive improvements in
network reliability and resiliency compared to the current circuit-switched system because of the
inherently diverse nature of IP networks. Network architecture, backup power, and network monitoring
technologies may also evolve as new entities begin providing NG911 services. Consequently,
Commission actions to promote reliability of current 911 infrastructure may no longer be necessary in
light of future improvements to the network. If these improvements are not realized as expected,
however, additional Commission action may be warranted.
161.
Few commenters have directly addressed the issue of a review or sunset period; however,
there is broad agreement that any rules adopted in this proceeding should account for the transition to

420 See NENA Ex Parte Notice at 2 (June 3, 2013) (expressing concern that “some carriers have chosen to exploit
their market position to deny public safety agencies and their representatives the very data they insist is lacking in
NENA’s and others’ presentations to the FCC” regarding reliability and redundancy of 911 networks).
421 See Fairfax County Comments at 4-5.
422 We intend this review to extend to the annual 911 reliability certification and associated elements adopted herein.
Because the record reflects a need for detailed outage notification to PSAPs both before and after the adoption of
NG911, we do not contemplate a review or sunset of the amendments to section 4.9.

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NG911 without impeding that transition through regulatory obligations based on legacy technologies.423
As noted above, the record also indicates that certain certification requirements related to circuit auditing
and physical diversity of 911 circuits may be particularly important to today’s circuit-switched networks,
while IP-based NG911 networks are likely to be more inherently diverse and resilient. We may therefore
revisit factors such as the timing of circuit audits and the auditing practices incorporated in the
certification as appropriate based on new technologies.
162.
While we commit to a review of these rules after five years, we decline to set a specific
sunset date or triggering event because there are still too many uncertainties about the timeline for
widespread adoption of NG911 and the effect of new technologies on the need for 911 reliability rules. A
five-year review period will allow for meaningful technological progress in the deployment of NG911
without tying the Commission and various parties in the 911 community to long-term rules based on
current technologies. Although ubiquitous adoption of NG911 could obviate the need for some of these
rules, we believe it would be inappropriate to adopt a complete sunset while significant portions of the
nation may still rely on legacy infrastructure.424

I.

Authority Delegated to PSHSB

163.
We delegate authority to PSHSB to implement the rules adopted in this Report and
Order, consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act and relevant portions of the Communications
Act. Specifically, we direct the Bureau to develop such forms and procedures as may be required to
collect and process certifications, and we delegate authority to the Bureau to periodically update those
forms and procedures as necessary, subject to Paperwork Reduction Act requirements. Through its
experience with electronic outage reports in NORS and DIRS, the Bureau has developed expertise with
outage reports and trends that will be useful when reviewing such certifications and identifying issues for
follow-up with service providers. We also delegate authority to the Bureau to order appropriate remedial
actions on a case-by-case basis where 911 reliability certifications indicate such actions are necessary to
protect public safety and consistent with the guidelines set forth in this Report and Order.

IV.

PROCEDURAL MATTERS

A.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis

164.
Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended,425 the Commission’s
Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) relating to this Report and Order is attached as Appendix
C.

B.

Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis

165.
This document contains new information collection requirements subject to the
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), Public Law 104-13. It will be submitted to the Office of
Management and Budget (OMB) for review under Section 3507(d) of the PRA. OMB, the general public,
and other Federal agencies are invited to comment on the new or modified information collection
requirements adopted in this Report and Order.
166.
In addition, we note that pursuant to the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002,
Public Law 107-198,426 we previously sought specific comment on how the Commission might further

423 See NENA Comments at 14 (noting generally that “NG911 systems will require somewhat different reliability
rules”).
424 See NATOA Comments at 3 (“While we welcome the opportunities that new technologies bring to public safety
communications capabilities, we emphasize that as new technologies evolve, the reliability of the legacy network
remains a critical asset in stable emergency communications.”).
425 See 5 U.S.C. § 604.
426 See 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4).

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reduce the information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees. In
this present document, we have assessed the effects of 911 reliability certification rules on small business
concerns, and find that the rules adopted here minimize the information collection burden on such
businesses by allowing them to describe reasonable alternative measures in lieu of specified certification
elements or to explain why a certification element is not applicable to their networks. This flexible
approach allows entities with limited resources to comply with our rules in a cost-effective manner.

C.

Congressional Review Act

167.
The Commission will send a copy of this Report and Order to Congress and the
Government Accountability Office pursuant to the Congressional Review Act.427

V.

ORDERING CLAUSES

168.
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), 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), 316, 332, 403, 615a-1, and 615c, that this Report and
Order
in PS Docket No. 13-75 and PS Docket No. 11-60 IS ADOPTED.
169.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Parts 0, 4, and 12 of the Commission’s Rules, 47
C.F.R. Parts 0, 4, and 12, ARE AMENDED as specified in Appendix B, effective 30 days after
publication in the Federal Register, except that those amendments which contain new or modified
information collection requirements that require approval by the Office of Management and Budget under
the Paperwork Reduction Act WILL BECOME EFFECTIVE after the Commission publishes a notice in
the Federal Register announcing such approval and the relevant effective date.
170.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis in Appendix
C hereto IS ADOPTED.
171.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 801(a)(1)(A) of the Congressional
Review Act, 5 U.S.C. § 801(a)(1)(A), the Commission SHALL SEND a copy of this Report and Order to
Congress and to the Government Accountability Office.
172.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Commission’s Consumer and Governmental
Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, SHALL SEND a copy of this Report and Order, including
the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business
Administration


FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION





Marlene H. Dortch
Secretary

427 See 5 U.S.C. 801(a)(1)(A).

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APPENDIX A


List of Commenters


Derecho Public Notice

(PS Docket No. 11-60, July 18, 2012)

Comments:

Arens, Dianna (individual)
Association of Public-Safety Communications Official-International, Inc. (APCO)
AT&T
Biscoe, Gerald (individual)
California Public Utilities Commission (California PUC)
CTIA – The Wireless Association (CTIA)
Duffy, Robert F. (individual)
Fairfax County, Virginia (Fairfax County)
Frontier Communications Corporation (Frontier)
Maryland Public Service Commission
National Association of Broadcasters
National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates
NENA: The 911 Association (NENA)
Newsom, Les (individual)
Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)
T-Mobile USA, Inc. (T-Mobile)
Verizon and Verizon Wireless (Verizon)
Virginia State Corporation Commission (Virginia SCC)
Wherry, Phil (individual)

Reply Comments:

AT&T
California PUC
CTIA
Loudoun County, Virginia
MetroPCS Communication, Inc.
Montgomery County, Maryland
National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA)
Sindell, Ivan/Global Communications System Research
Standley, Brandon, Chief of Police, Bellefontaine, Ohio
Verizon

Ex Parte Submissions:

Arlington County, Virginia, Information Technology Advisory Commission (Arlington, Co, VA)
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG)







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911 Reliability NPRM (PS Docket No. 13-75, March 20, 2013)

Comments
:

Alaska Communications Systems
Alexandria, Virginia
Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS)
American Cable Association (ACA)
Arlington County, Virginia
APCO
Assure911.net, LLC
AT&T
Blooston Rural Carriers
Boulder Regional Emergency Telephone Service Authority
California PUC
EchoStar Corporation
Edison Electric Institute
Fairfax County
Falls Church, Virginia
Frontier
Mission Critical Partners, Inc.
NATOA
NENA
NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association (NTCA)
Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
Secure Commonwealth (Virginia) E911 Sub-Panel
TIA
Texas 911 Alliance
United States Telecom Association (US Telecom)
Utilities Telecom Council
Verizon
Virginia SCC
Western Telecommunications Alliance

Reply Comments
:

ACA
AT&T
CenturyLink
Frontier
National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA)
National Tribal Telecommunications Association
NENA
New York City
Verizon

Ex Parte Submissions

:

APCO
AT&T
California PUC

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CenturyLink
EchoStar Corp. & Hughes Network Systems, LLC
Frontier
Intrado, Inc.
Michael Pope (Electrical Generating Systems Association)
NENA
NTCA
US Telecom
Verizon

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APPENDIX B

Final Rules


PART 0 – COMMISSION ORGANIZATION


Section 0.392 is revised to add new subsection (j) to read as follows:

§ 0.392 Authority Delegated.

* * * * *


(j) The Chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau is delegated authority to
administer the communications reliability and redundancy rules and policies contained in Part 12 of this
chapter, develop and revise forms and procedures as may be required for the administration of Part 12,
review certifications filed in connection therewith, and order remedial action on a case-by-case basis to
ensure the reliability of 911 service in accordance with such rules and policies.

* * * * *

Section 0.457 is revised to add new subsection (d)(1)(viii):

§ 0.457 Records not routinely available for public inspection.

***(d) Trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from any person and privileged
or confidential—categories of materials not routinely available for public inspection, 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4)
and 18 U.S.C. 1905.

***(viii) Information submitted with a 911 reliability certification pursuant to 47 C.F.R. § 12.4
that consists of descriptions and documentation of alternative measures to mitigate the risks of
nonconformance with certification elements, information detailing specific corrective actions taken with
respect to certification elements, or supplemental information requested by the Commission with respect
to such certification.

* * * * *

PART 4 – DISRUPTIONS TO COMMUNICATIONS

Section 4.9 is amended by adding subsection (h) to read as follows:
§ 4.9 Outage reporting requirements – threshold criteria.

* * * * *
(h) Covered 911 Service Providers. In addition to any other obligations imposed in this section,
within thirty minutes of discovering an outage that potentially affects a 911 special facility (as defined in
§ 4.5), all Covered 911 Service Providers (as defined in § 12.4(a)(4)) shall notify as soon as possible but
no later than thirty minutes after discovering the outage any official who has been designated by the
affected 911 special facility as the provider’s contact person(s) for communications outages at that facility
and convey all available information that may be useful in mitigating the effects of the outage, as well as
a name, telephone number, and e-mail address at which the service provider can be reached for follow-up.
The Covered 911 Service Provider shall communicate additional material information to the affected 911

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special facility as it becomes available, but no later than two hours after the initial contact. This
information shall include the nature of the outage, its best-known cause, the geographic scope of the
outage, the estimated time for repairs, and any other information that may be useful to the management of
the affected facility. All notifications shall be transmitted by telephone and in writing via electronic
means in the absence of another method mutually agreed upon in advance by the 911 special facility and
the Covered 911 Service Provider.

* * * * *

PART 12 – REDUNDANCY OF COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS

The name of Part 12 of 47 C.F.R. is revised to read as follows:

PART 12 – RESILIENCY, REDUNDANCY, AND RELIABILITY OF COMMUNICATIONS

* * * * *

Section 12.4 is added to read as follows:

§ 12.4 Reliability of Covered 911 Service Providers

(a) Definitions. Terms in this section shall have the following meanings:

(1)
Aggregation Point. A point at which network monitoring data for a 911 Service Area is
collected and routed to a network operations center (NOC) or other location for monitoring
and analyzing network status and performance.

(2)
Certification. An attestation by a Certifying Official, under penalty of perjury, that a
Covered 911 Service Provider:

(i) Has satisfied the obligations of subsection (c) of this section.

(ii) Has adequate internal controls to bring material information regarding network
architecture, operations, and maintenance to the Certifying Official’s attention.

(iii) Has made the Certifying Official aware of all material information reasonably
necessary to complete the certification.

(iv) The term “Certification” shall include both an Annual Reliability Certification under
subsection (c) of this section and an Initial Reliability Certification under subsection
(d)(1) of this section, to the extent provided under subsection (d)(1).

(3)
Certifying Official. A corporate officer of a Covered 911 Service Provider with
supervisory and budgetary authority over network operations in all relevant service areas.

(4)
Covered 911 Service Provider.

(i) Any entity that:

(A) Provides 911, E911, or NG911 capabilities such as call routing, automatic
location information (ALI), automatic number identification (ANI), or the

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functional equivalent of those capabilities, directly to a public safety answering
point (PSAP), statewide default answering point, or appropriate local
emergency authority as defined in sections 64.3000(b) and 20.3; and/or

(B) Operates one or more central offices that directly serve a PSAP. For purposes
of this section, a central office directly serves a PSAP if it hosts a selective
router or ALI/ANI database, provides equivalent NG911 capabilities, or is the
last service-provider facility through which a 911 trunk or administrative line
passes before connecting to a PSAP.

(ii) The term “Covered 911 Service Provider” shall not include any entity that:

(A) Constitutes a PSAP or governmental authority to the extent that it provides 911
capabilities; or

(B) Offers the capability to originate 911 calls where another service provider
delivers those calls and associated number or location information to the
appropriate PSAP.

(5)
Critical 911 Circuits. 911 facilities that originate at a selective router or its functional
equivalent and terminate in the central office that serves the PSAP(s) to which the selective
router or its functional equivalent delivers 911 calls, including all equipment in the serving
central office necessary for the delivery of 911 calls to the PSAP(s). Critical 911 Circuits
also include ALI and ANI facilities that originate at the ALI or ANI database and terminate
in the central office that serves the PSAP(s) to which the ALI or ANI databases deliver 911
caller information, including all equipment in the serving central office necessary for the
delivery of such information to the PSAP(s).

(6)
Diversity Audit. A periodic analysis of the geographic routing of network components to
determine whether they are Physically Diverse. Diversity Audits may be performed
through manual or automated means, or through a review of paper or electronic records, as
long as they reflect whether Critical 911 Circuits are Physically Diverse.

(7)
Monitoring Links. Facilities that collect and transmit network monitoring data to a NOC or
other location for monitoring and analyzing network status and performance.

(8)
Physically Diverse. Circuits or equivalent data paths are Physically Diverse if they provide
more than one physical route between end points with no common points where a single
failure at that point would cause both circuits to fail. Circuits that share a common segment
such as a fiber-optic cable or circuit board are not Physically Diverse even if they are
logically diverse for purposes of transmitting data.

(9)
911 Service Area. The metropolitan area or geographic region in which a Covered 911
Service Provider operates a Selective Router or the functional equivalent to route 911 calls
to the geographically appropriate PSAP.

(10) Selective Router. A 911 network component that selects the appropriate destination PSAP
for each 911 call based on the location of the caller.

(11) Tagging. An inventory management process whereby Critical 911 Circuits are labeled in
circuit inventory databases to make it less likely that circuit rearrangements will

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compromise diversity. A Covered 911 Service Provider may use any system it wishes to
tag circuits so long as it tracks whether Critical 911 Circuits are Physically Diverse and
identifies changes that would compromise such diversity.

(b) Provision of Reliable 911 Service. All Covered 911 Service Providers shall take reasonable
measures to provide reliable 911 service with respect to circuit diversity, central-office backup
power, and diverse network monitoring. Performance of the elements of the Certification set
forth in subsections (c)(1)(i), (c)(2)(i), and (c)(3)(i) below shall be deemed to satisfy the
requirements of this subsection (b). If a Covered 911 Service Provider cannot certify that it has
performed a given element, the Commission may determine that such provider nevertheless
satisfies the requirements of this subsection (b) based upon a showing in accordance with
subsection (c) that it is taking alternative measures with respect to that element that are
reasonably sufficient to mitigate the risk of failure, or that one or more certification elements are
not applicable to its network.

(c) Annual Reliability Certification. One year after the Initial Reliability Certification described in
subsection (d)(1) of this section and every year thereafter, a Certifying Official of every Covered
911 Service Provider shall submit a Certification to the Commission as follows.

(1)
Circuit Auditing.

(i)
A Covered 911 Service Provider shall certify whether it has, within the past year:

(A) Conducted Diversity Audits of Critical 911 Circuits or equivalent data paths to
any PSAP served;

(B) Tagged such Critical 911 Circuits to reduce the probability of inadvertent loss of
diversity in the period between audits; and

(C) Eliminated all single points of failure in Critical 911 Circuits or equivalent data
paths serving each PSAP.

(ii)
If a Covered 911 Service Provider does not conform with the elements in subsection
(c)(1)(i)(C) above with respect to the 911 service provided to one or more PSAPs, it
must certify with respect to each such PSAP:

(A) Whether it has taken alternative measures to mitigate the risk of Critical 911
Circuits that are not Physically Diverse or is taking steps to remediate any issues
that it has identified with respect to 911 service to the PSAP, in which case it
shall provide a brief explanation of such alternative measures or such
remediation steps, the date by which it anticipates such remediation will be
completed, and why it believes those measures are reasonably sufficient to
mitigate such risk; or

(B) Whether it believes that one or more of the requirements of this subsection are
not applicable to its network, in which case it shall provide a brief explanation
of why it believes any such requirement does not apply.

(2)
Backup Power.

(i) With respect to any central office it operates that directly serves a PSAP, a Covered

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911 Service Provider shall certify whether it:

(C) Provisions backup power through fixed generators, portable generators,
batteries, fuel cells, or a combination of these or other such sources to maintain
full-service functionality, including network monitoring capabilities, for at least
24 hours at full office load or, if the central office hosts a Selective Router, at
least 72 hours at full office load; provided, however, that any such portable
generators shall be readily available within the time it takes the batteries to
drain, notwithstanding potential demand for such generators elsewhere in the
service provider’s network.

(D) Tests and maintains all backup power equipment in such central offices in
accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications;

(E) Designs backup generators in such central offices for fully automatic operation
and for ease of manual operation, when required;

(F) Designs, installs, and maintains each generator in any central office that is
served by more than one backup generator as a stand-alone unit that does not
depend on the operation of another generator for proper functioning.

(ii) If a Covered 911 Service Provider does not conform with all of the elements in
subsection (c)(2)(i) above, it must certify with respect to each such central office:

(A) Whether it has taken alternative measures to mitigate the risk of a loss of service
in that office due to a loss of power or is taking steps to remediate any issues
that it has identified with respect to backup power in that office, in which case it
shall provide a brief explanation of such alternative measures or such
remediation steps, the date by which it anticipates such remediation will be
completed, and why it believes those measures are reasonably sufficient to
mitigate such risk; or

(B) Whether it believes that one or more of the requirements of this subsection are
not applicable to its network, in which case it shall provide a brief explanation
of why it believes any such requirement does not apply.

(3) Network Monitoring.

(i) A Covered 911 Service Provider shall certify whether it has, within the past year:

(A) Conducted Diversity Audits of the Aggregation Points that it uses to gather
network monitoring data in each 911 Service Area;

(B) Conducted Diversity Audits of Monitoring Links between Aggregation Points
and NOCs for each 911 Service Area in which it operates; and

(C) Implemented Physically Diverse Aggregation Points for network monitoring
data in each 911 Service Area and Physically Diverse Monitoring Links from
such aggregation points to at least one NOC.

(ii) If a Covered 911 Service Provider does not conform with all of the elements in

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subsection (c)(3)(i)(C) above, it must certify with respect to each such 911 Service
Area:

(A) Whether it has taken alternative measures to mitigate the risk of network
monitoring facilities that are not Physically Diverse or is taking steps to
remediate any issues that it has identified with respect to diverse network
monitoring in that 911 Service Area, in which case it shall provide a brief
explanation of such alternative measures or such remediation steps, the date by
which it anticipates such remediation will be completed, and why it believes
those measures are reasonably sufficient to mitigate such risk; or

(B) Whether it believes that one or more of the requirements of this subsection are
not applicable to its network, in which case it shall provide a brief explanation
of why it believes any such requirement does not apply.

(d) Other Matters

(1) Initial Reliability Certification. One year after the effective date of this rule, a Certifying
Official of every Covered 911 Service Provider shall certify to the Commission that it has
made substantial progress toward meeting the standards of the Annual Reliability
Certification described in subsection (c) of this section. Substantial progress in each element
of the certification shall be defined as compliance with standards of the full certification in at
least 50 percent of the Covered 911 Service Provider’s Critical 911 Circuits, central offices
that directly serve PSAPs, and independently monitored 911 Service Areas.

(2) Confidential Treatment.

(i) The fact of filing or not filing an Annual Reliability Certification or Initial Reliability
Certification and the responses on the face of such certification forms shall not be
treated as confidential.

(ii) Information submitted with or in addition to such Certifications shall be presumed
confidential to the extent that it consists of descriptions and documentation of
alternative measures to mitigate the risks of nonconformance with certification
elements, information detailing specific corrective actions taken with respect to
certification elements, or supplemental information requested by the Commission or
Bureau with respect to a certification.

(3) Record Retention. A Covered 911 Service Provider shall retain records supporting the
responses in a Certification for two years from the date of such Certification, and shall make
such records available to the Commission upon request. To the extent that a Covered 911
Service Provider maintains records in electronic format, records supporting a Certification
hereunder shall be maintained and supplied in an electronic format.
(i) With respect to Diversity Audits of Critical 911 Circuits, such records shall include, at
a minimum, audit records separately addressing each such circuit, any internal
report(s) generated as a result of such audits, records of actions taken pursuant to the
audit results, and records regarding any alternative measures taken to mitigate the risk
of Critical 911 Circuits that are not Physically Diverse.
(ii) With respect to backup power at central offices, such records shall include, at a

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minimum, records regarding the nature and extent of backup power at each central
office that directly serves a PSAP, testing and maintenance records for backup power
equipment in each such central office, and records regarding any alternative measures
taken to mitigate the risk of insufficient backup power.
(iii) With respect to network monitoring, such records shall include, at a minimum, records
of Diversity Audits of Monitoring Links, any internal report(s) generated as a result of
such audits, records of actions taken pursuant to the audit results, and records
regarding any alternative measures taken to mitigate the risk of Aggregation Points
and/or Monitoring Links that are not Physically Diverse.
* * * * *


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APPENDIX C


Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis


1.
As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA), an Initial
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) was incorporated in the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (Notice
or NPRM). The Commission sought written public comment on the proposals in the Notice, including
comment on the IRFA. The comments received are discussed below. This present Final Regulatory
Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) conforms to the RFA.

A.

Need for, and Objectives of, the Report and Order.

2.
In this proceeding, the Commission adopts rules to improve the reliability and resiliency
of 911 communications networks nationwide by ensuring that service providers (1) adhere to vital best
practices or reasonable alternative measures to mitigate the risk failure and (2) provide public safety
answering points (PSAPs) with timely and actionable notification of 911 outages. Specifically, we adopt
rules requiring “Covered 911 Service Providers” to take reasonable measures in three key areas to ensure
reliable 911 service and submit an annual certification of adherence to essential practices regarding (1)
circuit diversity auditing, (2) backup power at central offices that directly serve PSAPs, and (3) diverse
network monitoring. To allow flexibility and account for differences in network architecture, service
providers may also certify that they have taken reasonable alternative measures to mitigate the risk of 911
service failure, so long as they briefly explain why such measures are reasonable under the circumstances
and provide supporting documentation to the Commission upon request. In addition, we amend our
outage reporting rules to clarify Covered 911 Service Providers’ obligations to provide PSAPs with
timely and actionable notification of outages affecting 911 service.

B.

Summary of Significant Issues Raised by Public Comments in Response to the IRFA

3.
No comments were submitted specifically in response to the IRFA. A broad range of
commenters agree with the goal of improving 911 reliability, although some expressed concerns about the
anticipated cost of complying with any rules the Commission might adopt.1 For example, Alaska
Communications Systems (ACS), Blooston Rural Carriers, NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association
(NTCA), and the Western Telecommunications Alliance (WTA) comment that new regulations
promoting best practices could negatively affect small government jurisdictions and small industry. ACS
states that “it is not always possible to follow every industry best practice in remote areas such as the
Alaska bush.”2 Blooston states that rural carriers already have limited personnel and numerous reporting
requirements, and that implementing additional requirements would be overly burdensome.3 Moreover,
Blooston states that “there is no indication in the Derecho Report that there are significant failures by
rural ILECs,” and that any additional reporting requirements should be limited to carriers that experienced
failures.4 WTA states that it “does not believe that there is a clear and established need for expanded new
nationwide 911 service requirements and reporting rules for all service providers at this time,” and that
the proposed requirements and procedures will be “unduly burdensome and expensive for RLECs and
other small entities.”5 NTCA states that the Commission should “refrain from implementing new
requirements for physical diversity upon small rural carriers” due to their size, limited control over

1 See supra, ¶¶ 73-79 (discussing anticipated incremental cost of rules and addressing service providers’ objections).
2 See Alaska Communications Systems Comments at 3.
3 See Blooston Rural Carriers Comments at 2,
4 See id. at 7.
5 See Western Telecommunications Alliance Comments at 1, 3.
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interconnecting agreements, and the limited availability of diverse transport routes.6 NTCA adds that
rural carriers should not be subject to additional backup power requirements.7
4.
The IRFA solicited comment on the impact of the proposed rules to small businesses, as
required by the RFA. The Commission sought comment on alternatives for rural carriers including: 1) the
establishment of different compliance and reporting requirements; 2) clarification, consolidation, or
simplification of compliance or reporting requirements 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. Regarding Blooston’s comment in which it objected to burdensome reporting requirements
and proposed to limit additional requirements to those carriers which experienced failures in the June
2012 derecho, we conclude that reliability and resiliency of critical 911 communications infrastructure is
a nationwide concern that is not limited to the service providers directly affected by the derecho. Rather,
the record indicates vulnerabilities that likely exist nationwide and have not been resolved on a purely
voluntary basis.8 In too many cases, the Commission has found that neither voluntary best practices nor
other compensating steps (e.g. carriers following their own internal practices) were sufficiently
implemented to safeguard the public’s access to 911 call centers on a nationwide basis.
5.
Commenters uniformly agree that industry-led best practices, such as those developed by
CSRIC, reflect the best available consensus on appropriate steps to ensure 911 network reliability and
resiliency. CSRIC’s prioritization of many of these best practices as either “critical” or “highly
important” to maintaining reliable communications further suggest that they are cost-effective and likely
to achieve their objectives. To the extent that some commenters argue that such best practices may not be
applicable in all cases and should therefore be purely voluntary, we note that the certification adopted
here allows flexibility for Covered 911 Service Providers to implement specific best practices or
reasonable alternative measures in the manner most appropriate for their networks. Regarding NTCA’s
comment that the Commission refrain from imposing physical diversity requirements and backup power
requirements on rural carriers, the rules adopted here allow Covered 911 Service Providers to certify
reasonable alternative measures to mitigate the risk of failure where physical diversity and the specified
level of backup power may not be feasible. Moreover, the backup power portion of the certification
applies only to those central offices that directly serve a PSAP, or approximately one-quarter of all central
offices. Service providers may also demonstrate that specific certification elements are not applicable
based on their network architecture. Thus, the rules we adopt allow small and rural entities to comply
with minimum cost and reporting burden so long as their efforts to provide reliable 911 service are
reasonable under the circumstances.

C.

Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which Rules Will
Apply

6.
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 rules adopted herein. The RFA generally defines
the term “small entity” as having the same meaning as the terms “small business,” “small organization,”
and “small governmental jurisdiction.” In addition, the term “small business” has the same meaning as
the term “small business concern” under the Small Business Act. 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).
7.
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 that

6 See NTCA Comments at 2.
7 Id.
8 See supra, ¶¶ 33-35 (discussing 911 reliability issues beyond the June 2012 derecho).

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encompass entities that could be directly affected by the proposals under consideration.9 As of 2009,
small businesses represented 99.9% of the 27.5 million businesses in the United States, according to the
SBA.10 Additionally, a “small organization” is generally “any not-for-profit enterprise which is
independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field.”11 Nationwide, as of 2007, there were
approximately 1,621,315 small organizations.12 Finally, the term “small governmental jurisdiction” is
defined generally as “governments of cities, counties, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or
special districts, with a population of less than fifty thousand.”13 Census Bureau data for 2007 indicate
that there were 89,527 governmental jurisdictions in the United States.14 We estimate that, of this total, as
many as 88,761 entities may qualify as “small governmental jurisdictions.”15 Thus, we estimate that most
governmental jurisdictions are small.
8.
Except for amendments to our existing outage reporting rules, the rules adopted here
focus narrowly on entities that provide key facilities for 911 service rather than the broader class of all
communications services capable of placing 911 calls. Like the Derecho Report, the Report and Order
defines “911 service provider” as a communications provider responsible for routing and delivering 911
calls and location information directly to PSAPs. Under current technologies, these providers are
typically ILECs, although the transition to NG911 may broaden the class of entities that provide 911
service in the future.
9.
Small Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers. We have included small incumbent local
exchange carriers 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.” The SBA’s
Office of Advocacy contends that, for RFA purposes, small incumbent local exchange carriers are not
dominant in their field of operation because any such dominance is not “national” in scope. We have
therefore included small incumbent local exchange carriers in this RFA analysis, although we emphasize
that this RFA action has no effect on Commission analyses and determinations in other, non-RFA
contexts.

9 See 5 U.S.C. § 601(3)–(6).
10 See SBA, Office of Advocacy, “Frequently Asked Questions,” available at
http://web.sba.gov/faqs/faqindex.cfm?areaID=24 (last visited Aug. 31, 2012).
11 5 U.S.C. § 601(4).
12 INDEPENDENT SECTOR, THE NEW NONPROFIT ALMANAC & DESK REFERENCE (2010).
13 5 U.S.C. § 601(5).
14 U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES: 2011, Table 427 (2007).
15 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 local 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 52,095. If we make the same
population assumption about special districts, specifically that they are likely to have a population of 50,000 or less,
and also assume that special districts are different from county, municipal, township, and school districts, in 2007
there were 37,381 such special districts. Therefore, there are a total of 89,476 local government organizations. As a
basis of estimating how many of these 89,476 local government organizations were small, in 2011, we note that
there were a total of 715 cities and towns (incorporated places and minor civil divisions) with populations over
50,000. CITY AND TOWNS TOTALS: VINTAGE 2011 – U.S. Census Bureau, available at
http://www.census.gov/popest/data/cities/totals/2011/index.html. If we subtract the 715 cities and towns that meet
or exceed the 50,000 population threshold, we conclude that approximately 88,761 are small. U.S. CENSUS
BUREAU, STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES 2011, Tables 427, 426 (Data cited therein are
from 2007).

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10.
Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except satellite). This industry comprises
establishments engaged in operating and maintaining switching and transmission facilities to provide
communications via the airwaves. Establishments in this industry have spectrum licenses and provide
services using that spectrum, such as cellular phone services, paging services, wireless Internet access,
and wireless video services.16 The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the category Wireless
Telecommunications Carriers. The size standard for that category is that a business is small if it has 1,500
or fewer employees.17 For this category, census data for 2007 show that there were 11,163 establishments
that operated for the entire year.18 Of this total, 10,791 establishments had employment of 999 or fewer
employees and 372 had employment of 1000 employees or more.19 Thus under this category and the
associated small business size standard, the Commission estimates that the majority of wireless
telecommunications carriers (except satellite) are small entities that may be affected by our proposed
action.20

D.

Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance
Requirements for Small Entities

11.
In this Report and Order, we adopt rules requiring “Covered 911 Service Providers” to
take reasonable measures in three key areas to ensure reliable 911 service and submit an annual
certification of adherence to essential practices or reasonable alternative measures regarding circuit
diversity auditing, backup power at central offices that directly serve PSAPs, and diverse network
monitoring. Under these rules, a Covered 911 Service Provider can satisfy its obligation if it performs
every element of the certification in each substantive area. Service providers may also certify that they
have taken reasonable alternative measures to mitigate the risk of failure or are in the process of
remediating vulnerabilities so long as they briefly explain such measures or remediation steps and why
they are reasonable and provide supporting documentation to the Commission upon request. Similarly,
service providers may respond that a certification element is not applicable to their networks, but they
must include a brief explanation of why the element does not apply.
12.
If a Covered 911 Service Provider relies on alternative measures in lieu of specific
certification elements, the Bureau may conduct a more detailed review to determine whether its measures
are nevertheless reasonably adequate to ensure reliable 911 service. Where information revealed through
the outage reporting process or available through public sources indicates unresolved vulnerabilities in a
service provider’s 911 network, the Commission may request additional information, require remedial
action to correct those vulnerabilities, or refer the matter to the Enforcement Bureau for further action as
appropriate.
13.
In addition, we amend our outage reporting rules under Part 4 to clarify Covered 911
Service Providers’ obligations to provide PSAPs with timely and actionable notification of outages
affecting 911 service. These amendments respond to reports of untimely or inadequate notification
during the June 2012 derecho and provide more specific guidance on how 911 call centers can expect to
be notified in the event of a 911 service failure.

16 http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/sssd/naics/naicsrch?code=517210&search=2007%20NAICS%20Search
17 13 C.F.R. § 121.201, NAICS code 517210.
18 U.S. Census Bureau, Subject Series: Information, Table 5, “Establishment and Firm Size: Employment Size of
Firms for the United States: 2007 NAICS Code 517210” (issued Nov. 2010).
19http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_51SSSZ2&pro
dType=tableId. Available census data do not provide a more precise estimate of the number of firms that have
employment of 1,500 or fewer employees; the largest category provided is for firms with “100 employees or more.”
20See
http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_51SSSZ2&prodT
ype=table


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E.

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

14.
The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant alternatives that it has considered
in developing its approach, which may include the following four alternatives (among others): “(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
and reporting requirements under the rule for such 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 such small
entities.”
15.
Although we sought and received comments on possible exemptions or waivers for small
or rural entities, we conclude that overriding public safety concerns require our rules to apply equally to
all Covered 911 Service Providers. While we acknowledge that small or rural service providers may have
limited resources or operate in remote areas, 911 is no less a critical public service in any part of the
nation, and we decline to establish two tiers of 911 reliability based on economics or geography.
Accordingly, we intend the certification requirement adopted here to apply to all Covered 911 Service
Providers, as defined above,21 without exceptions based on size or location, and we also decline to create
a specific waiver procedure for entities to seek exemption from the rules. We emphasize, however, that
the certification approach we adopt allows flexibility for small or rural providers to comply with our rules
in the manner most appropriate for their networks, and certain requirements will, by their nature, only
apply to larger providers. Moreover, the approaches proposed in the Report and Order 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, with respect to everyday commercial communications that do not impact public safety as much as
911, small entities with limited resources will 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.

F.

Federal Rules that Might Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict with the Rules

16.
None.

G.

Report to Congress

17.
The Commission will send a copy of the Report and Order, including this FRFA, in a
report to be sent to Congress pursuant to the Congressional Review Act. In addition, the Commission
will send a copy of the Report and Order, including this FRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the
SBA. A copy of the Report and Order and FRFA (or summaries thereof) will also be published in the
Federal Register.

H.

Report to Small Business Administration

18.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Commission’s Consumer and Governmental
Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, SHALL SEND a copy of this Report and Order, including
the Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business
Administration.



21 See supra, ¶¶ 36-43 (defining term and discussing nationwide importance of 911 reliability).

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STATEMENT OF

CHAIRMAN THOMAS E. WHEELER


Re:
Improving 911 Reliability, PS Docket No. 13-75; Reliability and Continuity of Communications
Networks, Including Broadband Technologies
, PS Docket No. 11-60.

Since my first day, I’ve spoken about how the FCC’s policies should be guided by what I call the
Network Compact – the basic rights of consumers and the basic responsibilities of network operators.
This item to improve 911 reliability advances one of the three key elements of the Network Compact –
promoting public safety and security.

Today’s item is the culmination of a significant amount of work, which began long before I
arrived. The derecho storm that ripped through portions of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic brought
widespread 911 network failures across six states and left millions of Americans unable to call for help.
The Commission immediately launched an inquiry to examine the major vulnerabilities in 911 network
architecture, maintenance, and operations revealed by the storm.

Regrettably, many of the 911 outages could have been avoided if the wireline 911 service
providers had implemented best practices – in fact, best practices that the industry had helped to develop
– and other sound engineering principles.

I have spoken of the “regulatory see-saw.” When the marketplace works, the reasons for
regulation are diminished. Part and parcel with that belief, I also have said that the Commission should
encourage multi-stakeholder solutions to network responsibilities.

Inherent in the regulatory see-saw is the reality that if voluntary solutions don’t work, we must be
willing to pivot rapidly to a regulatory response. This is especially true when public safety is at stake.

The 2012 derecho demonstrated how the industry failed to take the proper steps to prevent these
kinds of widespread outages. As such, we have an obligation and responsibility to act.

The result of the hard work put forth by the Bureau and my colleagues and predecessors is the
necessary, sensible, and flexible set of rules we are adopting today, which will help assure that Americans
can reach emergency assistance during disasters.

Our rules are flexible – they account for differences in 911 network architecture – but we do not
sacrifice 911 service reliability. Consistent with the old axiom, ‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage
it,” we are putting such measurement and management tools in place. We require 911 service providers
to take reasonable measures to provide reliable 911 service and to certify annually that they have done so.
They can either follow certain industry-backed best practices or implement alternative measures that are
reasonable and sufficient to achieve the necessary result in light of their particular circumstances. Our
rules also provide greater clarity on how these critical industry-backed best practices should be
implemented in the context of 911 networks.

Moreover, to accommodate evolving technology, these rules take into account the transition to
Next Generation 911. To keep up with technology, we will re-evaluate the rules in five years.

In addition, today’s Order will help ensure that 911 call centers get timely and useful information
about 911 outages.

I recognize that 911 service providers may have made improvements since the derecho. But given
the 911 failures of the past, and with public safety at stake, the Commission cannot simply trust - we must

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also verify. Or, as a wise man once taught me, “inspect what you expect.”

I am pleased to support this Order and thank the staff of the Public Safety and Homeland Bureau
for their work on this important item.



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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.

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.




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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.


During the Summer before last, a fast-moving storm known as a Derecho blew through the
Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. These were not the usual warm winds of late June. These were gusts of up to
80 miles per hour. And they were accompanied by sheets of rain and bolts of lightning.


The damage left in the wake of the Derecho was substantial. This was Mother Nature at her most
angry. We had downed trees, blocked roads, power outages—and serious failures in our communications
systems.


To learn more, in the days following the Derecho I visited the 911 center in Fairfax County,
Virginia. The head of Fairfax County’s Department of Public Safety Communications described an eerie
quiet in the aftermath of the storm, as calls into 911 quickly and implausibly ceased. He said he knew
instantly something was wrong. He was right.


In fact, during the Derecho, 77 public safety answering points spanning six states lost some
connectivity. This affected more than 3.6 million people. Seventeen 911 call centers lost service
completely. This left more than two million people without access to 911 during and after the storm. It
was many hours before the calls returned—and in some cases days. This is unacceptable. It puts the
safety of too many people at risk.


So it was clear that we needed an investigation. Because when things like this happen we have to
search out the facts—wherever they lead. Then we need to apply the lessons we learn. Not just in the
Midwest and Mid-Atlantic where the Derecho struck—but everywhere.


The staff at the Commission has done extraordinary work to understand what happened. They
worked with carriers, reached out to public safety officials, and combed through lots and lots of paper.
As a result, we now know that as many as nine generators failed to start, disabling hundreds of network
transportation systems. We know that back-up generators and switches failed. We also know that power
failures undermined network monitoring capabilities.


So we understand what did not go right. Now we are doing something about it. The rules we
adopt today require 911 service providers to adopt practices for auditing circuit diversity, to supply back-
up power to central offices that service 911 call centers, and to provide diverse network monitoring. We
also direct providers to reach out to 911 call centers and let them know when they experience a service
outage, so first responders are not left in the dark unable to do their job and help us when the unthinkable
occurs.



These are simple, commonsense solutions. But they matter. Because this is not just a
conversation about technical fixes. This is a conversation about real people and their safety.


I am grateful to the Chairman for making this a priority so early in his tenure. Thank you also the
Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau for your continued diligence. Your efforts have my full
support.

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DISSENTING 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 our citizens call 911, they expect and deserve to reach emergency personnel. Making that
happen for each and every 911 call is not easy. Unlike normal calls, a consumer’s provider—whether a
traditional telephone carrier or a wireless operator, a cable company or an over-the-top, interconnected
VoIP provider—cannot simply transmit a 911 call to a destination based on the number dialed. Instead,
that provider must transmit the call to a selective router to determine which public safety answering point
(PSAP) should receive the call. Then it must determine how to connect that caller to that PSAP. The
PSAP in turn queries an automatic location information (ALI) database to determine the location of the
caller so that emergency personnel can respond immediately. PSAPs themselves purchase
communications services from 911 system service providers (SSPs), all under the oversight of state
governments.

Notably absent from this arrangement is the FCC. We do not establish 911 service tariffs. We do
not negotiate 911 service contracts. And we do not collect or distribute 911 funds. Instead, Congress has
given us a supplementary role when it comes to 911 SSPs: We are charged with “work[ing]
cooperatively with public safety organizations [and] industry participants . . . to develop best practices”
for “network diversity requirements,” “call-handling in the event of call overflow or network outages,”
and “certification and testing requirements” for service to PSAPs.1

For years, the Commission has carried out this statutory duty through its Communications
Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC), and its predecessors. CSRIC has developed
and maintained best practices for network reliability and disaster preparedness. Most 911 SSPs have
claimed that they voluntarily follow these best practices. Unsurprisingly, many PSAPs have relied on
these promises in evaluating the service of 911 SSPs.

The 2012 derecho storm that swept across the Mid-Atlantic states revealed a flaw in this
voluntary scheme. Although some 911 SSPs claimed to follow best practices, their performance during
and after the derecho confirmed that they did not do so consistently. And because these providers’ claims
of compliance were never formally made to the Commission, we had little authority to take action against
those who had broken their promises.

Given this background, the Commission needed to take steps within its power to correct the
situation. For example, we could have required 911 SSPs to formally certify whether or not they comply
with industry best practices. This would let PSAPs know which providers do not conform to best
practices and enable PSAPs to order corrective action. This would also make providers’ promises
enforceable and enable the Commission to sanction those filing false certifications. As a second step, we
could have required an across-the-board audit of critical 911 circuits so that all 911 SSPs—and, crucially,
their customers, the PSAPs—could identify weaknesses in today’s 911 service infrastructure. Indeed, I
would have supported today’s item had we taken just these steps, and I proposed to align this order with
that vision.


1 Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999, Pub. L. 106-81, § 6(h), as amended by New and
Emerging Technologies 911 Improvement Act of 2008, Pub. L. No. 110-283, § 101(2).
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But today’s order goes a hop, skip, and a long jump further. For example, while the Order claims
to adopt a certification scheme, it in fact adopts extremely prescriptive and mandatory standards. Take
new rule 12.4(b). This rule requires 911 SSPs to “take reasonable measures to provide reliable 911
service.” This sounds anodyne in theory. But in practice, it gives the Commission carte blanche to fine
911 SSPs that do not comply with whatever particular practices the Commission demands.2 As such, a
911 SSP must comply with new federal rules, such as annual diversity audits. It must do so even if that
information reveals nothing new to the providers or their PSAP customers. And it must do so even
though across-the-board annual audits do not come cheap; they are likely to cost the industry anywhere
from $8.96 million to $22.4 million each year.3

Another problem is that the Order claims to leave network design decisions to PSAPs and 911
SSPs but instead delegates freewheeling authority to the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau to
“order remedial action on a case-by-case basis to ensure the reliability of 911 service.”4 In other words,
the Bureau now has the largely unconstrained authority to order a carrier to redesign its network, to
purchase new equipment, or to deploy new facilities, if someone in Washington says so. This level of
micromanagement, even if the Commission were equipped to carry it out, is neither appropriate nor
effective. We at the Commission have not trenched fiber, have not tested back-up power facilities, and
have not designed network monitoring facilities. The experience reviewing the performance of 911
networks after a single storm that affected barely one percent of the country’s PSAPs does not qualify us
to second-guess the negotiated agreements of thousands of PSAPs and their 911 SSPs nationwide.

A third and final problem with the Order is that it imposes burdensome regulations that stray far
beyond CSRIC best practices. For example, best practices require only “periodic[]” diversity audits
“when called for by network design”5 and advise providers, “where appropriate, to design networks . . . to
minimize the impact of a single point of failure.”6 Industry is implementing these practices with audits
every two or three years,7 in part because other best practices, such as circuit tagging, help prevent the
need for more frequent audits.8 Against this backdrop, the NPRM in this proceeding stated that circuit
audits should occur every two years and were only “necessary for roughly half of these PSAPs because
that is the portion likely to be served by more than one selective router.”9 But what does the Order
require? Annual audits of every 911 circuit in the country.

This will obviously burden 911 SSPs. But ultimately, our nation’s PSAPs (and hence taxpayers)
will bear these costs. For 911 SSPs, like most other businesses, generally pass on such costs to their
customers. Shouldering these additional costs may make some PSAPs think twice before investing in
innovative approaches to reliability, such as adopting Next-Generation 911. And ironically, it is not the
PSAPs that serve large suburban areas that are most likely to suffer these costs, but those who serve rural
areas and tribal lands, flood-prone bayous, soaring mountain communities, and the remote Alaska bush.
Those PSAPs must confront how to allocate scarce resources every day. If a Commission-ordered

2 See, e.g., Order at para. 63.
3 Audits are expected to take 16–40 man-hours, see Order at notes 244, 255, at a cost of $80 per hour for each of
7,000 PSAPs.
4 Rule 0.392(j).
5 CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-0532.
6 CSRIC Best Practice 8-7-0402.
7 See, e.g., Frontier Comments at 9; Verizon Ex Parte Notice at 1 (July 3, 2013); CenturyLink Ex Parte Notice at 1
(Sept. 18, 2013).
8 See, e.g., Fairfax County Comments at 4; Frontier Comments at 9.
9 NPRM at para. 41.

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network redesign costs so much that a PSAP must reduce the number of operators it employs—the
consequences could be dire.

I understand the urge to take action. Some 911 SSPs did not live up to their commitments in the
derecho, and accountability is necessary. But the people these providers failed are their customers, the
PSAPs, and those Americans who could not reach emergency services in a time of need, not us in federal
government. And it is the PSAPs, the states and municipalities that oversee them, and on-the-ground first
responders, not those working in this building, who must be empowered to take the lead. I respectfully
dissent.



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DISSENTING STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER MICHAEL O’RIELLY


Re:
Improving 911 Reliability, PS Docket No. 13-75; Reliability and Continuity of Communications
Networks, Including Broadband Technologies
, PS Docket No. 11-60.

I have been sincere in my comments that I want to find common ground with my colleagues so
items can be approved unanimously. We have an obligation to try to work together for the greater good.
Sadly, this is one of those instances where the gap was too wide to bridge. It didn’t have to be this way.

The safety of our nation’s citizens is not a partisan issue. I take a backseat to no one in trying to
ensure Americans are protected in times of need. In fact, everyone supports a fully functioning and
reliable 9-1-1 system, especially during major catastrophes. When people’s lives are at stake – real life
and death matters – our communications networks need to be ready and able to meet the challenges.

The question becomes what is the best way to make sure this happens. I proposed several edits
and supported changes proposed by Commissioner Pai that would have narrowed the rules while still
meeting that goal. While I appreciate that some small changes were made, the key suggestions of both of
us were rejected.

One of my requests was to minimize the burdens on so-called good actors. Let’s be clear: I am a
strong proponent of strenuously enforcing the Commission’s rules. However, we should try to find a way
to lessen the burdens over time on the good actors – communications companies whose networks and
services are continually operational and meet the Commission’s requirements. In other words, do they
have a clean checklist and are their alternative measures, if necessary, ensuring reliable 9-1-1 service year
after year? This seems immensely reasonable in light of the requirement that certifications be filed
annually, instead of biennially, as was the case in the original draft. After a couple certifications, we
ought to know those companies that go the extra mile for compliance and probably don’t need to be
scrutinized under the item’s rubric of a never-ending, yearly certification scheme. My idea of a simple
waiver process to ease the burdens for good actors was rejected without much debate.

My support for a waiver process is not because I support the free-market and less regulation,
which I do. It is because I know that the compliance costs are going to be passed on to consumers –
including the struggling families deciding whether to keep phone service – that are going to pay more
each month for unnecessary regulations. The Commission has found a way to drive up consumer costs by
burdening truly good actors for no real benefit.

I am equally troubled that my simple proposal to replace the vague, non-committal review of the
newly imposed rules in five years – a review that is not mandated to be completed – was also dismissed.
For too many years and in too many situations, the Commission enacted rules with no mechanism to fully
and faithfully determine, in the future, whether such rules should be retained or modified. Accordingly, I
proposed a variety of sunsetting mechanisms to ensure that the Commission would have to revisit these
9-1-1 reliability rules in order to preserve them. I even went so far as to propose that the Commission or
the Bureau could extend the rules if the certifications and other relevant data showed that there was still a
need for the rules. As incredible as it may seem, this was rejected due to a view that the providers should
have the burden to request a rulemaking to show that rules should be eliminated. I disagree. What
became clear through this process is that there is great resistance to sunsetting Commission rules. For
those that want to explore real FCC process reform, let’s start there.

For these reasons, I dissent to this Order. Sadly, this was a missed opportunity. It was well
within our grasp to produce a 5-0 vote. Despite my dissatisfaction, I thank the staff for all of their hard
work. It’s on to the next item for me.

83

Document Outline

  • I. introduction
  • II. Background
    • A. 911 Network Architecture
    • B. FCC Approach to Communications Reliability
    • C. June 2012 Derecho
    • D. PSHSB Derecho Report
    • E. 911 Reliability Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
  • III. DISCUSSION
    • A. Need for Commission Action
      • 1. Voluntary Measures Alone Have Proven Inadequate
      • 2. 911 Reliability is a Nationwide Concern
    • B. Entities Subject to Rules
    • C. Implementation Approach
      • 1. Reasonable 911 Reliability Measures Required
      • 2. Annual Reliability Certification
      • 3. Implementation Approaches Not Adopted
      • 4. Costs and Benefits of Commission Action
    • D. Certification Requirements
      • 1. Circuit Diversity Audits
      • 2. Central-Office Backup Power
      • 3. Network Monitoring
    • E. PSAP Outage Notification
    • F. Legal Authority
    • G. Confidentiality
    • H. Review and Sunset of Rules
    • I. Authority Delegated to PSHSB
  • IV. PROCEDURAL Matters
    • A. Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis
    • B. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis
    • C. Congressional Review Act
  • V. ordering clauses
  • APPENDIX A
  • APPENDIX B
    • (i) With respect to Diversity Audits of Critical 911 Circuits, such records shall include, at a minimum, audit records separately addressing each such circuit, any internal report(s) generated as a result of such audits, records of actions taken pursu...
    • (ii) With respect to backup power at central offices, such records shall include, at a minimum, records regarding the nature and extent of backup power at each central office that directly serves a PSAP, testing and maintenance records for backup powe...
    • (iii) With respect to network monitoring, such records shall include, at a minimum, records of Diversity Audits of Monitoring Links, any internal report(s) generated as a result of such audits, records of actions taken pursuant to the audit results, a...
    • A. Need for, and Objectives of, the Report and Order.
    • B. Summary of Significant Issues Raised by Public Comments in Response to the IRFA
    • C. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which Rules Will Apply
    • D. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance Requirements for Small Entities
    • E. Steps Taken to Minimize the Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and Significant Alternatives Considered
    • F. Federal Rules that Might Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict with the Rules
    • G. Report to Congress
    • H. Report to Small Business Administration

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