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FCC Promotes a More Resilient, Reliable 9-1-1 System

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Released: May 13, 2011

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.


Washington, D. C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).




May 12, 2011
Lauren Kravetz, (202) 418-7944


Proposes Network Outage Reporting for Interconnected VoIP and Broadband Internet Service Providers

Washington, D.C. The Federal Communications Commission today took action to make America's 9-1-1
system and other critical communication infrastructure more resilient by proposing that interconnected Voice
over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service and broadband Internet service providers report significant outages.
Specifically, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that proposes rules under which
providers of these services would report outages of at least thirty minutes that meet certain thresholds,
helping fulfill the FCC's mission to ensure that our country's critical communications infrastructure remains
working in times of crisis. These network outage reports would enable the FCC to track and analyze
information on outages affecting 9-1-1 service over broadband networks and determine if action is needed to
prevent future outages from occurring.
Broadband technologies delivering communications services are fast becoming substitutes for
communications services provided by older, legacy communications technologies. According to the FCC's
recent Local Competition Report, nearly 30 percent of the more than 89 million residential telephone
subscriptions were provided by interconnected VoIP providers. Broadband networks now carry a substantial
volume of 9-1-1 traffic and are also a significant form of communications in times of crisis. The NPRM
proposes to expand outage reporting requirements relating to 9-1-1 to interconnected VoIP providers and
broadband Internet service providers that are similar to reporting that has applied to wireless, wireline, cable
and satellite communications service providers since 2005.
The FCC's current outage reporting requirements have been successful in reducing the number of
communications outages across several categories and speeding the pace of recovery. For instance, within
hours of Hurricane Katrina hitting land in 2005, the Commission's outage reporting data quickly became the
Federal government's best source of information about the conditions of critical communications
infrastructure in the disaster area. Working with communications providers, the FCC was able to identify
specific needs for security, fuel, and other support and help guide and prioritize Federal restoration efforts.
The NPRM adopted today seeks to extend these benefits to the broadband communications networks
frequently used during life threatening situations today. In the past year alone, several regions across the
Nation have experienced significant disruptions to their broadband Internet and interconnected VoIP
services. This past November, a broadband Internet service provider experienced a network outage that
affected more than 40,000 customers across the state of Kansas for approximately 12 hours. Due to the
increased reliance on VoIP and broadband technologies by the American public, an outage such as this
significantly affects consumers' ability to reach 9-1-1 in an emergency.

The NPRM seeks comment on the definition of outage reporting for these services, the proposed reporting
thresholds, the effectiveness of mandatory reporting, how the reporting process should work, what
information should be reported, and confidential treatment of the outage reports.
Action by the Commission May 12, 2011, by Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 11-74).
Chairman Genachowski and Commissioners Copps and Clyburn issuing separate statements;
Commissioner McDowell approving in part, concurring in part and issuing a statement;
Commissioner Baker not participating.
PS Docket No. 11-82.
The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) contact is Jeffery Goldthorp at (202) 418-1096
or via email:
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