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FCC requires outage reporting from interconnected VoIP to improve 911

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Released: February 15, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

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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).



February 15, 2012
Lauren Kravetz, (202) 418-7944



New Reporting Requirement Will Help Provide Reliable Phone Service to 9-1-1 for All Voice Calls

Washington, D.C. – The Federal Communications Commission today took action to make the nation’s 9-1-1
systems more reliable and resilient by requiring interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service
providers to report significant network outages that meet specific criteria and thresholds. The new rules will
help ensure that the country’s critical communications infrastructure remains available in times of crisis. The
FCC will use outage reports to track and analyze information on interconnected VoIP outages affecting 9-1-1
service and determine if action is needed to prevent future outages.
Interconnected VoIP services have become increasingly popular in recent years, and the number of
consumers using these services in lieu of traditional telephone service is growing steadily. According to the
FCC’s most recent Local Competition Report, almost one-third of the more than 87 million residential
telephone subscriptions are now provided as interconnected VoIP service. This means that interconnected
VoIP platforms are carrying a substantial volume of 9-1-1 calls. The FCC’s current outage reporting rules,
which have been in place since 2004, cover voice services provided over wired and wireless platforms, but
not interconnected VoIP. Today’s FCC action means that interconnected VoIP service providers will be
obligated to report significant service outages to the FCC.
Public safety is a core mission of the FCC and today’s efforts further the agency’s obligation to ensure the
public is able to make emergency calls to summon help, particularly when facing life-threatening situations.
With today’s action, all 9-1-1 voice calls will be covered.
The FCC’s Report and Order defines outage reporting for interconnected VoIP service, establishes reporting
criteria and thresholds, and discusses how the reporting process should work, what information should be
reported, and confidential treatment of the outage reports. The FCC deferred action on a number of
questions, including the possibility of setting thresholds for reporting outages of broadband Internet service,
and measurements for outages of both interconnected VoIP and broadband Internet services based on
performance degradation, as opposed to complete service outage.
PS Docket No. 11-82.
Action by the Commission February 15, 2012, by Report and Order (FCC 12-22). Chairman Genachowski,
Commissioners McDowell and Clyburn. Separate statements issued by Chairman Genachowski,
Commissioners McDowell and Clyburn.
The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau contact is Jeffery Goldthorp at (202) 418-1096 or via
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