In 2004, the FCC established outage reporting rules to address the critical need for rapid, complete, and accurate information on significant communications service disruptions that could affect homeland security, public health or safety, and the economic well-being of the nation.

Under this framework, qualifying communication providers (wireline, cable, satellite, wireless, interconnected VoIP and Signaling System 7 providers) are required to report network outages that last at least 30 minutes and satisfy other specific thresholds in the Commission’s Network Outage Reporting System (NORS).  Data submitted to NORS is presumed confidential.

After determining that an outage is reportable, wireline, cable, satellite, wireless and Signaling System 7 providers must submit a NORS notification within 120 minutes with preliminary information. The service provider must submit an initial outage report within three calendar days, followed by a final report no later than 30 days after discovering the outage.

Interconnected VoIP providers must submit a NORS notification either: 1) within 240 minutes after discovering an outage that potentially affects a 911 facility or 2) within 24 hours of discovering an outage which affects potentially 900,000 user minutes and results in a complete loss of service or potentially affects any special offices and facilities.  They must also file a final report within 30 days of discovering the outage.

Covered 911 service providers, or providers that aggregate 911 traffic from an originating service provider and deliver it to a 911 call center, must notify the designated official at the 911 call center as soon as possible but no later than 30 minutes after discovering an outage that affects a 911 call center.  The covered 911 service provider shall convey all available information as well as a name, telephone number, and email address at which the service provider can be reached for follow-up.  The covered 911 service provider must also communicate additional material information to the affected 911 call center as it becomes available, but no later than two hours after the initial contact.

The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau’s Cybersecurity and Communications Reliability Division (CCR) routinely analyzes NORS data to assess the magnitude of major outages, identify trends, and promote network reliability best practices that can prevent or mitigate future disruptions.  This analysis also informs the agency’s outage investigations and recommendations for improving network reliability.

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For questions about NORS, contact:
Jerome Stanshine
Phone: 202-418-2417

Juan Chapa
Phone:  202-418-0431

David Ahn
Phone:  202-418-0853


Thursday, November 30, 2023