Effective September 30, 2022, the Commission provides direct, read-only access to filings in the Network Outage Reporting System (NORS) and the Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) to agencies of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Tribal nations, territories, and federal government that have official duties that make them directly responsible for emergency management and first responder support functions (Participating Agencies).

It is valuable for public safety agencies to have reliable, timely, and actionable outage and infrastructure status information during “sunny day” disruptions to communications services and natural disasters. Sharing this information with Participating Agencies improves their situational awareness, enhances their ability to respond more quickly to outages affecting their communities, and helps save lives.

The Commission’s rules allow Participating Agencies to share NORS and DIRS information with first responders, emergency communications centers, and other local government agencies who play a vital public safety role during crises and have a need to know this information (Downstream Agencies). These Downstream Agencies will not have direct access to the NORS-DIRS databases. Instead, they can request outage reports from Participating Agencies in their jurisdictions..

To protect sensitive communications status data, Participating Agencies and Downstream Agencies must preserve the confidentiality of NORS and DIRS filings. The Commission will grant access to NORS and DIRS only after Participating Agencies certify that they will comply with requirements for maintaining the confidentiality of the data and the security of the databases. Participating Agencies will also be responsible for ensuring Downstream Agencies certify that they, too, will maintain the confidentiality of the data they receive.

To apply for NORS and DIRS access, a complete application must be sent to NORS_DIRS_information_sharing@fcc.gov. This includes:

  • a signed statement from an agency official, on the agency’s official letterhead, including the official’s full contact information and formally requesting access to NORS and DIRS filings;
  • a description of why the agency has a need to access NORS and DIRS filings and how it intends to use the information in practice;
  • if applicable, a request to exceed the proposed presumptive limits on the number of individuals (i.e., user accounts) permitted to access NORS and DIRS filings with an explanation of why this is necessary;
  • a completed copy of a Participating Agency Certification Form; and
  • a demonstration of the agency’s “need to know” by citing to statutes or other regulatory authority that establishes it has official duties making it directly responsible for emergency management and first responder support functions.

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