FCC Releases R&O on 911 Outage Notification Requirements

On November 18, 2022, the FCC released the Report and Order (“R&O”) adopting new 911 outage reporting requirements and harmonizing the 911 outage reporting requirements for 911 service providers and originating service providers, which was adopted at the November Open Meeting. Specifically, the Commission:

  1. Required covered 911 service providers and originating service providers (“OSPs”) to maintain accurate information for the 911 special facilities in areas they serve.
    • 911 service providers and OSPs will be required to annually use “special diligence” to obtain a 911 special facility’s contact information and maintain it.
    • The R&O defines “special diligence” as “the diligence expected from a person practicing in a particular field of specialty under circumstances like those at issue.”  This can involve actively seeking to confirm the accuracy of contact information and not relying on the absence of a response.
    • Compliance will be required 120 days after the FCC announces it has received OMB approval in the Federal Register.
  2. Harmonized the 911 special facility outage notification requirements for OSPs with those of covered 911 service providers.
    • OSPs and covered 911 service providers will be required to provide the same notification content, by the same means, and with the same timing and frequency.
      • Content: the notice must contain industry-standard information elements such as unique outage identifiers, follow-up contact information, the service provider name, date and time when the incident began, the geographic area of the outage, the expected date and time of restoration, and cause of the outage, among other things.
      • Means:  by telephone and in writing by electronic means, if there is no mutually agreed upon alternative form of notification.
      • Timing and frequency: the initial notification must be provided as soon as possible but, no later than within 30 minutes of when the outage is discovered, and additional material should be communicated as soon as it becomes available but no later than two hours after the initial notification.
    • The notification requirements apply regardless of whether the outage is a 911 outage or a general network outage that prevents all calls, in so far as either disrupts or prevents communications to a PSAP or has the potential to do so.
    • The R&O declines to adopt a requirement that OSPs and covered 911 service providers directly notify customers about outages.
    • Compliance for non-small providers will be required 120 days after the FCC announces it has received OMB approval in the Federal Register.
  3. Maintained the annual 911 certification reporting requirement – the FCC declined to reduce the frequency by which covered 911 service providers file their 911 reliability certification requirements, finding reducing the reporting would not meaningfully alleviate compliance requirements for providers, but would make it difficult to monitor the transition to NG 911 and the reliability of 911.
  4. Required covered 911 service providers who cease operations to notify the Commission no later than 60 days after the cessation of service.
    • Providers are only required to file a declaration under penalty of perjury, not an affidavit.
    • This notification requirement is only required where a service provider completely ceases service, not when the provider might cease service to a particular 911 special facility.
    • Compliance will be required 30 days after the FCC announces it has received OMB approval in the Federal Register.

The FCC also codified the requirement for satellite and wireless providers to report on outages at “all special offices and facilities” that was adopted in the 2016 Part 4 Order.

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