FCC Release Network Outage Reporting FNPRM, Orders

May 26, 2016–The FCC today released the text of the report and order, further notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM), and order on reconsideration regarding network outage reporting rules that the Commissioner approved at its meeting earlier this week (TRDaily, May 25).  The FCC said comments on the FNPRM will be due 45 days after the date of its publication in the “Federal Register,” with reply comments due 60 days after the publication date.

In the documents released today in Public Safety docket 15-80, Engineering and Technology docket 04-35, and PS docket 11-82, the FCC said the report and order updates the agency’s Part 4 network outage reporting requirements to “update the reporting metric and threshold for communication disruptions impacting major transport facilities from a DS3-based to an OC3-based standard, and reduce the reporting window for simplex events (transmission line disruptions) from five days to four days;  [and] update the reporting of wireless outages by adopting a standardized method to calculate the number of users ‘potentially affected’ in an outage, and clarify that, when an outage affects only some 911 calling centers, or public safety answering points (PSAPs), served by a mobile switching center, wireless providers may utilize their own identifiable scheme to allocate the number of potentially affected users so long as the allocation reflects the relative size of the affected PSAP(s).”

The order also finds “that a ‘loss of  communications’ to a PSAP occurs when there is a network malfunction or higher-level issue that significantly degrades or prevents 911 calls from being completed to PSAPs, including when 80 percent or more of a provider’s trunks serving a PSAP become disabled.”

The Commission also decided to “update the rules regarding reporting of outages affecting ‘special offices and facilities’ by (i) extending the reporting obligation to high-level enrollees in the Telecommunications Service Priority program, (ii) eliminating outdated and non-applicable rules, (iii) narrowing the types of airports that are considered ’special offices and facilities,’ and (iv) limiting outage reporting from airports to critical communications only.”

In addition, it concluded “that direct access to NORS [Network Outage Reporting System] by our state and federal partners is in the public interest, but determine[d] that further consideration is warranted to ensure that the process includes adequate safeguards to maintain the security and confidentiality of sensitive information, and accordingly direct the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (Bureau) to study these issues and develop recommendations for the successful implementation of our information sharing proposals.”

The FNPRM seeks comment on “a proposal to update part 4 [of the agency’s rules] to address broadband network disruptions, including packet-based disruptions based on network performance degradation; proposed changes to the rules governing interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) outage reporting to (i) include disruptions based on network performance degradation, (ii) update our outage definition to address incidents involving specified network components; and (iii) modify the VoIP outage reporting process to make it consistent with other services; reporting of call failures in the radio access network and local access network, and on geography-based reporting of wireless outages in rural areas; and refining the covered critical communications at airports subject to part 4 reporting.”

The agency said the order on reconsideration “limits outage reporting for events affecting airports to outages that impact airport critical communications, and exempts satellite and terrestrial wireless carriers from reporting outages affecting all ‘special offices and facilities,’ extending the exemption previously limited to airports.” – John Curran, john.curran@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily