FCC Includes 988 Under NORS Reporting
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now adopted rules to ensure timely reporting of 988 outages to the Commission via NORS similar to 911 outage reporting. For 911, when there is an outage, service providers must report in NORS and notify the PSAPS. For any 988 outage, originating service providers must report in NORs and report to the Department of Health and Human Service’s (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the 988 Lifeline administrator. The reporting will enable them to inform the public of alternate ways to connect to the 988 Lifeline and to take steps to reroute 988 calls to available crisis centers while the outages are restored.
988 is the universal telephone number for the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Hotline System. Since its July 16, 2022 effective date, the 988 Lifeline has answered nearly five million calls, texts, and chat messages to provide immediate support to people experiencing a suicidal or mental health crisis.
Unfortunately, on December 1, 2022, the 988 Lifeline experienced a nationwide service outage that lasted several hours and rendered the lifeline inaccessible to voice callers. Once the Department of Health and Human Services became aware of the outage, the outage was announced on Twitter and alternative ways to contact the 988 Lifeline were provided. This outage prompted the FCC action.
Who Must Report
Originating Service Providers, including cable, satellite, wireless, wireline, interconnected VoIP providers, which have a role in delivering 988 calls.
Where To Report
• The Commission’s Network Outage Reporting System (NORS). A checkbox will be added to NORS for reporting providers to clearly indicate whether a reported outage potentially affects a 988 special facility AND
• To 988 Special Facilities – The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the 988 Lifeline administrator (currently Vibrant Emotional Health).
• Originating service providers and 988 special facilities can mutually agree to alternate means of outage notification.
What To Report
Outages that affect at least 900,000 user-minutes and last at least 30 minutes in duration. Service Providers must also provide updates on outages that last longer than two hours and resolution and restoration of outages.
Originating service providers must comply the latest of (1) 30 days after the Commission issues a Public Notice (2) 90 days after the publication of the summary of this Report and Order in the Federal Register, or (3) the date the Commission’s updated 911 outage reporting and notification rules go into effect.
JSI will notify clients of the effective date once it is announced.
For additional information or questions concerning the new 988 Outage reporting, please contact Bridget Alexander White or call 301-459-7590.