Tornados wreaked havoc across portions of the Southern United States and Ohio Valley causing significant loss of life, damage, and network outages. We are especially mindful of our clients and the communities they serve that have been impacted and are prepared to assist to the extent that we can be of help. We also take this opportunity to remind those clients impacted by severe weather events of federal outage reporting obligations.
All communications providers, including wireline, wireless, paging, cable, satellite, Signaling System 7, and interconnected VoIP service providers, must report information in the FCC’s Network Outage Reporting System (NORS) about significant disruptions or outages to their communications systems that meet certain thresholds. Providers that participate in the voluntary Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) should watch for the FCC to activate the system for the affected areas. As of the sending of this e-Lert, the FCC had not yet activated DIRS.
An outage is defined as a significant degradation in the ability of an end user to establish and maintain a channel of communications as a result of failure or degradation in the performance of a communications provider’s network. In addition, communications providers must report disruptions that potentially affect 9-1-1 facilities and airports.
Local Exchange Carriers and other providers must report an outage to the FCC if, among other things, the duration of the outage is at least 30 minutes AND the number of “user minutes” potentially affected per outage is equal to or greater than 900,000. “User minutes” are determined by calculating the number of end users potentially affected by the outage and multiplying that number by the number of minutes of the outage.
If your company experiences a reportable outage, you must file three separate reports with the FCC:
- Notification within two hours after discovery of a reportable outage;
- A more detailed initial outage report within 72 hours; and
- A final outage report within 30 days.
If you participate in DIRS, the FCC requests daily DIRS updates for the duration of the activation. For DIRS participants, NORS reporting obligations are suspended for the duration of the DIRS activation in the identified counties.
If you need assistance with outage reporting, please contact Guy Benson or Amanda Farenthold in the Maryland office at 301-459-7590. Our thoughts are with everyone in the tornados’ path, and JSI stands ready to help in any way we can.