Outage Reporting Reminder for Clients Affected by Tornado Outbreak

2021-12-13T15:59:10-05:00December 13, 2021|e-Lerts|

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:

  1.   Notification within two hours after discovery of a reportable outage;
  2.   A more detailed initial outage report within 72 hours; and
  3.   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.

FCC Proposes Changes to 911 Reporting Requirements

2020-05-04T10:54:30-04:00May 4, 2020|e-Lerts|

The FCC released a Public Notice seeking comment on proposed modifications to certifications and outage reporting of Covered 911 Providers (comment date is pending). The rules would affect both the Network Outage Reporting System (NORS) reports and the 911 Reliability annual certifications. The FCC believes that the proposed changes would help identify when there is an outage that impacts 911, clarify each entity’s obligation, and track progress towards improved reliability.

You are a Covered 911 Service Provider if you provide 911, E911 or NG911 capabilities, such as call routing, automatic location information, automatic number identification, or the functional equivalent of those capabilities, directly to a public safety answering point (PSAP), statewide default answering point, or appropriate local emergency authority and/or operate one or more central offices that directly serve a PSAP.

NORS Reporting
Proposed changes to NORS would increase the details Covered 911 Providers must report, to include 1) identification as a Covered 911 Provider via a drop-down menu, and 2) if the reported outage affected any 911 service, and if yes, which 911 special facilities were affected by the outage, whether they were notified and, if so, how they were notified.

JSI reminds clients it is important to be sure you have current contact information for any 911 facility served. Current outage reporting rules require that within 30 minutes of discovering an outage that potentially affects a 911 special facility, you must notify any official who has been designated as your contact(s) for communications outages at that 911 facility and convey all available information that may be useful in mitigating the effects of the outage, as well as a name, telephone number, and email address at which you can be reached for follow-up. This initial notice to the 911 facility contact must be followed with additional information no later than two hours after the initial contact. Note this requirement to directly contact the 911 facility is in addition to the NORS notifications and reports.

Annual 911 Reliability Certifications
Modifications are also proposed to the annual certifications required of Covered 911 Service Providers. First, to determine if a covered carrier has responsibility for providing diverse facilities, the Covered 911 Provider will need to select if they perform the following functions:

  1. 911, E911 or NG911 call routing through a selective router or its functional equivalent;
  2. Aautomatic location information or automatic number information database lookup capability or its functional equivalent; and
  3. Direct service to a PSAP by one or more central offices it operates, including administrative lines to a PSAP, statewide default answering point, or appropriate local emergency authority.

The functions your company provides will determine if you are responsible for providing diverse facilities to the PSAP.

Second, a new text field is proposed for the Covered 911 Service Provider to provide a summary of improvements they have made to the 911 system in the past year. This added field will be optional.

For questions about either current 911 reporting rules or these proposed rules, please contact Valerie Wimer or Marty Kluh at 301-459-7590.

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