Federal Communications Commission fcc 13-158 Before the Federal Communications Commission

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Federal Communications Commission FCC 13-158

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
Improving 911 Reliability
Reliability and Continuity of Communications Networks, Including Broadband Technologies







PS Docket No. 13-75

PS Docket No. 11-60

Adopted: December 12, 2013 Released: December 12, 2013

By the Commission: Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel issuing separate statements; Commissioners Pai and O’Rielly dissenting and issuing separate statements.

Table of Contents

I. introduction 1

II. Background 7

A. 911 Network Architecture 7

B. FCC Approach to Communications Reliability 10

C. June 2012 Derecho 15

D. PSHSB Derecho Report 19

E. 911 Reliability Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 22


A. Need for Commission Action 23

1. Voluntary Measures Alone Have Proven Inadequate 24

2. 911 Reliability is a Nationwide Concern 31

B. Entities Subject to Rules 36

C. Implementation Approach 44

1. Reasonable 911 Reliability Measures Required 45

2. Annual Reliability Certification 48

3. Implementation Approaches Not Adopted 66

4. Costs and Benefits of Commission Action 73

D. Certification Requirements 80

1. Circuit Diversity Audits 80

2. Central-Office Backup Power 106

3. Network Monitoring 131

E. PSAP Outage Notification 139

F. Legal Authority 148

G. Confidentiality 151

H. Review and Sunset of Rules 159

I. Authority Delegated to PSHSB 163

IV. PROCEDURAL Matters 164

A. Final Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis 164

B. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis 165

C. Congressional Review Act 167

V. ordering clauses 168

APPENDIX A - List of Commenters

APPENDIX B - Final Rules

APPENDIX C - Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis


II.In this Report and Order, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) adopts rules to improve the reliability and resiliency of 911 communications networks nationwide by requiring that 911 service providers take reasonable measures to provide reliable 911 service, as evidenced by an annual certification. Providers can comply with this requirement by either implementing certain industry-backed “best practices” we adopt today, or by implementing alternative measures that are reasonably sufficient to ensure reliable 911 service. We also require 911 service providers to provide public safety answering points (PSAPs) with timely and actionable notification of 911 outages.

III.This action follows the devastating impact many of these networks experienced as a result of the unanticipated “derecho” storm in June 2012.1 This storm swiftly struck the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic United States, leaving millions of Americans without 911 service and revealing significant, but avoidable, vulnerabilities in 911 network architecture, maintenance, and operation. After a comprehensive inquiry into the causes of 911 outages during the derecho, as well as 911 network reliability more generally, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB or Bureau) determined that many of these failures could have been mitigated or avoided entirely through implementation of network-reliability best practices and other sound engineering principles.2

IV.In adopting these rules, we seek to maximize flexibility and account for differences in network architectures without sacrificing 911 service reliability. Accordingly, service providers may certify annually that they have implemented certain industry-backed “best practices” that we adopt herein, or that they have taken alternative measures reasonably sufficient in light of the provider’s particular facts and circumstances to ensure reliable 911 service so long as they briefly describe such measures and provide supporting documentation to the Commission. Similarly, service providers may respond by demonstrating that a particular certification element is not applicable to their networks, but they must include a brief explanation of why the element does not apply.

V.The measures we adopt today are based on best practices developed by the Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC), with refinements designed to add clarity and specific guidance regarding how those practices should be implemented in the context of 911 networks. The certification standards we adopt today are based on best practices identified by CSRIC as critical3 or highly important,4 indicating that they significantly reduce the potential for a catastrophic failure of communications or – at a minimum – improve the likelihood of emergency call completion.

VI.Based on the information included in the certifications, we may require remedial action to correct vulnerabilities in a service provider’s 911 network if we determine that (a) the service provider has not, in fact, adhered to the best practices incorporated in our rules or, (b) in the case of providers employing alternative measures, that those measures were not reasonably sufficient to mitigate the associated risks of failure in one or more of these three key areas. We delegate authority to the Bureau to review certification information and follow up with service providers as appropriate to address deficiencies revealed by the certification process.

VII.Finally, we amend our outage reporting rules under Part 4 to clarify Covered 911 Service Providers’ obligations to provide PSAPs with timely and actionable notification of outages affecting 911 service. As with the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) preceding this item, today’s Report and Order continues to “build[] on the Commission’s previous efforts to ensure that the public has access to a state-of-the-art, reliable, and resilient 911 communications system.”5

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