FCC Amends Network Outage Reporting Requirements

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted a Report and Order, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and Order on Reconsideration that are intended to improve and update the communications network outage reporting requirements found in Part 4 of the FCC’s rules.  The Report and Order contains targeted refinements to the existing reporting requirements to enhance the information the FCC receives on outages related to legacy networks and reduce burdens on industry.  Among other things, it updates the reporting metric for outages impacting major transport facilities from a DS3-based to an OC3-based standard, and updates the reporting of wireless outages by adopting a standardized method to calculate the number of users “potentially affected” in an outage.  In the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FCC proposes updates to its Part 4 rules to keep pace with the ongoing transition from legacy to IP-based networks, and the increasing reliance on broadband technology for the delivery of 911 services.  It also proposes updates to the reporting requirements for interconnected VoIP providers, and proposes other changes to better reflect wireless outages in rural areas.  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.”

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