Outage Reporting Requirements Reminder

We wish everyone a happy and safe end of the summer, but given that we are in the midst of hurricane season, we are sending this brief reminder on the Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC” or the “Commission”) requirements for network outages. 
Pursuant to Part 4 of the Commission’s Rules, communications providers, including, but not limited to wireline, wireless, interconnected VoIP and cable providers, are required to electronically report Notification, Initial and Final Reports of certain disruptions and outages to their systems.  Wireline, wireless and cable operators must submit Notification Reports to the Commission within 120 minutes of discovering they have experienced on any of their facilities, an outage of at least 30 minutes’ duration:
  • of a Mobile Switching Center (for wireless providers only);
  • that potentially impacts at least 900,000 user minutes of telephony or paging service;
  • affects at least 667 Optical Carrier 3 (“OC3”) minutes;[1]
  • potentially affects special offices and facilities, including, but not limited to, major military installations, key government facilities, nuclear power plants and current primary airports;[2] or
  • potentially affects 911 special facilities. [3]
Interconnected VoIP providers must provide Notification to the Commission within 240 minutes of discovering they have experienced an outage of at least 30 minutes’ duration that potentially affects a 911 special facility.  Interconnected VoIP providers have 24 hours to report Notification to the Commission of outages that last for at least 30 minutes and affects at least 900,000 user minutes or affects special offices and facilities.
If the outage potentially affects a 911 special facility, the provider shall also notify, as soon as possible, the designated official for communications outages of the affected 911 facility, and the provider shall convey to that person all information that may be useful to the management of the facility in mitigating the effects of the outage.
Not later than 72 hours after discovering the outage, wireline, wireless and cable operators shall electronically file an Initial Communications Outage Report with the Commission.  Not later than 30 days after discovering the outage, wireline, wireless, interconnected VoIP and cable providers must electronically file a Final Communications Outage Report. 
Reports should be filed through the Network Outage Reporting System (“NORS”), the FCC’s web-based filing system.  The NORS login is accessible athttps://www.fcc.gov/licensing-databases/fcc-user-login.  All outage data will be presumed confidential.  During times of crises, communications providers may also, voluntarily, submit information on the status of their equipment, restoration efforts and power through the Disaster Information Reporting System (“DIRS”).  The Commission will active DIRS for counties affected by the crisis.  Providers that participate in DIRS are waived from their Network Outage Reporting obligations via NORS for the duration of the DIRS activation.
If you have any questions or concerns about these rules now or during the time of an outage, please let us know.   For our friends, clients and colleagues in the path of Irma and who are cleaning up from Harvey, please stay safe.

[1] OC3 minutes = Duration of an Outage in Minutes x (Number of Assigned Numbers potentially affected by the outage + Number of Administrative Numbers, the numbers used by providers to perform internal administrative functions, potentially affected). 47 C.F.R. § 4.7.
[2] For wireless providers, special offices and facilities does not include airports through direct service facility agreements. 
[3] See 47 C.F.R. § 4.5(a) for definition of outage.  See also 47 C.F.R. § 4.5(c) and (e) for outages that affect an airport or 911 special facility that require reporting.