I. INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY
1. In this Report and Order, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) extends the outage reporting requirements in Part 4 of our rules only to interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers. In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in this proceeding, we proposed to take much broader action. Specifically, we proposed to extend Part 4 of the rules to both interconnected VoIP services and broadband Internet services. In addition, we proposed to require reporting of both outages based on the complete loss of service and those where, while service is technically available, technical conditions (such as packet loss, latency and/or jitter) effectively prevent communication. In response to the record developed in this proceeding, we are prepared at this time to adopt reporting requirements only with respect to the complete loss of interconnected VoIP service. Collecting this data will help the Commission help ensure the Nation’s 9-1-1 systems are as reliable and resilient as possible and also allow us to monitor compliance with the statutory 9-1-1 obligations of interconnected VoIP service providers. At this time, we also defer action on possible performance degradation thresholds for measuring an outage of interconnected VoIP service and on all outages of broadband Internet service.
2. Consumers are increasingly using interconnected VoIP services in lieu of traditional telephone service. Interconnected VoIP services allow a wireline or wireless user generally to receive calls from and make calls to the legacy public telephone network, including calls to 9-1-1. As of December 31, 2010, 31 percent of the more than 87 million residential telephone subscriptions in the United States were provided by interconnected VoIP providers —an increase of 21 percent (from 22.4 million to 27.1 million residential lines) in the last year. The public’s increased reliance on interconnected VoIP services is also reflected in 9-1-1 usage trends; we estimate that approximately 31 percent of residential wireline 9-1-1 calls are made using VoIP service.
3. The availability and resilience of our communications infrastructure, specifically 9-1-1, directly impacts public safety and the ability of our first responders to fulfill their critical mission. The most practical, effective way to maintain emergency preparedness and readiness is to work continuously to minimize the incidence of routine outages.
4. The FCC’s public safety mission is one of our core functions, and “promoting safety of life and property” is a foundational reason for the creation of the Commission. More recently, Congress affirmed the Commission’s efforts to accomplish this mission by codifying the requirement for interconnected VoIP providers to provide 9-1-1 services.
5. Consistent with our statutory mission, Presidential Directives and Executive Orders, and related implementing documents charge the Commission with ensuring the resilience and reliability of the Nation’s commercial and public safety communications infrastructure. National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD-51 establishes the framework by which the government can continue to perform its most critical roles during times of emergency. Accordingly, the Commission has the responsibility to ensure continuous operations and reconstitution of critical communications and services. The Commission also plays an active role in Emergency Support Function 2 (ESF2), the communications branch of the National Response Framework, which guides the Nation’s conduct during an all-hazards response. Executive Order 12472 establishing the National Communications System, the functions of which include coordination of the planning for and provision of national security and emergency preparedness communications for the Federal government, also requires FCC participation.
6. We have cause to be concerned about the ability of interconnected VoIP subscribers to reach emergency services when they need them. Several recent, significant VoIP outages highlight our concern about the availability of 9-1-1 over VoIP service:
• On May 25, 2010, according to press reports, a service outage involving the AT&T U-Verse platform involved a server failure that impacted U-Verse interconnected VoIP service in AT&T’s entire 22-state local phone service area serving approximately 1.15 million customers. The reports indicate that the outage lasted for several hours. It remains unclear how many subscribers were unable to reach 9-1-1 and for how long.
• On March 22, 2011, a Comcast outage in 19 New Hampshire communities beginning around 3:30 p.m. left many Comcast customers in those communities unable to make any calls, including 9-1-1 calls. The problem lasted through the evening.
• In June 2010, CenturyLink Internet experienced failures that affected approximately 30,000 customers on the Kitsap Peninsula (near Seattle, Washington), and in a separate outage, affected approximately 100,000 customers across parts of Texas. The Kitsap Peninsula outage lasted an hour according to company sources, but some customers said it lasted four times as long. The Texas outage lasted over eight hours. During the outages, consumers, businesses and government were unable to place 9-1-1 or other calls over VoIP.
• In March 2010, Comcast Internet and Digital Voice service was disrupted to customers in Nashville, Tennessee, and Atlanta, Georgia. Comcast customers experienced severely degraded service for at least two hours. During the outage, local, state, and Federal government department and agency customers of Comcast in the affected areas were unable to make or receive telephone calls. Residential and business subscribers to Comcast Internet and Digital Voice services also were affected by the outage significantly impairing their ability to engage in 9-1-1 and other communications.
7. Commission staff gathered these facts from press accounts. None of these outages was reported directly to the Commission. The current outage reporting requirements are limited to traditional voice and paging communications services over wireline, wireless, cable, and satellite and do not apply to outages affecting interconnected VoIP services. Obtaining outage information for interconnected VoIP service, however, is the most effective method for the Commission to know whether and how well providers are meeting their statutory obligation to provide 9-1-1 and Enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) service. Further, without detailed information about outages that occur, the Commission is unable to analyze communications vulnerabilities, especially as they pertain to 9-1-1 services, or to share aggregate information with industry to help prevent future outages.
8. With the objective of ensuring the availability of 9-1-1 service, this Report and Order:
• extends the Commission’s mandatory outage reporting rules to facilities-based and non-facilities-based interconnected VoIP service providers;
o applies the current Part 4 definition of an outage to outages of interconnected VoIP service, covering the complete loss of service and/or connectivity to customers;
o requires that these providers submit electronically a notification to the Commission within:
• 240 minutes of discovering that they have experienced on any facilities that they own, operate, lease, or otherwise utilize, an outage of at least 30 minutes duration that potentially affects a 9-1-1 special facility, in which case they also shall notify, as soon as possible by telephone or other electronic means, any official who has been designated by the management of the affected 9-1-1 facility as the provider’s contact person for communications outages at that facility;
• in this case, the provider shall convey to that person all available information that may be useful to the management of the affected facility in mitigating the effects of the outage on efforts to communicate with that facility; or
• 24 hours of discovering that these providers have experienced on any facilities that they own, operate, lease, or otherwise utilize, an outage of at least 30 minutes duration that:
• potentially affects at least 900,000 user minutes of interconnected VoIP service and results in complete loss of service; or
• potentially affects any special offices and facilities;
o requires that these providers submit electronically a Final Communications Outage Report to the Commission not later than thirty days after discovering the outage; and
• clarifies that the Part 4 rules apply to voice services provided using new wireless spectrum bands.
9. The outage reporting threshold that we adopt today for interconnected VoIP service is technology-neutral in that it mirrors the existing standard applied to other services covered under Part 4 of the Commission’s rules. Furthermore, the reporting process adopted herein is quite similar to the current process. We recognize that requiring interconnected VoIP service providers to report even significant outages imposes a burden on them, but we have determined that the cost to these providers of implementing the rules adopted herein is justified by the overwhelming public benefit of a reliable 9-1-1 system and firmly grounded in the Commission’s statutory obligation to ensure that reliability 9-1-1 service is provided to users of interconnected VoIP service. Finally, we decide to defer the question of outage reporting requirements for broadband Internet service providers and determine that this issue deserves further study.
10. The 9-1-1 system is part of the Nation’s critical communications infrastructure. The Commission plays a key role ensuring that the communications network promotes public safety, including matters involving the national security and emergency preparedness of the United States. Indeed, Congress established the Commission in part to promote the “safety of life and property.”
11. To perform our statutory and administrative duties effectively, we need timely, accurate and longitudinal information about the nation’s communications infrastructure. Since 1992, the Commission has required wireline providers to report major disruptions to their communications services. In 2004, the Commission extended reporting requirements to providers of wireless (including paging), cable, and satellite communications. With respect to wireless services, the Commission referred to communications that are provided using cellular architecture pursuant to Parts 22, 24 and 90 of the Rules, as well as CMRS paging services.
12. The current outage reporting process under Part 4 involves online submission of very basic information within two hours of discovering the existence of a reportable outage (“Notification”), additional information within 72 hours (“Initial Report”), and a more detailed description of the outage and cause(s) within thirty days (“Final Report”). The online submissions are made via the FCC’s Network Outage Reporting System (NORS), a web-based filing system through which communications providers covered by the Part 4 reporting rules submit reports to the FCC. This system uses an electronic template to promote ease of reporting and encryption technology to ensure the security of the information filed.
13. The Commission uses outage information submitted pursuant to Part 4 of its rules to carry out our mission to promote “safety of life and property” and to fulfill our responsibilities under the Executive Orders describe above by identifying communication system vulnerabilities. Over the last six years, the Commission staff, working with communications providers, has been able to facilitate improved communications resiliency and emergency readiness. The Commission is uniquely positioned to do so. The outage reports identify issues that the Commission needs to address with individual providers whose reports reveal a need for improved reliability. But the Commission also monitors outage reports filed by all reporting providers to identify statistically meaningful trends. Because outage reports are presumed to be confidential, no individual carrier, no matter how diligent or motivated, is positioned to perform that role. When Commission staff identifies a possible area of concern across providers, we gather providers together in coordinated efforts to improve security, reliability and resiliency. Where necessary, the Commission considers policy changes to address persistent problems. Over the years, this work has consistently resulted in reductions in the number of outages, as evidenced by a decrease in the number of outage reports filed. More important, the net decrease in the frequency of reported outages reflects an increase in the reliability of the communications infrastructure, which thereby leads to an increase in the availability of the public safety services that rely on the communications infrastructure. In short, as a result of reporting and our subsequent analysis, measureable reliability improvements have been achieved, and reporting has led to improvements in the engineering, provisioning, and deployment of communications infrastructure and services.
14. In addition, sharing aggregated outage information with providers nationwide has led to the development and refinement of industry best practices, which, in turn, has reduced the number of communications outages. Industry stakeholders and others have recognized the value of these data. For example, wireline outages spiked in 2008, decreasing the reliability of 9-1-1 services. Through ongoing, systematic analysis of monthly wireline outages and subsequent work by the Commission and industry groups, such as the Network Reliability Steering Committee (NRSC) and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), the Commission and industry were able to understand the root causes of this trend, ultimately resulting in the application of improved industry practices that reduced the estimated number of lost 9-1-1 calls by 40 percent. Such dramatic reductions would not have been possible without this bigger picture of industry network reliability made possible by reporting and the sharing of outage data among Commission and industry experts.
15. Unlike legacy service providers, interconnected VoIP service providers are not covered by the Commission’s current outage reporting rules. As a result, the Commission is constrained in its ability to bring interconnected VoIP providers into this process of continual evaluation and improvement. The Communications Act and Commission rules do impose 9-1-1-related obligations on interconnected VoIP service providers. In 2005, the Commission adopted rules requiring providers of interconnected VoIP service to supply E9-1-1 capabilities to their customers as a standard feature from wherever the customer is using the service, including relaying Automatic Number Identification (ANI) and the caller’s Registered Location to the PSAP, designated statewide default answering point, or appropriate local emergency authority. And in 2008, Congress enacted the New and Emerging Technologies 9-1-1 Improvement Act of 2008 that, among other things, amended the 9-1-1 Act to codify the Commission’s E9-1-1 rules for interconnected VoIP providers.
16. Outages to interconnected VoIP service providers negatively affect the ability of interconnected VoIP service providers to meet basic and enhanced 9-1-1 service obligations because, whether or not facilities-based, interconnected VoIP service providers, their 9-1-1 calls are typically established using the standard Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), which does not distinguish between 9-1-1 and other calls. The 9-1-1 call may transit a broadband Internet access service provider and a broadband backbone Internet service provider in order to reach the non-facilities-based interconnected VoIP service provider’s 9-1-1 database for routing instructions to reach the caller’s nearest PSAP. The inability of SIP to distinguish between 9-1-1 and non-emergency interconnected VoIP calls means that outage reporting for all aspects of interconnected VoIP connectivity is necessary to understand and ensure the reliability of 9-1-1 VoIP calls.
17. The outage information received from interconnected VoIP service providers will help the Commission determine the magnitude of their impact on the nationwide 9-1-1 system, whether action can be taken immediately to help providers recover and prevent future outages, and ensure, to the extent possible, that the various VoIP services are prepared for natural and man-made disasters. Such information will allow the Commission to use the same successful process it currently uses with providers of legacy services to refine and develop best practices that will help enhance the reliability of interconnected VoIP service in emergency situations. We expect that the reports will enable the Commission staff, in conjunction with industry, to analyze patterns of interconnected VoIP service outage on an industry-wide basis, in a manner that will lead to measurably improved reliability and outage reductions that have been achieved to date using data from NORS. These benefits will become increasingly important as the use of interconnected VoIP service grows.
18. The National Broadband Plan recommended that the Commission extend the Part 4 outage reporting rules to include, inter alia, interconnected VoIP service providers, and in July 2010, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (Bureau) sought comment in a Public Notice on extending the Part 4 rules to interconnected VoIP services. On May 13, 2011, the Commission adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on, inter alia, extending Part 4 to these services. On September 8, 2011, the Bureau held a public workshop that addressed this subject.
III. NEED FOR COLLECTING OUTAGE INFORMATION ON INTERCONNECTED VOIP SERVICE
A. Need for Requirement
19. As set forth below, we conclude that significant outages of interconnected VoIP service should be reported to the Commission.
20. In the NPRM, we proposed, inter alia, to extend the Part 4 outage reporting requirements to include both facilities-and non-facilities-based interconnected VoIP services. The Commission recognized that monitoring and analysis of outages is needed in light of increasing evidence that major VoIP service outages are occurring and given that such outages may disable 9-1-1 and other service capabilities. Further, because there currently are no Commission requirements to report such outages, the Commission recognized that it is unable to facilitate resolution, analyze underlying causes, and support the development and application of best practices, all of which, together, ultimately leads to a higher level of network reliability that can better support E9-1-1 service and emergency response.
21. Most industry commenters argue that the Commission does not need to collect interconnected VoIP service outage information because service providers have market incentives to ensure that their systems are reliable. Some industry commenters argue that the interconnected VoIP information is unnecessary because broadband network technologies are designed to reroute traffic to avoid loss of service and/or connectivity, and thus an outage of a facility for interconnected VoIP service may have no effect on the ability to continue to send or receive the related traffic. Some industry commenters argue that the burdens of extending the Part 4 requirements outweigh the benefits or are otherwise not justified. State government and commenters from critically important industry sectors, such as finance and utilities, however, support the Commission’s tentative conclusion that this additional outage information is needed to protect the public.
22. Based on the record in this proceeding, we continue to believe that outage reporting is the most effective and least burdensome way to ensure that interconnected VoIP providers are meeting their statutory obligation to provide 9-1-1 service and that, without such reporting, we will continue to have extremely limited visibility into the reliability of access to 9-1-1 emergency services, which impairs our ability to secure improvements in 9-1-1 service reliability and to fulfill our statutory obligations pursuant to the NET9-1-1 Act.
23. To address network reliability issues, the Commission has generally employed the light-touch approach of using outage reporting requirements to facilitate the development and use of voluntary best practices, rather than an approach that relies on such measures as mandating specified levels of performance. Since the institution of the Part 4 rules in 2004, we have reviewed and analyzed outage data on both an individual provider and an aggregated basis. We regularly collaborate with providers to identify the causes of outages, develop and apply best practices to address the causes of both isolated and systemic outages, and in some cases, even facilitate restoration efforts.
24. The Commission is uniquely positioned to piece together an overall picture of aggregated network performance because of the ability to collect and analyze outage data provided by communications providers that would otherwise be disinclined to share sensitive outage data. No single provider – even with strong commercial incentives to ensure that its network performance attracts and retains customers – has the data to spot trends across industry and lead efforts to coordinate effectively with other governmental entities and industry working groups. The Commission’s ability to look at information received from different providers’ outage reports allows us to assess large-scale outages when they occur, thereby increasing the opportunities for federal assistance in dealing with the immediate problem. The following discussion identifies a number of ways that outage reports have served as a uniquely effective precipitating force for improving network reliability – and thus the reliability of 9-1-1 services.
25. Collaboration with Network Reliability Steering Committee. On a quarterly basis, the Commission provides the NRSC with aggregated outage data across all entities subject to Part 4 of the rules and draws attention to those categories of outages showing a statistically significant trend upward in the number of outages. With respect to these categories of outages, the Commission then requests that the NRSC create a team to recommend procedures, best practices and, in some cases, equipment design alterations to address the underlying issue.
26. A complete wireline outage impairs the ability of consumers to reach 9-1-1. Hence, a dramatic reduction in wireline outages will result in a dramatic reduction in lost 9-1-1 calls. In 2008, the frequency of wireline outages was increasing at a rate of 3.5 percent per month. The Commission referred this situation to the NRSC, which analyzed the major causes of these outages and recommended best practices to reverse the trend. The NRSC team found that the substantial increase in wireline outages was due primarily to cable damage, identified a set of best practices that would prevent these types of outages, and released to the public a bulletin describing their findings. As the chart below illustrates, during the six-month period when the Commission worked with the NRSC to reverse the trend in wireline outages, there was a more than 40-percent reduction in the estimated lost 9-1-1 calls due to wireline outages.
27. Moreover, the Commission also has addressed several other types of outage problems that are not reflected in the Figure 1 data. In 2005 and 2006, analysis of NORS data revealed an extremely high incidence of outages affecting back-up-paths (i.e., those paths that handle traffic when the primary paths fail) in high-capacity transport circuits. The Commission requested that the NRSC develop and implement revisions to existing best practices to reduce the length of time that back-up-paths were inoperative. In the months following the Commission’s referral of this problem to the NRSC, the number of these outages dropped by more than 65 percent, increasing the resiliency of the communications infrastructure and the availability of public safety communication services.
28. In 2009, analysis of data filed in NORS revealed a high incidence of outages affecting the portion of the network dedicated to 9-1-1 (i.e., dedicated routers and trunks responsible for routing 9-1-1 calls to emergency dispatch operators). Again, the Commission worked with the NRSC to identify best practices that would prevent these problems. A year later, these outages had decreased by 13 percent.
29. In 2011, following widespread wireless 9-1-1 failures in the Washington, D.C. area during a major snowstorm, the Commission referred an issue regarding Centralized Automatic Message Accounting trunk performance to the NRSC. After studying the problem, the NRSC recommended changes in equipment settings and emergency procedures that have been applied nationwide to resolve an issue that was causing trunks carrying traffic to PSAPs to go out of service.
30. Coordination with Individual Providers. Based on analyzing outage data, the Commission has been able to spot statistically significant upward trends in the number of outages filed by particular providers, trends that the provider had either not identified or not addressed adequately. In these cases, the Commission contacts the provider and works with it to identify causes and solutions. In several such cases, service providers have implemented large-scale improvements to their networks. The net result of reducing the number of reportable outages is increased resiliency of the communications infrastructure and availability of the public safety services that rely on the communications infrastructure. For example:
o In 2006, after NORS analysis revealed a major outage, the provider, at the Commission’s urging, implemented an audit program across its entire footprint to monitor the diversity of all major facilities, including critical 9-1-1 and Signaling System 7 (SS7) facilities. The importance of this work was magnified because the source of these outages was a Digital Cross Connect System, a major hub for traffic in carrier networks.
o In 2008, after NORS analysis revealed a large increase in the number of wireless outages affecting access to 9-1-1, a major wireless provider instituted new monitoring capabilities on its links and aggressively worked with the companies from which it leased facilities to improve the reliability of the facilities. By 2009, the number of this type of outage had decreased by 60 percent.
o In 2006, after NORS analysis revealed a large outage affecting B and D links, resulting in 3.5 million blocked calls, a major provider instituted new rules on the sizing of B or D links to ensure the links in the SS7 networks are not overloaded.
o In 2009, after NORS analysis revealed that software problems were the root cause of an unusually high number of outage reports over the course of several months, a major provider replaced dense wavelength division multiplexing amplifier cards to correct the situation.
31. Identification of Industrywide Issues Through NORS Analysis. In 2010, Commission staff discerned from outage reports that a significant number of outages associated with delivery of 9-1-1 services were being caused by a relatively small number of factors, each of which could be addressed by applying a known best practice. For example, Network Operators and Service Providers should consider placing and maintaining 9-1-1 circuits over diverse interoffice transport facilities and deploy Diverse Automatic Location Identification systems used in Public Safety. The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) issued a Public Notice urging communications providers to implement these practices widely in their networks.
32. Leveraging Outage Data to Assist Emergency Response. During emergency situations, the Commission assists emergency response by providing “Notification” data in NORS directly to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where it is used to support restoration efforts and emergency response. The Commission also uses it to provide real-time support to PSAPs that have been affected by a 9-1-1 outage.
33. For example, during Hurricane Katrina, the Commission received over 65 reports of outages from 21 providers. NORS data was the Federal government’s primary and best source of information about the condition of critical communications infrastructure in the disaster area. Using this information, the Commission was able to obtain FEMA’s assistance in maintaining operations in a vital communications hub in New Orleans, the Poydras St. Central Office. Specifically, outage data identified the importance of this particular switch to maintaining communications to a major part of the affected area, and it also revealed that the central office was down due to lack of power. In order to restore the functioning of the switch, personnel needed to access the area to provide fuel for the generators. Once the switch was functioning normally, it required security protection to ensure continued operations and stable access to fuel and back-up power. Based on information that the Commission provided to FEMA, U.S. Marshals were sent to secure the site.
34. In the years since Hurricane Katrina, the Commission, working with industry stakeholders, has developed and implemented a voluntary reporting system – Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) — for use in large-scale emergencies. The decision to activate DIRS is based in large part on data that is made available to the Commission through NORS, which remains the Commission’s most expedient way to become aware of the effect on communications of major man-made and natural disasters. DIRS covers a broader range of communications than those services reported through NORS under Part 4 and is also used to track restoration efforts. Typically, we suspend NORS reporting in favor of the more comprehensive and more flexible DIRS system in the disaster area for the duration of the crisis. For example, in the wake of the unprecedented tornadoes in Missouri and Southern states and flooding of the Mississippi River in 2011, NORS data was the Commission’s first view of the extent of the damage to communications facilities in those areas. In each case, NORS data was a critical factor in the decision making process of the Federal agencies involved to escalate the reporting requested of industry in connection with the disaster. DIRS was activated in both of these cases, and the information received assisted emergency response and resource allocation decisions in those disaster areas.
35. We believe that these examples show that our intervention, guided by outage reporting data, has resulted in tangible improvements to the communications reliability necessary to support 9-1-1 service. As reflected above, no single provider – even with strong commercial incentives to ensure that its network performance attracts and retains customers – has the data to spot trends across industry and lead efforts to coordinate effectively with other governmental entities and industry working groups. Indeed, we have seen that individual providers do not always take steps within their own operations to address reliability problems unique to themselves. We thus disagree with commenters who argue that market incentives eliminate the need for network outage reporting to the Commission. In addition, we are not persuaded by the claims of a few commenters that outage reporting is unnecessary because broadband technologies reliably reroute traffic or that market incentives are sufficient to prevent significant outages. We find that these claims are belied by the rise in the incidence of significant VoIP outages. Further, the extent to which network rerouting is successful in preventing outages cannot be determined in the absence of outage data. Observers in critical infrastructure industries and in government, domestically and abroad, are becoming increasingly aware of the need to track reliability data obtained from services relying on broadband technologies to help ensure the reliability of emergency services and critical communications.
36. Further, reporting outage data is the most efficient means for the Commission to ensure that interconnected VoIP service providers are complying with their statutory obligation to provide 9-1-1 service, and to obtain critical information needed to monitor the reliability and availability of VoIP 9-1-1/E9-1-1 services. As indicated above, both the Act and the Commission’s rules mandate that interconnected VoIP service providers provide 9-1-1 and E9-1-1 service, and the rules we adopt today will provide the Commission with a mechanism in place to monitor whether these providers are complying with this basic obligation. Requiring interconnected VoIP service providers to promptly file reports when they experience outages that meet certain thresholds appears vastly superior, for example, to a complaint-driven process; the latter would likely be ineffective in enabling the Commission to detect and resolve quickly (with assistance from the providers involved) failures in the provision of 9-1-1 and E9-1-1 service.
B. Mandatory or Voluntary Requirement
37. As discussed below, we conclude that reporting significant outages of interconnected VoIP service should be mandatory.
38. In the NPRM, the Commission proposed mandatory reporting of significant outages for interconnected VoIP service providers. Mandatory reporting would permit the Commission to obtain a comprehensive, nationwide view of significant outages and assess and address their impact on 9-1-1 and other services, whereas voluntary reporting would likely create substantial gaps in data that would thwart efforts to monitor compliance with statutory obligations and to analyze and facilitate improvement of the Nation’s 9-1-1 system. Therefore, we tentatively concluded that long-term voluntary reporting would serve neither the Nation nor the public well, particularly in light of our negative experience with voluntary reporting from providers of legacy services before the adoption of Part 4.
39. Some commenters suggest that, if the Commission extends its outage reporting rules, then reporting should be entirely voluntary, with some arguing that existing voluntary efforts by providers and their ongoing involvement in public-private coordination efforts to share information and promulgate best practices are sufficient to minimize risks to the communications infrastructure. Several industry parties argue that any reporting process should be voluntary and modeled after the voluntary DIRS. Several providers argue that, if the Commission moves forward, there should be an interim period of up to two years before outage reporting becomes mandatory.