FCC Adopts Outage Reporting Requirements for VoIP Providers

Regulation Watch

FCC Adopts Outage Reporting Requirements for VoIP Providers

This article originally appeared in the May 2012 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine.

On Feb. 21 the FCC (News - Alert) released an order applying outage reporting requirements to interconnected VoIP providers (IVPs). The rules will become effective upon their approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act by the Office of Management and Budget, which is expected in the next several months. (The FCC is predicting an effective date sometime in August, 2012, but it could be sooner).

The order requires IVPs to report any “outage,” which is “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.”

Under the new rules, IVPs must submit electronically a confidential notification to the commission within: 1) 240 minutes of discovering that they have experienced an outage of at least 30 minutes duration that potentially affects certain public safety 911 facilities, in which case they must also notify the facility’s designated liaison; or 2) 24 hours of discovering that the provider has experienced an outage of at least 30 minutes duration that either potentially affects at least 900,000 user minutes resulting in complete loss of service, or potentially affecting any special offices and facilities (i.e., major military installations, key government facilities, nuclear power plants, certain airports, etc.).

The order also requires that providers submit electronically a “Final Communications Outage Report” to the commission not later than 30 days after discovering the outage.

The FCC’s intention is that “non-facilities-based VoIP providers report service outages that meet the threshold to the extent that they have access to information on service outages affecting their customers.” The outage reporting requirements are another step in the FCC’s application of carrier-type regulations on VoIP providers.

 William B. Wilhelm (News - Alert) is a partner and Jeffrey R. Strenkowski is counsel at the global law firm of Bingham McCutchen LLP (www.bingham.com).

Edited by Stefania Viscusi