FCC Seeks Comment on 9-1-1 Reliability Rules, Wireless Network Resiliency
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 | Comments

The FCC seeks comment on two issues surrounding 9-1-1 service. First, the commission wants comment on its rules regarding the reliability of the nation’s 9-1-1 networks, including notification to public-safety answering points (PSAPs) of network outages affecting 9-1-1 service.

Under current commission rules, “covered 911 service providers” are required to:
• Take “reasonable measures” to ensure 9-1-1 circuit diversity, availability of central office backup power, and diverse network monitoring;
• Certify annually to their performance of these measures or to alternative measures demonstrated to be reasonably sufficient to mitigate the risk of failure; and
• Notify PSAPs of outages that potentially affect them.

When the FCC adopted these rules, it committed to review them in five years to determine whether they remain technologically appropriate, and both adequate and necessary to ensure the reliability and resiliency of 9-1-1 networks.

The commission invites interested parties to provide comments and other information regarding how effective these provisions have been in practice, and whether these provisions should be modified to adapt to advancements in technology or other changes. The FCC will use the record from the public notice to recommend next steps, if any, for the commission’s consideration.

Comments are due July 16, and reply comments are due Aug. 13. The full notice is here.

Secondly, the FCC is reviewing the overall efficacy of the wireless network resiliency cooperative framework. Since its initiation in 2016, the framework has provided a systematic approach to enhancing coordination during disasters to protect the reliability of wireless networks.

“Our goal is to ensure that this voluntary industry commitment to promote resilient wireless communications and situational awareness during disasters is robust and effective,” the notice said.

Therefore, the FCC seeks public comment on potential methods of measuring the effectiveness of the framework, determining the extent of the framework’s use, and further promoting awareness of the framework. The commission also wants input on ways to further facilitate improvements to the framework, including by soliciting voluntary commitments from backhaul providers to address processes and best practices for information sharing for network restoration and coordination during disasters.

Comments are due July 16, and reply comments are due July 31. The full notice is here.

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On 6/14/18, Stan Santos said:
AT&T does not build true Sonet rings and cannot guarantee immediate restoration of service in the event of damage to buried fiber or copper cable. Cable failures occur frequently in rural areas affecting community and government services 9-1-1 and cell towers due to digging, drilling, tunneling or other work in the substrate. Under true Sonet architecture, a simple side switch moves traffic to an alternate path. With no true Sonet rings, service cannot be restored until the system receives an alarm, and if monitored, a crew is dispatched to locate and repair, which may take up to 24 hours or more.

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