FCC Denies Request to Extend 9-1-1 Reliability Certifications Deadline
Friday, July 31, 2020 | Comments

The FCC denied a request from USTelecom — The Broadband Association to give broadband service providers an additional 90 days to file their annual 9-1-1 reliability certifications.

In its request, the association argued that the COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges for providers that make it difficult to submit their certifications by the current deadline of October 15.

USTelecom said that providers had taken “extraordinary steps” to keep their customers connected to broadband service including installing new service for customers that cannot currently pay for service, providing “safe service” with limited resources and with employees working remotely and providing service with many employees unable to perform typical job functions due to the pandemic.

Additionally, it argued that “some service providers have placed a moratorium on network change management activities that could affect continuity of service — in particular running down backup power sources as required by manufacturer testing — in order to minimize the risk of disruption to service.”

In denying the request, the FCC said that USTelecom failed to sufficiently state who needs relief from the reporting requirements and why they need such relief, noting that USTelecom did not specify whether it is seeking relief for all covered 9-1-1 service providers, its members that offer broadband services or just USTelecom members who have put those moratoriums in place.

If USTelecom was seeking to get industry relief, it failed to establish why such broad relief was needed, the commission said.

Additionally, the FCC said that the reliability certifications are intended to ensure that 9-1-1 networks are consistently reliable and resilient.

“Holding providers accountable for providing reliable 9-1-1 service depends on their submitting their 9-1-1 reliability certifications in a timely manner,” the FCC said.

The FCC commended the members of USTelecom for pledging to help maintain connectivity during the pandemic but also said that such a pledge should not be used to excuse providers from conducting timely network auditing, testing and maintenance that is essential to ensuring that Americans remain connected, including being provided with reliable, resilient 9-1-1 service at the time when they need it most.

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