Comment Requested on 9-1-1 Outages Following June Storm (7/19/12)
The FCC released a public notice seeking comment on the background, causes and restoration efforts related to communications services and facilities impacted directly or indirectly by a June 29 storm in the Washington, D.C., area.
The storm caused outages at some 9-1-1 centers in the region, and the FCC wants “to develop a complete and accurate record of all the facts surrounding the outages during this storm as well as outages resulting from natural disasters in order to evaluate the overall resiliency and reliability of our nation’s 9-1-1 systems and services.”
The review will further develop the record in the FCC’s ongoing examination of issues in the April 2011 notice of inquiry (NOI) on the resiliency, reliability and continuity abilities of communications networks, including broadband technologies. In the 2011 NOI, the FCC initiated a comprehensive examination of these issues with the goal of determining what action, if any, the commission should take to ensure that the nation’s communications infrastructure is as reliable as possible and able to continue to function in times of emergency.
From isolated breakdowns in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Pennsylvania to systemic failures in northern Virginia and West Virginia, a significant number of 9-1-1 systems and services were partially or completely down for several days following the June storm.
The FCC is also assessing and evaluating the storm-related information received through the Network Outage Reporting System (NORS) and voluntary Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS). The commission is also coordinating with state and local governments, responsible for establishing and operating 9-1-1 facilities, providing first responder services and regulating certain relevant communications services.
Leaders from the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International attended a series of introductory meetings at the FCC July 18. During these meetings, APCO representatives shared thoughts on the recent 9-1-1 outages that affected the Washington, D.C., area.
APCO’s officials met with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski; Commissioner Mignon Clyburn; staff for Commissioners Robert McDowell, Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai; and Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Chief David Turetsky.
“APCO is pleased to see the commission seek public comment on the recent local 9-1-1 outages, and looks forward to partnering with the FCC and other stakeholders to address the critical questions raised, which will ultimately help prevent future outages from occurring,” said APCO First Vice President Terry Hall. Derek Poarch, APCO’s executive director, and Jeff Cohen, APCO’s chief counsel for law and policy, also attended the meeting.
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