On February 21, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission issued a Report and Order ("Order") adopting outage reporting requirements for both facilities-based and non-facilities-based interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol ("VoIP") service providers on a mandatory basis in order to further ensure reliable 9-1-1 service. Outage notification and reporting requirements currently apply to a variety of voice providers, including wireline carriers, CMRS providers, cable companies, and satellite providers. The Commission's final action was narrower than had been first suggested in 2011, when the FCC also proposed to extend outage reporting requirements to providers of broadband Internet services. In short, interconnected VoIP providers will be subject to notification and reporting requirements only in the event of complete loss of service. Their reporting obligations do not extend to situations where service is technically available but technical conditions effectively prevent communication. Rather, the FCC deferred action on performance degradation thresholds for measuring an outage of interconnected VoIP service and all action relative to outages of broadband Internet services. Finally, the Commission clarified that Part 4 of its rules relating to outage reporting applies to voice services provided using new wireless spectrum bands.
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