FCC Seeks to Ensure Continuity of Communications During Emergencies

Pete CodellaBroadband

FCC-LogoOn August 6, 2015, the Federal Communications (FCC) Commission adopted rules to “help ensure that consumers have the information and tools necessary to maintain landline home telephone service during emergencies.” The Report and Order issues new rules that require modern voice service providers to give their consumers more information about emergency power situations and to adequately cover consumer emergency power needs with adequate solutions.

In the Report and Order, the FCC stipulates that voice service providers must provide consumers with suitable emergency power capabilities and that “8 hours of backup power is the appropriate amount of time to afford consumers with the continuity of power in the critical hours immediately after a power outage.” The decision is based on US Telecom sources stating that, “provisioning eight hours of backup power is consistent with industry standards and reflects what VoIP providers currently employ.”

The FCC rule that consumers be better informed of their emergency power options requires that providers include a “technical solution for eight hours of standby backup power” at the point of sale. This rule also creates a three-year period that service providers have to offer “an option for 24 hours of standby backup power.” Additionally, the rules require providers to inform all customers about service limitations and steps to minimize risk during electric outages.

These rules have been designed to aid customers who no longer use copper-based land lines and are integrated into “modern alternatives which usually need backup power to keep operating.” The FCC also stated in its press release that this “action will empower consumers to make informed choices and support their need for 911 service during emergencies.”

Click here to read the full Report and Order (FCC 15-98).

Click here to read the press release from August 6, 2015.