FCC Chair Recommending Rules for More Resilient 911

Derecho report finds that 911 failures during storm were mostly avoidable
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According to a high-level FCC official on
background, the FCC Thursday will release its report on communications failures
in last summer's Derecho storm and -- in concert with that report -- FCC
Chairman Julius Genachowski will announce plans to produce new rules to
strengthen the resiliency of nationwide 911 communications.

to the source, the report points out that the storm resulted in 22 deaths and
left millions without power, as well as some 2 million people unable to reach
911 due to disruption in communications.

report says those communications failures came in large part due to avoidable
planning and system failures, including the lack of working backup power. The
report concluded that the 911 problems could have been avoided if companies had
simply followed industry best practices and guidance.

report calls those failures unacceptable and recommends the FCC take steps to
insure that service providers 1) conduct audits of 911 circuits; 2) have
adequate backup power and regularly maintain and test their systems; 3) have
"adequate" network monitoring; and 4) have a more specific
responsibility to notify call centers about communications breakdowns. The
FCC's investigation found that 77 call serving over 3.6 million people lost
some connectivity.

report also says next generation IP-based 911 should improve reliability and

officials would not comment on the report's section on broadcasting, but
sources say it generally gives the medium props for its lack of communications