FCC Releases Order to Allow Sharing of Communications Outage Information
The FCC has released a Second Report and Order that would allow read-only direct access to the FCC’s Network Outage Reporting System (NORS) and Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) databases to “need to know” agencies acting on behalf of the federal government, the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Tribal Nations, and the U.S. territories. The Order does not allow local governments direct access to the databases. Rather, it permits (but does not require) participating agencies with direct access to provide local entities indirect access on a “need to know” basis where the information pertains to a specific imminent or on-going public safety event.
Local agencies or other non-participating agencies that seek NORS and DIRS information must first provide certification to the participating agency supplying the information that they will treat the information as confidential, not publicly disclose it absent a finding by the Commission that allows them to do so, securely destroy the information when the public safety event that warrants its access to the information has concluded, and have completed security training using participating agencies’ training materials. Non-participating entities cannot share this information with other entities (even where the entity would fit the “need to know” criteria).
The Order rejects industry requests that urged the Commission to preempt state outage reporting requirements.
The effective date of the Order is September 30, 2022.