Beginning in October 2022, providers offering access to 911 service will be required to create and make available on their websites maps depicting geographic areas experiencing service outages that meet a specified reporting threshold (defined below). The new public outage map requirement applies to all facilities-based Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), wireless, and traditional landline providers in California.

Telecom Outage Reporting Requirements

In 2020, the state of California approved telecommunications outage reporting requirements promulgated by the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). Since then, all facilities-based wireline and wireless service providers in California that provide access to 911 service have been required to notify Cal OES when a "community isolation outage" occurs.

As we explained in an earlier post, a "community isolation outage" is an event that (i) lasts at least 30 minutes, (ii) "limits a telecommunications service provider's end users' ability to make 911 calls or receive emergency notifications," and (iii) affects a threshold percentage of customers.

  • For wireline telecommunications, VoIP, or IP-enabled service providers, the outage must affect at least 100 end users in a single ZIP code or at least 50 percent of end users in a ZIP code with fewer than 100 end users.
  • For mobile telephone service providers, the outage must affect at least 50 percent of the carrier's coverage area in a single ZIP code.

Updates to the Regulations

In April 2022, Cal OES noticed a rulemaking to update the regulations in accordance with its obligations to implement Senate Bill 341. Earlier this month, Cal OES finalized the regulations. There were two major changes to reporting community isolation outages as defined above:

  • Within 60 minutes of discovering an outage, all VoIP, wireless (i.e., mobile telephony), and wireline providers must make a public outage map available on their websites identifying (i) the geographic area impacted by the outage, (ii) the ZIP code(s) of the impacted area, and (iii) the type of outage. The map must be updated at least once every six hours from the most recent notification until the service is restored.
  • The reporting threshold for wireless outages by mobile telephony service providers is reduced from 50% to 25% of the wireless carrier's coverage area in a single ZIP code.

The new regulations go into effect on October 1, 2022. Please contact us if you have questions or need clarification about these requirements.