Yesterday, the FCC held its "Workshop/Webinar" on the pending proposal to extend the outage reporting requirements to interconnected VoIP and to broadband service providers. We've noted several times that the FCC staff appears to be in favor of extending these rules. At yesterday's workshop, two FCC Commissioners made statements that also signal their support.
FCC Chairman Genachowski, in his prepared remarks, stressed the growing importance of non-traditional communications technologies. His position on application of the FCC's outage reporting rules to these technologies is clear:
A growing number of people are cutting the cord and replacing their phone lines with mobile service. Others are using VoIP and cable for phone calls. We want our outage reporting systems to keep pace with those changes.
So, too, is Commissioner Copps' position. In his remarks to the same workshop, Commissioner Copps stated:
I was pleased to support last May’s NPRM exploring network outage reporting for VoIP and Broadband services. It's long past time for us to get beyond thinking about critical communications as just traditional voice and to realize consumers don’t make a lot of these distinctions that so often seem to fixate us and stymie us here in Washington, and especially they don’t make them when they are in trouble and need action fast. Consumers expect to communicate using all the tools at their disposal, and certainly they expect to get and should get the critical information they need through their IP-based services.
VoIP providers raised many jurisdictional objections to the FCC proposal. At the policy level, at least, these two Commissioners seem convinced that extension of the outage reporting requirements is a good idea.