The Federal Communications Commission, also known as the FCC, is an independent government agency in the USA that is responsible for regulating the radio, television and phone industries. They regulate all communications like wire, satellite, and cable for interstate and international communications.
Back in October 2015, the FCC released a docket with different rules and regulations that were to take effect at different stages. In the document, the FCC made rules and regulations to promote continued access to 911 in the event of a power outage. They made it a requirement that providers of facilities-based and fixed residential voice services offer their customers the option to purchase a backup solution. In the beginning, the backup solution had to be capable of 8 hours of standby power and in the next three years had to upgrade to 24 hours of standby power.
Well, the three-year mark is fast approaching. On February 13th, 2019, all service providers must offer to sell a backup solution that is capable of 24 hours of standby backup power.
As per the docket, the provider can offer the backup power obligation at their own discretion by: “(i) A complete solution including battery or other power source; or (ii) Installation by the provider of a component that accepts or enables the use of a battery or other backup power source that the subscriber obtains separately.”
Basically, if the provider can not offer a complete solution (option 1) then they must install a compatible battery or power source if their subscriber requests it. The backup solution the service provider chooses must include power for all of the provider’s devices that need to be powered to make an emergency call.
Not only do service providers have to provide a solution to for 24 hours of standby backup power, but they must also make known the following information:
“(ii) Service limitations with and without backup power;
(iii) Purchase and replacement information, including cost;
(iv) Expected backup power duration;
(v) Proper usage and storage conditions, including the impact on duration of failing to adhere to proper usage and storage;
(vi) Subscriber backup power self-testing and -monitoring instructions; and
(vii) Backup power warranty details, if any.” (as per the docket)
The FCC is trying to promote the education behind continued access to 911 services and backup services. If you are a reseller, simply posting the information on your website or within the private subscriber portal is not a compilable way to meet the requirements. Service Provider Resellers must post the above information and offer the solution to their customers.
I know this is a lot and can be overwhelming, especially if you are a Service Provider Reseller. We at Bicom Systems wanted to let our partners know about this change. However, all Service Provider Resellers should have been offering 8-hour backup power supplies at the point of sale since the docket was released in 2015.
If you are a Bicom Systems partner and would like more information on how you should handle these new requirements, please contact us today.
UPDATE APRIL 16/2020
Although Bicom Systems does not offer equipment for backup power supplies, we can connect you with companies who do! A few of our existing partners are MSPs and provide solutions for those looking for backup solutions.
Our team also works with attorney and telecom expert Kris Twomey. Learn from Kris about regulatory issues and compliance for VoIP providers in the USA here.