As we discussed previously, the FCC is proposing to extend outage reporting obligations to interconnected VoIP providers, broadband Internet access providers and to Internet "backbone" providers.  With the release of the text of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we now know the specific triggers the FCC is proposing to use for these providers.

In a first, the FCC is proposing to set the triggers based on packet loss, average round-trip latency and average jitter measurements.  This proposal essentially would set minimum service quality standards for IP-enabled services — another first for the FCC.

Specifically, the Commission is proposing to require outage reports when an event affects at least 900,000 user minutes and involves any of the following:

  1. a complete loss of service;
  2. an average packet loss of 1 percent or greater;
  3. an average round-trip latency of 100ms or greater; or
  4. an average jitter of 4 ms or greater.

Each of these measurements must be taken over a period of at least 6 consecutive 5 minute intervals.

This proposal essentially sets a service quality floor for IP-enabled services.  Any service that falls below these times would be deemed an "outage" and would trigger reporting obligations.  Of course, the proposal also would require service providers to track these metrics, which they may not track today.

The Commission is not likely to impose these new obligations this calendar year:  Comments will be due in 60 days from the Federal Register publication; replies in 120 days.