THE SEVENTH COUNCILNRIC VII Focus Group Reports
In January 2000, the FCC revised the charter of the Council "to provide recommendations to the FCC and to the telecommunications industry that, when implemented, will assure optimal reliability and interoperability of public telecommunications networks."
In March 2000, then FCC Chairman William E. Kennard and then Commissioner Michael K. Powell announced that James Q. Crowe, President and CEO of Level 3 Communications, Inc., would chair the next term of NRIC V.
The FCC charted NRIC V with the specific mission of providing advice and recommendations to the FCC on issues of reliability, interoperability, and security arising in a multi-provider, multi-technology environment.
A primary motivator behind the charter for NRIC V was the FCC's conclusion that it is "compelled to play a role in fostering timely, fair, and open development of standards for current and future technologies." The FCC concluded that a Federal Advisory Committee (FAC) was the appropriate forum to advise it on spectrum compatibility standards and spectrum management practices to ensure the competitive deployment of advanced services.
In addition, the NRIC V charter charged the Council with the general responsibility of "provid[ing] recommendations to the FCC and to the telecommunications industry that, when implemented, will assure optimal reliability and interoperability of public telecommunications networks."
The charter, which is included in the Report as Appendix A set out three subject matters for the Council to address. To meet this mandate, the Council established four Focus Groups. The reports of the focus groups and the complete Report to the Nation delivered to the FCC on January 4, 2002, Network Reliability and Interoperability Council V - The Future of Our Nation's Communications Infrastructure, is available in each of its several sections electronically through the issue headings in hypertext immediately below.
NRIC Report to the Nation (MS Word)
Focus Group 2: Network Reliability. Chair, Brian Moir, International Communications Association
The purpose of the Best Practices Subcommittee was to provide recommendations to the FCC and to the telecommunications industry that, when implemented, will assure optimal reliability of public telecommunications networks, including assuring optimal packet switched network reliability.
Key Learnings of the subcommittee include:
Focus Group 2.B.1: Data Reporting and Analysis. Chair, P.J. Aduskevicz, AT&T Corporation
The objectives of the NRIC V Data Reporting and Analysis Subcommittee were to 1) implement and evaluate a voluntary one-year outage reporting trial recommended by NRIC IV, 2) recommend improvements in mandatory outage reporting, and 3) evaluate and report on the reliability and availability of the Public Switched Telephone Network.
The subcommittee developed the following consensus recommendations on voluntary trial reporting for those service providers not currently required to report outages:
As set out in more detail in this Report, the subcommittee also developed three consensus recommendations on mandatory reporting for those service providers currently required to report outages.
Focus Group 2.B.2: Data Reporting & Analysis on Packet Switching. Chair, Paul Hartman, Beacon Consulting
A primary task of Focus Group 2.B.2 was to define the term "outage" as it applies to the public Internet. In particular the Focus Group was to determine whether the definition of an outage applicable to circuit switching makes sense in a packet switching environment. The Focus Group determined that while there is much industry activity in the area of performance measurements, the traditional standards bodies that work on these issues are not quite ready with recommendations on what the metric or standard, e.g., numbers vs. measurements, should be in the area of outages in a packet switching environment. The Focus Group recommends, therefore, that the efforts of these and other groups be monitored for the expected delivery of these metrics or standards.
Focus Group 3: Wireline Network Spectral Integrity. Chair, Ed Eckert, Catena Networks
The mission of the NRIC V Wireline Network Spectral Integrity (WNSI) Focus Group was to provide recommendations to the FCC and to the telecommunications industry that, when implemented, will: ensure the integrity of coexisting services in wireline public telecommunications networks; facilitate widespread and unencumbered deployment of xDSL and associated wireline high speed access technologies, and; encourage network architecture and technology evolution that safeguards the integrity of wireline public telecommunications networks while maximizing capacity, availability and throughput in an unbundled/competitive environment.
Focus Group 3 produced seven recommendations and one White Paper during its charter. The recommendations, discussed in detail in this Report, addressed the following topics:
Since no consensus could be attained on a solution for the friendly coexistence of CO-based and remote DSL deployment (Recommendation #6 remand), it was agreed that the Focus Group would produce a white paper to address the outstanding issues. The White Paper is included in full in this Report.
Focus Group 4: Interoperability. Chairs, Ross Callon, Juniper Networks and Scott Bradner, Harvard University
The purpose of NRIC V Focus Group 4 was to provide recommendations to the FCC and to the telecommunications industry that, when implemented, will facilitate and assure interoperability of public data networks.
The Focus Group produced two outputs:
The Focus Group notes that the area of IP service provider interconnection is somewhat complex, and is an area where there has been significant interest both in the United States and internationally. The Focus Group therefore offers the informational White Paper attached as part of this Report as an aid to ongoing discussions in this area.
Appendix A: NRIC V Charter (MS Word)
THE FOURTH COUNCIL
On July 30, 1998, the Commission announced the appointment of AT&T CEO Michael Armstrong as Chairman of the rechartered Council. Under its amended charter, the Council will advise the Commission on the efforts of the industry to prepare for Year 2000 conversion.
Press Release: U.S. Telecommunications Industry Virtually Completes Year 2000 Readiness. The U.S. Telecommunications Industry is virtually complete with its Year 2000 remediation and implementation programs and local and long distance services are expected to continue to function on and after January 1, 2000. - Washington, D.C. October 20, 1999
Powell Letter to PSAPs: Assessment of the Readiness of Emergency Communications. July 13, 1999
Press Release: U.S. Telecommunications Industry Nears Year 2000 Readiness. The U.S. telecommunications industry is fast closing on its goal to be Year 2000 ready allowing uninterrupted local and long distance services on and after January 1, 2000. - Washington, D.C. July 21, 1999
August 5, 1999 - 1999 Network Reliability and Interoperability Council Forum hosted by the International Engineering Consortium.
Press Release: U.S. Telecommunications Industry On Track to Achieve Year 2000 Readiness. The U.S. telecommunications industry is on track to continue providing uninterrupted local and long distance services into the next century according to the Federal Communications Commissions advisory council responsible for assessing Year 2000 (Y2K) readiness. - Washington, D.C. April 19, 1999
Year 2000 Date Change Contingency Planning- Using a Centric Approach: On Tuesday, April 27, 1999 at the Washington Dulles Airport Hilton - Herndon, Virginia, the USTA, the NRIC, and AT&T will present a one day Y2K contingency planning seminar. Participants will be provided with the concepts and tools necessary for developing operational contingency plans around the Year 2000 date change event.
NRIC Survey Assessment - Results and Analysis:
Full assessment study of
international telecommunications readiness covering 84 of the 225 countries throughout the
world. Mentioned on page 82 in the Y2K Communication Sector Report.
NRIC IV Goal
Assure optimal reliability, interoperability and interconnectivity of, and accessibility to, the public telecommunications networks
NRIC IV Focus
THE THIRD COUNCIL
The Council's Charter was revised, and its title changed to the present "Network Reliability and Interoperability Council," by the FCC in April of 1996 to advise the FCC on how Section 256 of the Telecommunications Act -- "Coordination for Interconnectivity" -- should be implemented.
The NRIC's amended Charter asked the Council to provide recommendations both for the FCC and for the telecommunications industry that, when implemented, would assure optimal reliability and interoperability of, and accessibility and interconnectivity to, public telecommunications networks. The objective of the recommendations was to ensure the ability of users and information providers to seamlessly and transparently transmit and receive information between and across telecommunications networks.
The Charter also asked the Council to provide recommendations on how the Commission most efficiently could conduct effective oversight of coordinated telecommunications network planning and design, as required by Section 256.
Finally, the Charter asked the Council to assess the Commission's role in the development of telecommunications standards by appropriate industry standards-setting bodies. The intent of Section 256 is to ensure the development of standards that promote access to public telecommunications networks providing telecommunications service, standards that promote access to information services by subscribers of rural telephone companies, and standards that promote access to network capabilities and services by individuals with disabilities.
The Council's Report, NRIC Network Interoperability: The Key to Competition, was presented to the Federal Communications Commission on July 15, 1997. It is available electronically through the hypertext immediately below. Printed versions are available at ATIS.
THE SECOND COUNCIL
The Network Reliability Council was rechartered in 1994 to study the following areas, discussed in detail in its February 1996 report, Network Reliability -- The Path Forward, which is available as a single volume through ATIS or in each of its several sections electronically through the issue headings in hypertext immediately below.
1. Network Reliability Performance. The Council's Report analyzes three areas of national network performance. The analysis considers: 1) whether there are regional or demographic variations in the frequency, duration or cause of network outages for both existing and emerging telecommunications industry segments; 2) whether the best practices listed in the Council's 1993 report have been implemented and whether they have been effective; and 3) whether outage reporting practices should be modified.
2. Network Interconnection. The Council's Report analyzes existing network interconnection arrangements among wireline, wireless, and satellite networks and offers recommendations to ensure that high reliability is maintained with expected future network interconnection arrangements. It discusses standards setting and network interoperability testing processes and offers recommendations for improvements in each area.
3. Changing Technologies. The Council's Report analyzes reliability aspects of new technologies being used in telecommunications networks. These include the provision of services over new network technologies (such as SONET, ATM, Hybrid Fiber/Coax, new satellite networks, Personal Communications Service and Advanced Intelligent Networks).
4. Essential Communications During Emergencies. The Council's Report analyzes the availability of different technologies to provide telecommunications services during emergencies. It reviews local exchange carrier 911 practices and 911 network architectures, cellular emergency call-handling practices, cable television emergency service capabilities, and 911 service provider survey results. It discusses recommendations to make emergency service telecommunications networks more reliable.
5. Telecommuting Capabilities During Emergencies. The Council's Report analyzes the ability of telecommunications telecommuting services to avoid or mitigate economic and other losses during natural disasters and other emergencies. It offers recommendations to improve telecommuting services for this purpose.
THE FIRST COUNCIL
The Network Reliability and Interoperability Council is the successor to the Network Reliability Council that was first organized by the FCC in January of 1992. The Council was established following a series of major service outages in various local exchange and interexchange wireline telephone networks. The Commission established the Council to study the causes of service outages and to develop recommendations to reduce their number and their effects on consumers.
Then, as now, Council was composed of CEO-level representatives of about 35 carriers, equipment manufacturers, state regulators, and large and small consumers. Under its initial charter, the Council commissioned studies in the areas where the Council believed reliability concerns to be greatest -- signalling (SS7), fiber cuts, switching systems, power failures, fires, 911 outages, and digital cross-connect systems. The NRC prepared reports on historical outage patterns and trends in these areas. It also reviewed telecommunications industry practices in providing mutual aid, and made recommendations on what level of service outages ought to be reported to the FCC. The Council's analysis and nearly 300 recommendations, most of which were directed to the telecommunications industry, were delivered to the Commission and published in Network Reliability: A Report to the Nation. It is available electronically through the hypertext immediately below or printed versions are available at ATIS through Steve Perry at the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), 1200 G Street, N.W., Suite 500, Washington, D.C., 20005. Phone: (202) 628-6380.