FCC Proposes Rules to Promote Reliable Access to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

On January 27, 2023 the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) proposing rules to help ensure that the public has access to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline if a service outage occurs. The proposed rules would require 988 service providers to report outages that potentially affect 988 service and enable officials to inform the public of alternate ways to contact the 988 Lifeline.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking includes proposals to:

  • Require certain 988 service providers to report outages that potentially affect the 988 Lifeline to the Commission’s Network Outage Reporting System, similar to the Commission’s existing reporting requirement for outages that potentially affect 911.
  • Require these 988 service providers to provide notice of such events to the HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, the VA, and the 988 Lifeline administrator.
  • Define reportable outages as those that result in a loss of the ability of the 988 Lifeline to receive, process, or forward calls for at least 30 minutes in duration.

In addition to inviting comment on these proposals, the Notice seeks comment on:

  • Whether cable, satellite, wireless, wireline, and interconnected VoIP providers should also be subject to reporting and notification obligations for outages potentially affecting 988.
  • Various issues regarding the reporting and notice requirements, including whether the proposed reporting thresholds are appropriate, additional parties to whom notice should be given, the costs and benefits of the proposal, and timelines for compliance.

The full Notice of Proposed Rule Making can be found here: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-23-7A1.pdf or by searching for FCC 23-7.