Telephone: Communications Battery Backup Policy

To improve access to 911 emergency services, the Federal Communication Commission adopted backup power obligation rules for any service provider utilizing fiber optic or other non-powered media to provide voice services to residential homes. These requirements include an obligation to offer to subscribers the option to purchase backup power sufficient to operate the terminal located at the subscriber’s home for a minimum of 8 hours in standby mode.

As a service to our subscribers, we equip all fiber served premises with a complete standby power solution that exceeds the FCC’s mandated operating characteristics at no additional cost.

Under normal operating conditions subscribers have access to all subscribed services including voice, video and broadband data without interruption. However, when commercial power is interrupted, the fiber terminal will change to emergency standby mode and disable video and broadband data service while continuing to provide voice service and more specifically access to emergency 911 service for a period of time. Disabling video and broadband services extends the time the terminal can provide access to emergency services. The battery located in each fiber terminal is capable of providing as much as 12 hours of talk time and 15 hours of standby power when new and fully charged.

Our network operations center monitors the health of batteries and dispatches technicians as needed to replace the batteries once its service life has ended. Battery service life and the ability to provide sufficient standby power is affected by numerous factors including temperature, how often and the duration of commercial power outages and the operating characteristics of phones within the home. We recommend that during a power outage, subscriber’s limit the use of the landline phone to emergency calls because the use of the phone for non-emergency purposes will accelerate power discharge of the battery and limit the amount of standby time. Following these guidelines will ensure access to emergency 911 services over a greater period of time.