Telecommunications Outage Reporting


Major Outage Defined and How to Notify DPS 

New York State's ability to respond to emergencies such as blackouts, damaging storms or other utility failures, is most effective when it is based upon the best possible, real-time information. A critically important way that telecommunications service providers assist in the state's overall effort is through the provision of information related to major service outages. The Department of Public Service provides a vital link between the State's emergency response community and telecommunications service providers in monitoring the status of these networks and infrastructure.

What is a Major Service Outage?

A major service outage is defined as any of the following conditions associated with wired and wireless, Internet Protocol-enabled (IP-enabled) or traditional circuit-switched, voice, data, broadband, or cable services provided by telecommunications service providers. It also includes both physical and cyber incidents that affect the provider's network, facilities, services, or operations:

  1. A service problem or newsworthy event caused by, for example, a major storm, flood, fire, job action, sabotage, civil unrest, death, a cyber or physical security breach at a service provider's building(s), or other event;
  2. A service problem affecting public access to 911, operator services, Telephone Relay Service, police, fire departments, or emergency medical services;
  3. A service problem that disrupts the delivery of Emergency Alert System (EAS) provided emergency information to the public;
  4. A major network node and/or telecommunications traffic concentration point (e.g., head-end, central office, toll office, packet switch, router) failure lasting more than five minutes;
  5. Extensive network congestion or call blockage;
  6. Any failure (e.g., outside plant cable damage) affecting 1,000 or more subscribers;
  7. A service problem affecting a public transportation terminal, hospital, national defense installation, large residential and commercial building or complex, or other major customer, such as a utility or other Telecom service provider.

Call us as soon as possible at the telephone numbers listed below!

Telecommunications outages and related incidents affect the public safety, and in the worst case, may jeopardize lives or property. Prompt outage notification relays vital information to the Department’s First Responders, which may help mitigate outage impacts or otherwise expedite network restoration and operations recovery. To that end, service providers should immediately report any major service outages or incidents affecting their networks or customers.  

Major outages and related incidents should be reported even if the outage has already been resolved, and regardless of whether or not the outage was caused by an internal problem in your own network, or as the result of another service provider or facility owner’s impact to your network. The information provided will be treated as CONFIDENTIAL and PROTECTED from public disclosure under applicable laws.


Initial Reports

Initial reports should be made, ideally no later than one hour after the outage is first recognized by the provider, to a designated Department staff member via a "live" telephone conversation at the numbers below. Voice Mail or email should not be used for initial outage reports. Staff may make informal arrangements with certain service providers for subsequent electronic transmittal reports. However, even in these instances personal contact with Department staff is necessary for initial reporting of a major service outage.

When first reporting a major outage, service providers should be prepared to provide baseline critical information, such as:

  • type of outage (e.g. video, voice, data, 911, Toll, network congestion)
  • outage location
  • outage cause
  • estimated number of affected customers
  • time the outage occurred
  • estimated time of restoral
  • contact name and phone number associated with the current event
  • any other known critical information available

If some critical information is not known at the time of the initial report, service providers should supply their best estimates.


Status Reports

Telecommunications service providers should provide regular status reports of any ongoing major service outage. The first status report should be provided within three hours of the initial report; subsequent status reports should be provided twice a day until the situation has been stabilized, and immediately upon restoration of service to normal condition. All reports should be transmitted by telephone to the person(s) indicated below, unless otherwise requested.


Closing Reports

Depending on the severity of the outage and the services involved, telecommunications service providers may be requested to provide more detailed information about the outage, the steps taken to restore service, and what steps can be taken to prevent future outages.

Outage Reporting Telephone Number and Email Address

DPS Office of Telecommunications staff members in the Albany, NYC and Buffalo offices are available to receive service outage reports by phone and email 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Major telecommunications service outages and incidents should be reported promptly by using both the telephone and email address below.

DPS Office of Telecommunications

Outage Phone Number:  518-391-3935

Outage Email Address:  [email protected]