FCC Schedules DIRS Drill Amid Debate on Mandatory Reporting


As broadcasters raise concerns about the FCC’s proposed mandatory Disaster Information Reporting System reports, the Commission’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau has set a window for the next voluntary DIRS exercise.

This exercise aims to ensure broadcasters can efficiently use the DIRS system, train new employees, and update contact information.

The DIRS allows communications providers to report their service and infrastructure status during crises such as hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes, and to request assistance. The legacy DIRS system was decommissioned in December and replaced with a modernized platform with enhancing security and network features.

The exercise will start with the Bureau sending a mock activation letter on June 10 to all registered DIRS participants, clearly stating it is only an exercise. Providers will report data on communications assets in the pre-selected counties forming the disaster area. Providers without assets in these counties can still participate by reporting mock data.

Initial data sets are to be submitted by 10a ET on June 11, with an updated report due by June 12 at 10a ET. The exercise will conclude with a deactivation letter sent by 3:00p ET on June 12.

Legacy DIRS users with an existing CORES account do not need to create a new DIRS account, while new users must first register in CORES and then create a DIRS account. Detailed information on creating DIRS accounts and using the system is available in the user’s guide.

No response is necessary for providers not wishing to participate.

Providers wishing to participate should email [email protected] and [email protected] by June 3 with the following information in an Excel format:

  1. Name of the provider
  2. Names of all participants from the provider
  3. Email and phone numbers of all participants
  4. (Optional) Specific geographic areas (counties, state) the provider wants included in the disaster area for this exercise.

Earlier this month, several companies and groups repeated their opposition to mandatory DIRS and Network Outage Reporting System reporting. The NAB argues that mandatory reporting would disrupt the effective voluntary approach, impose new burdens, and hinder broadcasters’ ability to provide critical information during emergencies.

They emphasize that mandatory reporting could distract from their primary mission without clear benefits and would be especially burdensome for small and medium-sized stations.

NAB suggests the FCC should instead focus on facilitating access to essential resources during disasters and simplifying the DIRS process. They assert that the current voluntary system already provides adequate information and that mandatory reporting would not significantly improve emergency response efforts.


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