Sunday, November 25, 2012

Challenges Affecting Communications

The FCC has announced plans to hold a series of hearings to examine new challenges affecting the nation’s communications networks in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. The hearings will make recommendations on actions to take to improve network resiliency.

The hearings will look at what communications service providers, state and local officials, emergency personnel, and consumers faced before, during, and after Superstorm Sandy as well as after other natural disasters.

Basically, the hearings will look at what is needed to connect people more effectively to each other and to information in emergencies whether they use mobile, landline, satellite, broadcast, cable, or social media. The plan is also to examine any laws or regulations that may need to change so that disruptions to communication services won’t occur in a future crisis or weather event.

The field hearings will ask a number of questions such as:

·        Did service providers use portable cell sites to reduce the effects of the storm?
·        How can service providers work together to share resources?
·        What level of service is needed and expected during emergencies and for what modes of communications?
·        What technologies, actions, practices, or requirements should be considered to help improve the availability of power?
·        What obstacles face emergency help and what technologies and actions might help?
·        Has the introduction of broadband technologies into commercial communications networks made them more or less resilient to major weather events?

Beginning in early 2013, hearings will take place throughout the country in locations that have experienced major natural disasters, starting in New York. The participants in the hearings will include businesses, public safety officials, engineering and academic experts, consumers, and other stakeholders.

For more information, go to