Emergency Communications

The Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Huricane Katrina and other man-made and natural disasters often reveal flaws in emergency communications systems. Here we attempt to chart the effects of disasters on our telecommunications and media communications systems -- and efforts by policymakers to stregthen these systems.

For Puerto Ricans Off the Island, a Struggle to Make Contact After Maria

Location:
Puerto Rico, United States

For the more than five million Puerto Ricans living on the United States mainland, it was bad enough to watch news reports on Sept 19 of Hurricane Maria ripping through an island where relatives and friends lived. What made it worse was not knowing how their loved ones had fared.

How the Internet Kept Humming During 2 Hurricanes

Location:
Miami, FL, United States

For all their seeming immateriality, the internet and the cloud rely on a vast industrial infrastructure consisting of data centers linked through a sprawling network of fiber optics.

Procedures for FCC Review of State Opt-Out Requests from FirstNet

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

On June 22, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Report and Order in this docket establishing Commission procedures for administering the state opt-out process as provided under the Public Safety Spectrum Act, as well as delineating the two-prong statutory standard by which the Commission will evaluate state alternative plans.

AWARN Strikes Back at T-Mobile at FCC

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

In a filing to the Federal Communications Commission, the AWARN Alliance blasted T-Mobile for disparaging its efforts to developed an advanced emergency alerting system based on the new ATSC 3.0 broadcast system.

Chairman Pai and Commissioner Clyburn To Visit Florida, Inspect Damage Caused By Hurricane Irma

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

The Federal Communications Commission announced that Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn will be in Florida on September 18.

Statement of Commissioner Rosenworcel on Senate Passage of SANDY Act

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

In the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, I was pleased to see the United States Senate’s unanimous passage of the SANDY Act of 2017 last night.

Remarks Of Chairman Pai At FCC Workshop On Improving Situational Awareness During 911 Outages

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

Here at the Federal Communications Commission, the 16th anniversary of the September 11 attacks reminds us that we must do all that we can to improve emergency communications. As it happens, September is also National Preparedness Month. So there’s no better time to recognize that effective communications can be the difference between life and death—whether emergency personnel are responding to a terrorist attack, hurricane, earthquake, flood, or tornado.

Remarks Of Commissioner Rosenworcel FCC Workshop On Improving Situational Awareness During 911 Outages

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

I believe what we need now is a Federal Communications Commission report on these storms. We need to know what worked, what didn’t, and where we can improve our communications infrastructure.

Remarks Of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai At The Institute For Policy Innovation's Hatton W. Sumners Distinguished Lecture Series

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

I’m going to talk about what the Federal Communications Commission is doing to promote innovation and investment across the Internet ecosystem.

FCC Chairman Visits Texas And Gets Firsthand Views Of Hurricane Harvey Damage

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai visited Houston and Austin (TX) this week to survey the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey and meet with local, state, and federal officials engaged in recovery efforts.

FCC Activates Disaster Information Reporting for Hurricane Irma

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) of the Federal Communications Commission has announced the activation of the Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) in response to Hurricane Irma.

Harvey Hurricane shows it is time for FCC to improve emergency alerts

Location:
Brookings, 1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States

It’s time to stop the regulatory foot-dragging and require the mobile phone industry to use its technology’s capabilities to deliver safety alerts with the same accuracy that delivers a taxi and the same functionality that delivers video.

What Happens If a State Decides to Opt Out of FirstNet Plans from AT&T?

Location:
First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), 1401 Constitution Ave, Washington, DC, 20230, United States

AT&T earlier in 2017 was awarded a contract to build a nationwide public safety network by FirstNet, the organization put in charge of that network by the US government. But as a FirstNet spokesperson explained, individual states must decide whether to opt in or opt out of FirstNet plans submitted by AT&T.

Statement Of Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel Calling On FCC To Study Hurricane Harvey's Impact On Communications Infrastructure

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

As we begin to assess Harvey’s horrible toll on human life and property, we will need to take stock of what worked, what didn’t, and how we can improve when it comes to our communications infrastructure.

Harvey highlights issues of aging 911 tech

Location:
Houston, TX, United States

As flood waters began swallowing roads and homes during Tropical Storm Harvey, panicked Houston residents did what everyone in the US is programed to do in an emergency. They dialed 911. But the emergency number struggled with record high call volume.

Newt Minow: Lessons from the Cuban missile crisis

Location:
Chicago, IL, United States

As one of the few remaining members of the Kennedy administration who participated in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, I was an eyewitness to the crucial role that telecommunications played in averting nuclear disaster ...

FCC Announces Working Group Members Of The Communications Security, Reliability, And Interoperability Council And The Date Of The Next CSRIC Meeting

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

This Public Notice serves as notice that the Federal Communications Commission has appointed members to serve on the working groups of the Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC or Council).

What a hurricane tells us about local news

Location:
Houston, TX, United States

In Houston, local journalists were leading the effort to inform people on the ground, explaining how to get rescued, where to go and what to do. What if they hadn’t been there?

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How Hurricane Harvey Highlights Need to Modernize Wireless Emergency Alerts

Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast on August 25. The Category 4 storm brought massive rainfall and unprecedented flooding to the Houston area and emergency procedures are underway for what may be the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. One critical component of rescue operations is maintaining reliable communications networks, a key mission of the Federal Communications Commission. Large-scale crises often reveal the difficulties governments and residents have communicating critical information when networks are at peak use. For years, wireless carriers and policymakers have been debating updates to the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system, trying to craft policy that would better enable mobile devices to receive geographically-targeted, text-like messages alerting people of imminent threats to safety in their area. Even as first responders are working to rescue people at risk in South Texas, the disaster is returning attention to the WEA debate.

Will Rural Texas Ever Get Its Phone Service Back After Harvey?

Location:
Public Knowledge, 1818 N Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States

Once the floodwaters recede and the reconstruction begins, when can residents see their phone service — and broadband service — return. For rural residents of Texas still dependent on traditional landlines, the answer to that may be “never.”

Harvey Shows Progress on Emergency Communications Since Katrina

Location:
Rockport, TX, United States

While connectivity was almost completely lost in Rockport (TX) which was hit hardest by the storm, the Federal Communications Commission says just 4 percent of the 7,804 cell sites in Harvey’s path were wiped out, affecting 148,565 people.

‘I would hope that I would never have to prove my love of this country’: Lester Holt on Harvey and President Trump

Location:
Houston, TX, United States

Three days before Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, President Trump told Americans that most journalists are “bad people” who “don't like our country.” As the media covers the devastation in Houston and the surrounding area, however, even Breitbart News has begrudgingly acknowledged that the president's characterization might not be entirely fair, reporting that “journalists are helping to direct emergency crews to save stranded drivers rather than encouraging enraged mobs to riot against the police.”

Chairman Pai Provides Update On Tropical Storm Harvey

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

To date, the storm has most severely impacted communications networks near where Harvey made landfall. In Aransas, Calhoun, and Refugio Counties, for instance, most wireless cell sites are currently out of operation. We are also keeping close tabs on the effect that widespread flooding could have on communications networks in Harris County and surrounding areas in the hours and days to come.

Cell Networks Suffer Outages in Harvey’s Wake

Location:
Rockport, TX, United States

Wireless networks along the Texas coast suffered outages as a result of Hurricane Harvey, federal regulators said, leaving customers in some counties with limited or no cellphone service.

Before Hurricane Harvey, wireless carriers lobbied against upgrades to a national emergency alert system

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

For years, the Federal Communications Commission has endeavored to upgrade the sort of short text-based messages — often accompanied by a loud alarm — that authorities have used since 2012 to warn Americans about rising floods, abducted children and violent criminals at large. But efforts to bring those alerts into the digital age — requiring, for example, that they include multimedia and foreign-language support — have been met with skepticism or opposition from the likes of AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile, and even some device makers, too.

Disaster Information Reporting System Activated for Hurricane Harvey

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) of the Federal Communications Commission has announced the activation of the Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) in response to Hurricane Harvey.

Statement of Chairman Pai on Hurricane Harvey

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

As the eye of Hurricane Harvey bears down on the Texas coastline, the Federal Communications Commission is taking action to protect the American public and our nation’s communications networks.

Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Announces Agenda for Sept 11 Workshop on Improving Situational Awareness During 911 Outages

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

As previously announced, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) will host a public workshop on September 11, 2017 to discuss best practices for improving situational awareness during 911 outages.

Broadcasters Encounter FCC System Obstacles in Meeting Monday Deadline for EAS Form 1 Filing

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

The Federal Communications Commission and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have established September 27, 2017 as the date for the next nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

AT&T CFO: FirstNet’s prioritized service for public safety ‘a challenge’ to net neutrality

Location:
AT&T, 208 South Akard St, Dallas, TX, 75202, United States

AT&T’s CFO John Stephens said that FirstNet’s pre-emption requirements for public safety users present “a challenge with the net neutrality process because you are giving prioritized service to police, firefighters.” “But quite frankly I think everyone would agree that that’s probably a good thing,” explained Stephens.

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