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.

Building Internet Resilience from the Ashes of the Holiday Farm Fire

Blue River, the hub of the McKenzie River Valley in rural Lane County, Oregon, is no stranger to natural disasters. In September 2020, this former mining and timber town burned to the ground in the Holiday Farm fire. However, despite the challenges, Blue River’s story is one of resilience. It’s the story of a town’s desire to not merely survive but thrive.

The Benefits of Z-Axis Through FirstNet

The First Responder Network Authority was established to deploy a nationwide broadband network for public safety communications and meet first responders’ communications needs. One of the key capabilities that public safety requested during the planning phase of FirstNet was the ability to determine the Z-axis, or vertical axis, location of personnel. FirstNet’s Z-axis capability is the next evolution of FirstNet Enhanced Location Services, designed to assist with identifying where a first responder is located within a building.

Early 3G Sunset Harms Rural Americans

The Rural Wireless Association (RWA) filed an ex parte to apprise the Federal Communications Commission of the results of RWA’s member survey concerning the ongoing impact of the 3G sunset on rural consumers, and of the need for the carriers to implement Voice over Long-Term Evolution (VoLTE) roaming before 3G is shut down nationwide.

Waiting for Godot

As you might imagine, we thought there would be exciting news to share today about broadband. Not so much. As we wait for a vote on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (could it come today?

FCC Seeks Comment on How to Improve Communications Reliability During Disasters

The Federal Communications Commission launched a rulemaking proceeding to improve the reliability of communications networks and help ensure that the public can communicate when disasters strike. Disaster recovery efforts in the wireless industry are currently supported by the Wireless Network Resiliency Cooperative Framework, a voluntary industry agreement to promote resilient communications and situational awareness during disasters through roaming agreements, mutual aid, and other measures.

FCC Seeks Comment on Promoting Public Safety Use of 4.9 GHz Band

The Federal Communications Commission took action to protect public safety operations in the 4.9 GHz spectrum band and to move towards establishment of a nationwide, coordinated framework that would emphasize public safety needs while increasing overall use of the band and putting public safety on a path to 5G. In 2002, the FCC designated the 4.9 GHz band for public safety operations. In October 2020, the FCC adopted a state-by-state leasing framework that would have allowed states to take this prime mid-band spectrum away from public safety.

In the Race for 5G, Alarm and Security Services Get Stuck in the Middle

In early 2019, AT&T announced it would phase out 3G wireless service in February 2022, meaning that devices designed to communicate using 3G technology would no longer have a connection after that date. Security systems companies were replacing the older gear when the pandemic lockdown began in March 2020. By early 2021, Covid-19 concerns had eased and people were more willing to let her workers into their homes.

Sen Klobuchar introduces bill to provide funding for the deployment of Next Generation 9-1-1

Co-chair of the Senate Next Generation 9-1-1 Caucus Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) announced a bill to create a $10 billion federal grant program for upgrades to the US's 911 centers (S.2754). Expanding 911 to accept more kinds of digital data would add more resiliency to a system that's still built around a copper-based telephone network. A next-generation 911 would allow the nation's 6,000 911 centers to accept texts, videos and photos.

Disaster communications are failing first responders and citizens

As public safety leaders and longtime citizens of cities directly impacted on September 11, 2001, frontline workers’ responses deeply affected us.

Half a million broadband and cable subscribers are without service in Hurricane Ida's path

Almost half a million cable, broadband, and voice subscribers are not being provided service in the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Ida according to the Federal Communications Commission. The number of those not able to access service is even greater given the more than a million without power. Louisiana has the vast majority of subscribers without either phone, TV or internet access, or a combination of those, at 468,674.