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.

FCC Proposes to Further Strengthen Emergency Alerting

The Federal Communications Commission proposed rules to improve the way the public receives emergency alerts on their mobile phones, televisions, and radios. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 charged the FCC with adopting rules to strengthen emergency alerting in various areas. On March 17, the FCC adopted a Notice Proposed Rulemaking to ensure that more people receive relevant emergency alerts, enable government agencies to report false alerts when they occur, and improve the way states plan for emergency alerts.

FCC Meeting Agenda for March 17, 2021 Open Meeting

The Federal Communications Commission will hold an Open Meeting on the subjects listed below on Wednesday, March 17, 2021:

FCC March 2021 Open Meeting Agenda

A flurry of orders, rulemakings, inquiries, and adjudications aimed at advancing the United States’ economic recovery and preparing for a post-COVID world.:

2020 Year in Review

Among the Department of Commerce's accomplishments in 2020:

Federal Agents Comb Nashville Bomb Site as Telecom Outages Stall City

The Christmas Day explosion that rocked Nashville caused considerable disruption, as it damaged a critical piece of the broader area’s telecommunications infrastructure. One of the major lines of inquiry was whether there was significance in the location of the blast: on a downtown street in front of an AT&T transmission building. The explosion created significant damage to the facility, causing widespread repercussions to telecommunication systems in Nashville and beyond. Officials said the outages have affected 911 operations and flights at Nashville International Airport.

Chairman Pai Welcomes Industry Efforts To Improve Wireless Emergency Alert Geo-Targeting

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai praised the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), a standards organization, for its efforts to improve the geographic accuracy of Wireless Emergency Alerts. “Wireless Emergency Alerts are a more powerful public safety tool than ever before, but I’ve been clear that more should be done to improve the geographic accuracy of these life-saving messages,” said Chairman Pai.

FCC Issues Annual Report On State 911 Fees

The Federal Communications Commission published its twelfth annual report to Congress on the collection and distribution of 911 fees by states. The report finds that in 2019, states and territories collected more than $3 billion in 911 fees, and more than $200 million of that funding was diverted for uses other than 911. The report identifies five states—Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and West Virginia—where 911 fees were diverted for other purposes. 2019’s report found that almost $198 million in 911 fees were diverted for non-911 uses by the same five states.


First Responder Network Authority

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

Department of Commerce

Wed, 12/09/2020 - 17:00 to 19:00

The FirstNet Authority will post a detailed agenda for the Combined Board and Board Committees Meeting on FirstNet.gov prior to the meeting. The agenda topics are subject to change. Please note that the subjects discussed by the Board and Board Committees may involve commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential, or other legal matters affecting the FirstNet Authority. As such, the Board may, by majority vote, close the meeting only for the time necessary to preserve the confidentiality of such information.

Spurred by the threat of wildfires, an Estes Park broadband project moved at the speed of light

As the Cameron Peak fire burned in the distance on the morning of Oct. 17, Josh Cramer sprung into action. He worried the fire might reach Estes Park (CO) and cause a literal meltdown that could wipe out the town’s internet, emergency lines and prevent reverse 9-1-1 calls.  The town needed access to backup broadband. But where? And how?  Cramer, network architect at Trailblazer Broadband, began making calls and learned the Platte River Power Authority was worried about the same thing.

FCC Responds to Narrow Remand of Restoring Internet Freedom Order

The Federal Communications Commission adopted an Order on Remand in response to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit’s remand of three discrete issues for further consideration by the FCC regarding its 2017 Restoring Internet Freedom Order. The court’s Oct 2019 ruling in Mozilla Corp. v. FCC affirmed the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality rules. The Court’s decision also upheld the FCC’s robust transparency rule ensuring consumers are fully informed about their online options. This action addresses the few remaining issues the court asked the FCC to consider.