FCC to investigate telecommunications providers’ ability to withstand natural disasters

FCC Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on telecommunications providers’ disaster resiliency preparedness. As part of this rulemaking, the FCC will investigate the voluntary Wireless Resiliency Cooperative Framework, Disaster Information Reporting System, and backup power for communications facilities.

 “[W]e have to understand where communications fell short, where recovery took too long, and what changes can be made to make our networks more resilient before the next unthinkable event occurs,” said FCC Acting Chair Jessica Rosenworcel.

In a 2019 filing, CWA argued that the current Wireless Resiliency Cooperative Framework is insufficient to achieve its stated goals, contributing to delayed recovery efforts and unnecessary risks to worker and public safety. CWA urged the FCC to do more to solicit input from frontline workers regarding service restoration efforts and develop mechanisms that hold Framework signatories accountable in a meaningful way. 

Links:

FCC launches rulemaking to improve communications reliability during disasters (FCC, Sep. 30, 2021)

Statement of Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel (FCC, Sep. 30, 2021) 

Reply Comments of Communications Workers of America in the Matter of Improving the Wireless Resiliency Cooperative Framework (FCC, May 20, 2019)