Monday, September 5, 2005

FCC Comments on Hurricane Katrina Communications Disaster

FCC Commissioners issued a joint statement acknowledging that "Hurricane Katrina severely shook the communications network in the Gulf Coast and restoring all these links will be as challenging a communication mission as we have ever confronted."

The Commissioners commended "the rapid response we have witnessed from all segments of the communications industry."

Over the past week, the FCC has approved several emergency measures to provide regulatory relief to facilitate restoration efforts.

  • In July 2003, the FCC established an Office of Homeland Security within its Enforcement Bureau to focus on the nation's emergency preparedness issues. The two main objectives of the FCC's Homeland Security Action Plan included:

    * to strengthen measures for protecting the nation's communications infrastructure and facilitate rapid service restoration after disruption. This includes promoting the best practices of the Network Reliability and Interoperability Council (NRIC).

    * to promote access to effective communications services by public safety, public health, and other emergency personnel.

  • The National Reliability and Interoperability Council (NRIC) is charged with providing recommendations to the FCC and the industry that, if implemented, shall under all reasonably foreseeable circumstances assure optimal reliability and interoperability of wireless, wireline, satellite, cable and public data networks in the United States. The Council's primary mission is "to ensure the availability of adequate communications capacity during events or periods of exceptional stress due to natural disaster, terrorist attacks, or similar circumstances."

See also