Monday, September 30, 2013

FCC Proposes Action to Improve Wireless Reliability During Disasters

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission released a report proposing an action to improve the wireless network reliability during disasters. They plan to do this by, “requiring wireless service providers to publicly disclose the percentage of cell sites within their networks that are operational during and immediately after disasters,” the FCC explains.

The FCC does understand that some wireless service interruptions may be unavoidable during emergencies but the goal is to minimize the number of interruptions. “For example, Superstorm Sandy disabled approximately 25 percent of cell sites in the affected region, with more than 50 percent of cell sites disabled in the hardest-hit counties, yet not all wireless networks were equally impaired,” the report noted. It was also mentioned that the practices that these wireless service providers use could play a role in the variation of the reliability of the structure during natural disasters.

“The FCC’s proposal would require wireless service providers to submit to the FCC, for public disclosure on a daily basis during and immediately after disasters, the percentage of operational cell sites for each county within a designated disaster area. Information yielding these percentages is already included in voluntary reports that wireless service providers submit to the FCC daily during disasters, albeit on a presumptively confidential basis and as part of a larger set of data,” the report explained.

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