FCC Reports on Public Emergency Preparedness Review


Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski released a comprehensive report on the Commission's ability to respond to natural disasters, terrorist attacks, public health emergencies, and other large-scale events. The report, prepared by the Commission's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, is in response to the 30-day, top-to-bottom state-of-readiness review launched by Chairman Genachowski as one of his first actions at the agency. During emergencies, the FCC's primary mission is to ensure that essential communications networks and services are operable, reliable, and quickly restored when necessary so that the American public can communicate and receive emergency information. Equally important is the FCC's responsibility to ensure that America's public safety officials and first responders have the tools they need to protect lives, property, and strategic infrastructure. The report concludes that the Commission is prepared to respond to communications emergencies and perform its mission. The report also identifies a number of areas in which the FCC can improve its emergency planning and response: education and training, outreach and collaboration, emergency operations and alerts, and network analysis. The initiatives highlighted below have been completed, are underway, or will be launched in the near future. Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Chief Jamie Barnett said the FCC could seek expanded authority from Congress to obtain network outage information from cable companies and other Internet service providers during emergencies. The FCC currently has the authority to monitor the resiliency of landline and cellular Internet networks, but the FCC has less flexibility to regulate Internet services offered by "information services" such as cable.

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