Pallone Requests FCC Commence Wireless Resiliency Rulemaking in Aftermath of Hurricane Michael
Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) wrote to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai today urging the agency to commence a rulemaking before the end of the year to expand and make enforceable the Wireless Network Resiliency Cooperative Framework. The rulemaking would make FCC resiliency standards enforceable and expand those standards beyond wireless networks.
Pallone’s request follows concern that the frailty of some communications networks have caused customers in Hurricane Michael’s footprint to suffer long service outages, depriving people of vital tools to keep in touch with first responders, friends, and loved ones.
At a recent press conference, Chairman Pai acknowledged that a comprehensive reevaluation of network resiliency needs to be done, including expanding network resiliency requirements to other networks beyond wireless. Pallone is hopeful that Chairman Pai’s remarks signal a change of heart on the need for a network resiliency rulemaking.
“I am encouraged by your recent acknowledgement that a ‘comprehensive reevaluation’ of the Framework and network resiliency needs to the done, including expanding network resiliency requirements to other network providers beyond wireless,” Pallone wrote. “But words without action are insufficient. Resilient communications networks can mean the difference between life and death during and after a storm. I hope that your concern is not driven by the upcoming election, but instead on the needs of consumers. To that end, I urge you to begin a rulemaking before the end of the year to ensure that Americans can count on more resilient communications networks by next hurricane season.”
Pallone has long argued for stronger, enforceable protections for consumers that would better ensure that Americans in the path of major disasters continue to have access to vital and lifesaving communications networks. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, he authored the SANDy Act, which was signed into law earlier this year as part of the RAY BAUM’S Act to help ensure the resiliency of communications networks during emergencies. Earlier this year, Pallone also released a Government Accountability Report that he requested that included a series of steps the FCC could take to improve network resiliency.
Pallone is requesting a response from the FCC by November 16, 2018.
Pallone’s letter available HERE.