FCC to lead dialogue on post-Sandy communications issues

Series of field hearing will begin in early 2013
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Beginning in early 2013, the Federal Communications Commission will hold a series of field hearing throughout the country to examine issues that the nation's communications networks face from crises such as Hurricane Sandy.

The hearings will begin in New York and continue throughout the country in places where major national disasters have struck, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced Nov. 21.

Sandy "has revealed new challenges," Genachowski said in a release (.pdf). The hearings will convene public safety officials, business representatives, engineers, academics, consumers and others.

Among the issues the hearings will address are how well communications providers took advantage of the advance notice they had to prepare for Sandy, and how well they informed consumers on what their communications options would be during and after the storm.

The hearings will also consider why the performance of communications services is sometimes inferior when initially restored, and how long those degradations can be expected to last.

Consumers may also benefit from knowing how their providers have performed during past emergencies compared to competitors, the FCC says.

Other matters the FCC plans to address include:

  • The potential role of public facilities like libraries and schools and temporary communication centers;
  • The particular needs of the elderly and people with disabilities; and
  • Solutions to help the public charge cellphones and other devices.

For more:
- download the FCC press release (.pdf)

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