FCC seeks comments to improve disaster comms

The Federal Communications Commission is seeking comments on proposed rules that aim to improve the country’s ability to restore its telecommunications infrastructure after a natural disaster or terrorist attack.

The FCC is asking for comments on how to implement proposed rules that its Independent Panel Reviewing the Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Communications Networks released June 19, according to a notice in the Federal Register. The agency also wants suggestions for improving the proposed rules.

The FCC wants lists of major communications providers and infrastructures to enable faster restoration of communications, the notice states.

The notice also requests comments on whether the FCC needs to collect the information to accomplish the panel’s goals and is looking for ways to improve the quality and minimize the quantity of any information collected using information technology.

The FCC wants suggestions for protecting sensitive information about infrastructure and commercial activities to avoid harming communications providers and others, the notice states.

The panel’s report makes recommendations in four areas:

  • Pre-positioning communications companies’ and the government’s equipment before disasters to ensure reliability and resiliency.
  • Improving recovery coordination to optimize existing resources and minimize weaknesses.
  • Improving the operability and interoperability of public safety, 911 and Enhanced 911 communications.
  • Improving how emergency information is communicated to the public.

A copy of the 66-page document is available at www.fcc.gov.

The FCC will accept comments through Aug. 7 and promises responses by Aug. 21, the notice states. It will accept written comments on the proposed information-collection requirements until Sept. 5.

Interested parties can file their comments under EB Docket No. 06-119 at www.regulations.gov or www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs. Comments on information collection can be sent to pra@fcc.gov .

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