February 19, 2010 - 12:09 pm
By Mindel De La Torre | Chief of the International Bureau

At the FCC, we continue to be very busy on a number of fronts to continue to help Haiti regarding its communications services.

Within the U.S. Government, our work is in coordination with USAID as you know.  But it really derives directly from our regulatory counterpart in Haiti – Conatel.  The importance and necessity of our work at the FCC is underscored by the requests of the Director General (DG), Mr. Montaigne Marcelin,  which continue to come in.

When the communications asssessment team was in Haiti in late January, we were fortunate to be able to spend a great deal of time with the DG and the staff of Conatel.  We discussed the status of the communications sector in Haiti, and several key regulatory issues like spectrum management.  In addition, on behalf of our two agencies, Mr. Marcelin and I signed an  “Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Regarding Communications Regulatory Cooperation” between Conatel and the FCC, as requested by the Conatel DG. The MOU states that the FCC will provide assistance to Conatel in several areas, including: ongoing assessment of the needs of the communications sector in Haiti, spectrum management, licensing policies and procedures, human resource capacity building, as well as other regulatory issues as needed.  The cooperation between Conatel and the FCC is envisioned to be telephone and email consultation, in-country assessments and technical assistance by FCC staff, and Conatel staff fellowships at the FCC.

In this spirit of cooperation, earlier this week, FCC Chairman Genachowski and Mr. Marcelin talked directly on the telephone.  The Conatel DG expressed his continuing gratitude for, and interest in, the FCC’s assistance, which the DG also indicated in a letter that he sent to the Chairman on Wednesday.  And Chairman Genachowski assured the DG that we would continue to help Haiti regarding its communications services.  Many such efforts are underway.  For example, at yesterday's Open Commission Meeting, the Chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau and I gave a presentation to the full Commission regarding the FCC’s key efforts since the earthquake.  (We had given an initial presentation on January 20, but so much more has been done since then.)  The support from the FCC Chairman and all of the Commissioners for the FCC’s work regarding Haiti continues to be as strong as the Haitian people are resilient. 

Thanks for checking in.  I will keep posting updates on this blog.