Last week marked the end of a devastating Atlantic hurricane season, which included four hurricanes making landfall in the United States and its territories. While the season is behind us, recovery efforts – particularly in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands – are ongoing. As the Commission works to support communications service restoration in areas hard-hit by the storms, we are also assessing what lessons may be learned from this experience and applied to future emergencies. Today we issued a Public Notice seeking comment on the government and communications industry’s preparation for and response to the 2017 hurricane season, including what worked and areas for improving service availability and restoration during disasters.
We want to hear from all stakeholders, including the public safety community; state, local, territorial, and tribal officials; industry; consumer groups; and federal response partners. This input will inform the workshop(s) that we plan to hold next year to further explore the matter. Our aim is to build on successful approaches and develop options to address shortfalls as we prepare for future disasters. We are also considering what additional steps will assist this process.
Communications networks are critical to reaching help, assisting emergency response, and disseminating vital information during times of crises. We welcome your views as we work together to ensure that America’s communications networks are resilient against future disasters.