Like every month, the FCC will be holding an open meeting this October. But this October 26 will be a little bit different. In addition to our typical agenda focused on a variety of rulemakings, our October open meeting will feature a virtual field hearing on Hurricane Ida and improving the resilience of our communications networks.
Last week Commissioner Carr and I visited Louisiana and saw firsthand the devastation wrought by Hurricane Ida. We crisscrossed a long, flat stretch of Louisiana—from Baton Rouge to New Orleans—to hear from state and local officials and private companies involved in restoration efforts. This field hearing will give the rest of the Commission an opportunity to hear testimony about what worked and what didn’t with communications during this historic storm and other recent disasters. More importantly, the information gleaned from this hearing will serve as a foundation for recommendations and actions to make our networks more resilient before the next unthinkable event occurs.
We’ll be hearing from a variety of viewpoints on this issue. As with all of our open meetings, the hearing will be open to the public. More information on that and other details coming soon.
While the field hearing will be the centerpiece of our October meeting, that’s not all that we have planned. Here are the other items we will consider.
- We will start out our October meeting with a national security item, which I cannot discuss publicly just yet. Since January we’ve maintained a proactive and meaningful response to security threats to our communications networks, and this item will continue that effort.
- We’re updating our media rules. With the conclusion of the broadcast incentive auction and digital television transition, it’s time to update our television rules to reflect these changes. This includes updating the Table of Allotments, which lists where digital television channels are allocated throughout the country. We will also delete or revise rules rendered obsolete by the auction and the digital television transition, in order to ensure our rules are clear and reflect the current regulatory environment.
- We’ll fund more awards for telehealth. We will consider another round of awards for the Connected Care Pilot Program, helping a range of nonprofit and public health care providers connect with their patients. This third round of funding will support internet access for patients and providers, focusing on maternal health and high-risk pregnancy, public health epidemics, opioid dependency, mental health, and chronic conditions.