Network Resilience to Natural Disasters Starts with Strong Federal Planning

When a natural disaster occurs, the last thing residents should be concerned about is whether they will be able to receive emergency services or evacuation information. However, for some, this is a very real fear that can have serious consequences if overlooked. 

Network resilience is the practice of ensuring that telecommunications and information networks are able to withstand being knocked offline by natural or manmade disasters including fire, floods, tornadoes, and cyber attacks. Ensuring that these networks remain operational at all times is essential to keeping residents informed with up-to-date emergency information. 

On December 16, 2021, Next Century Cities filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) offering recommendations and examples on ways to update its Wireless Network Resiliency Cooperative Framework. It should be used as a starting point to develop minimum standards for responding to outages that can be used in areas nationwide. 

The NCC’s comments highlighted the following points:

  • The FCC should apply the resilience framework when either DIRS or ESF-2 is activated; 
  • The resilience framework should be mandatory for all telecommunications and internet service providers;
  • The FCC should work with providers and municipalities to promote preparedness and consumer readiness; and
  • The Commission must do more to address cell site power outages. 

During natural disasters, cellular and Internet connections become lifelines to emergency services and disaster response information. Creating federal resilience policy standards empowers state and municipal officials who are responsible for working with providers to tailor emergency response plans. 

Read the full December 16th filing here.

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