ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday announced a series of hearings nationwide to try to find ways to avoid widespread loss of communications among first-responders, emergency managers and the general public in disasters like Superstorm Sandy.
“This unprecedented storm has revealed new challenges that will require a national dialogue around ideas and actions to ensure the resilience of communications networks,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
“As our thoughts and sympathies remain with those who have suffered loss and damage as a result of Superstorm Sandy, I urge all stakeholders to engage constructively in the period ahead,” the chairman said.
The hearings will begin early next year and will include ways to keep cellphone towers operating after storm damage and power losses. One in four consumers in areas hit hard by Sandy lost service because of the storm.
The hearings also will examine how to keep Wi-Fi service operating and discuss backup power sources for cellphone communications. A major focus will involve speeding the recovery of service.
Genachowski said the 911 emergency communications system mostly remained in operation during Sandy, but the hearings will explore when new technologies might make the system more effective in a disaster.
He also said that once communications were restored for consumers, the service didn’t return to normal quality. That will be another topic that is explored.
The first hearings will be in the New York City area, Genachowski said.
Genachowski thanked U.S. Sen. Charles, D-N.Y., for pushing to “develop a roadmap for how to better protect critical communications functions during major disasters.” On Sunday, Schumer urged the FCC to take on a major rethinking of communications in and after disasters.
“Mobile communication has become an essential part of our lives, and increasing its reliability must be a top priority,” Schumer said Wednesday.
Schumer said field hearings will prompt new ideas to avoid the communications losses of Sandy.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Failed back surgery: New hope for patients living in pain
- Ticking time bombs: Telltale signs your water heater is about to explode
- Reading glasses could be a thing of the past
- 6 cool ways teachers are using technology in the classroom
- Emerging tech jobs in Phoenix and how to get one in 2017
- 4 top treatments athletes use for pain
- Emergency! What to do when bathrooms flood
- Operation Santa Claus needs holiday help
- This college bowl season is likely to be epic
- Arizona kids in crisis: How you can help
- 11 holiday classics for the ultimate movie marathon
- 2016 college football rivalry games you simply can't miss
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- The new beer pairing guide for holiday foods
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains
- 6 tips to create the best family movie night
- New bone marrow procedure holds promise for healing pain
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- Diet, exercise and aspirin: 3 tools to fight colon cancer
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona