Carriers Agree with Lawmaker, FCC on Network Resiliency Agreement
Wednesday, April 27, 2016 | Comments

The five largest U.S. wireless carriers announced an agreement to share information and advance wireless network resiliency before, during and after disasters and emergencies.

The Wireless Network Resiliency Cooperative Framework follows new rules from the FCC in late 2013 and discussions among Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone Jr., FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and CTIA, a statement said.

Rep. Pallone introduced the Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act — the SANDy Act — that improves the resiliency of the nation’s communications networks during disasters and emergencies. The SANDy Act will be voted on by the Energy and Commerce Committee this week.

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon released the framework, which agrees to the following:
• Provides for reasonable arrangements for roaming during disasters when technically feasible;
• Fosters mutual aid during emergencies;
• Enhances local governments’ preparedness and restoration;
• Increases consumer readiness and preparation; and
• Improves public awareness and stakeholder communications on service and restoration status by providing public information on actual outages for given disasters or emergencies.

“This agreement will save lives during major emergencies like Superstorm Sandy,” said Pallone. “I commend CTIA and the FCC for working with me to craft a comprehensive agreement that ensures consumers have access to wireless service during an emergency, even if their wireless network goes down.”

During and after Superstorm Sandy there was a major breakdown of telecommunications networks, including cellular and home telephones, television and Internet services. This created a dangerous barrier to emergency response and recovery for residents and towns.

“I am pleased that CTIA and the wireless providers created a set of common-sense solutions to improve coordination and network recovery during disasters and emergencies,” said CTIA President and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker. “This framework will benefit consumers and help limit the impact of future disasters, while avoiding unworkable and unnecessary mandates. I also commend Rep. Pallone and Chairman Wheeler for their leadership, which will help keep Americans safe and connected during the next storm.”

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International applauded the agreement.
“When introduced by Rep. Pallone, APCO commended the SANDy Act, as it would be helpful to 9-1-1 public-safety answering points (PSAPs) facing large-scale disasters and would generally lead to improvements in emergency communications," said APCO CEO and Executive Director Derek Poarch. "By implementing many of the provisions of the SANDy Act applicable to wireless service providers and consistent with APCO’s public comments with the FCC, the framework will benefit PSAPs across the country by improving public-safety awareness regarding service and restoration status and providing access to up-to-date contact information. APCO stands ready to work with the wireless industry, Rep. Pallone and the FCC to help implement the framework.”

The agreement is here.

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