FCC Official Asks Carriers About Plans if Power Shutdowns, Wildfires Occur
Friday, September 13, 2019 | Comments

The FCC’s Chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) Lisa Fowlkes asked nation’s largest wireless providers what steps they are taking to help keep wireless service available for public-safety officials and residents if power shutdowns occur and what steps they are taking generally to maintain service in the event of wildfires.

The letters — sent to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon — follow plans from California energy providers to potentially shut off power at times and in areas where the wildfire risk is high. “Wireless providers must be prepared for this scenario,” Fowlkes said.

“Recently, I traveled to Northern California to meet with public-safety officials about a range of emergency communications topics,” she said in a blog. “It was helpful to hear firsthand from these dedicated emergency managers about what’s working and where challenges remain. Needless to say, our conversation focused largely on the threats posed by wildfires and earthquakes, including how communications services are vital to protecting the public during such disasters.”

She asked the carriers to respond within 10 calendar days.

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