February 14, 2022

Wyden, Markey Urge FCC to Promote Communications Network Resiliency During Emergencies Such as Extreme Weather, Climate-related Events

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., today wrote to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) expressing support for the agency’s recent notice of proposed rulemaking to enhance the resiliency of communications networks during emergency situations as aging infrastructure and climate change ignite wildfires in Oregon and across the West.

Strong action by the FCC is necessary to address the growing threats to communications networks created by extreme weather, natural disasters, including wildfires, and climate change-related events, which are increasingly causing more frequent and severe service disruptions.

Wyden and Markey encouraged the FCC to adopt rules aligned with their Generating Resilient and Energy Efficient (GREEN) Communications Act, legislation introduced to promote network resiliency. In addition, the Senators expressed support for modifications to the Wireless Network Resiliency Cooperative Framework, measures to address the need for emergency roaming, requirements for increased reporting to promote situational awareness, and steps to address the impact of power outages affecting communications networks.

As demonstrated by the recent outages that Hurricanes Ida and Nicholas caused—which severely disabled wireless, wireline, and emergency communication services in Louisiana and Texas—network resiliency is essential during times of crisis,” the Senators wrote in their letter to FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Outages can be life-threatening when they prevent individuals from staying informed or communicating with first responders and loved ones.”

Wyden and Markey previously introduced the GREEN Communications Act to promote network resiliency, provide financial assistance for projects that aim to strengthen communications infrastructure against emergency events, identify vulnerabilities in communications infrastructure, develop more resilient communications technologies, train employees to respond to network outages, and expedite service restoration when necessary. The GREEN Communications Act would also empower the FCC to issue rules and establish a regulatory resiliency framework designed to minimize the number, duration, and impact of future communications network outages, as well as plan for long-term disruptions to networks and support the communications needs of first responders.

A copy of the letter is here.