FCC Wants Carriers to Disclose Emergency Outages

lightningNearly everyone has a cell phone, so it’s not surprising that statistics indicate the majority of 911 emergency calls are made from wireless devices, as opposed to landlines. After a natural disaster, like Hurricane Sandy last year, cell service is crucial. That’s why the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a rule requiring all carriers to publicly disclose daily reports on cell service outages after a disaster.

The new regulations will be a way for consumers to see the wireless performance in emergency situations, along with improving reliability through competition, says the FCC. The rule was proposed on Sept. 26, and will be open for comment soon.

In January, the FCC demanded back-up power requirements for telephone companies after 911 outages during the June 2012 derecho storm – one of the most destructive in U.S. history – endangered millions of citizens. Nearly 80 emergency call centers in six states lost phone connections during the storm.

A month later, in February 2013, the FCC kicked off a series of field hearings to analyze the challenges faced by communications carriers during natural disasters, and hopefully improve networks nationwide.