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Background: the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today released its report on the failure of the 9-1-1 system impacted by the Derecho Storm of June 2012. Among the Report’s recommendations was a recommendation that the FCC require telephone central offices to have emergency back up power.
The following statement may be attributed to Harold Feld, Senior Vice President:
“The true test of an emergency communication system is in the extreme and unpredictable event. The importance of backup power was made clear in the aftermath of Katrina, but industry litigation prevented those recommendations from being implemented by the FCC.
“The FCC has now once again focused on the importance of backup power in a disaster. Unlike the argument against backup power for for cell sites, no one can imagine that backup power for the central office is an unwarranted expense or unnecessary intrusion. Whatever other systems may fail, the core of the emergency communication system must continue to function under all circumstances. An emergency communication system that fails us when we need it most is worse than no emergency communication system at all.
“Going forward, the Commission must consider in the task force examining the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy how best to ensure that citizens can reach core emergency communication services in a crisis. But the essential foundation is a 9-1-1 network that, once reached, is always up and running. Hopefully, rather than going to court to block rules that protect the public, industry will this time embrace the recommendations of the Derecho Report and whatever rules the FCC adopts to implement them."
A copy of the FCC’s Derecho Report can be found here.