Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to provide state and federal agencies with read-only access to communications outage data for public safety purposes. Public Knowledge commends the FCC for sharing this data with federal and state governments, but urges the agency to also provide this information to the public so that subscribers can select networks based on reliability and resiliency.
The following can be attributed to Harold Feld, Senior Vice President at Public Knowledge:
“The FCC has consistently declined to impose rigorous reliability standards on carriers, in part because it accepts the carriers’ arguments that they have sufficient market incentives to avoid outages. But markets only function with information. Consumers cannot choose their mobile network based on reliability in an emergency because they have no way to know which networks collapse in a crisis or which stay standing. Consumers have no way to know which carriers have the longest or shortest recovery times, so carriers have no incentive to spend what it takes to harden their networks.
“If the FCC insists on relying on market incentives instead of setting standards by regulation, then the FCC must enable the market to work. While providing real-time information to public safety responders is important to saving lives in a crisis, the FCC should not stop there. It should make the outage information available to the public, so that consumers can reward carriers that invest in necessary emergency preparations to keep their networks up and operating.”
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-249-9435.