NAB Implores FCC to Include Broadcasters in Sandy Hearings
WASHINGTON – Consider the
role played by broadcasters during Hurricane Sandy during field hearings into the
storm. That’s the message in a letter from National Association of Broadcasters
President and CEO Gordon Smith to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius
The chairman recently announced that the commission would commence a series of field
hearings early next year, focused on the resiliency of communications networks during
and after Superstorm Sandy, which left millions on the East Coast without power
and communications. Wireless networks were particularly hard hit.
Smith’s letter noted that, “… In many cities and for millions of people in Sandy’s
path, broadcasters were the only source of information during those difficult days.
Many stations provided continuous coverage of the storm, day after day, in an effort
to serve their local communities. Service to community is the lifeblood of the local
broadcaster, and we take seriously our role as first informers during times of crisis.”
He told Genachowski that “broadcasters are eager to participate in these field hearings.”
They are to include “businesses, public safety officials, engineering and academic
experts, consumers and other stakeholders,” according to Genachowki’s announcement.
Topics of inquiry will include how wireless providers prepared for the storm, and
if subscribers were notified of alternative forms of communication. The commission
will explore how providers shared resources such as cell sites, WiFi networks and
transmission facilities, and if the agency can facilitate such arrangements.
In many areas, the service disruptions were due to power outages. The commission
will look into what type of back-up power sources were available, how they might
be updated, and at what cost. It will also explore transport connectivity, which
experienced points of failure during the storm. E.g., how interconnection and switching
can be made more resilient, and what backhaul technologies are most reliant.
The hearings, not yet scheduled, will begin in New York.