FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel Provides Agency Update on Hurricane Ian

(Image credit: PBS)

WASHINGTON—Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel provided an update today on the agency’s efforts to support the operation and restoration of communications services in the path of Hurricane Ian:

“All of us have our eyes on Hurricane Ian, which caused catastrophic destruction in Florida and is now bearing down on Georgia and South Carolina as another landfall looms.  At the same time, Puerto Rico is still recovering from Hurricane Fiona, with many still left without power,” said Chairwoman Rosenworcel.  “Our thoughts are with those whose lives have been upended.  We have committed our resources now and for the long haul to help ensure communications recover and are rebuilt in the communities affected by both storms.”

The FCC has been coordinating closely with FEMA, CISA and other government partners, including officials in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, as well as communications providers in preparation for the storm, and now also during its aftermath, through actions including:

  • Establishing a website at www.fcc.gov/ian prior to landfall as a centralized location for all FCC information related to Hurricane Ian, including emergency communications tips in multiple languages; communication status reports; and additional content.
  • Deploying staff to perform surveys and assessments of spectrum usage in targeted areas, which will help federal agencies assess the post-landfall impact to broadcasters and public safety communications.
  • In coordination with FEMA and other government partners, activating its Disaster Information Reporting System for counties impacted by Hurricane Ian in Florida, and soon within Georgia and South Carolina.
  • Publishing the first comprehensive assessment of Hurricane Ian’s post-landfall impact on communications networks in the affected areas and providing daily updates to both government partners and the public.
  • Launching an initiative to share communications outage information reported to the FCC with state, federal, territorial, and Tribal nation agencies upon authorization. This can improve their situational awareness, enhance the ability to respond more quickly to outages affecting their communities, and help save lives. 
  • Engaging in daily coordination with Federal, state, and local partners, and staying apprised of participating wireless providers' implementation of the Wireless Network Resiliency Cooperative Framework, such as roaming and mutual aid, as well as encouraging similar actions by other industry segments (including broadcasters, wireless and wireline carriers, satellite operators, trade associations, and others).  
  • Working with federal partners to promote coordination between the communications and power sectors, which is critical during recovery efforts.
  • Distributed multilingual PSAs containing emergency communications tips to broadcasters in the path of Hurricane Ian.  
  • Issuing waivers to support the continuity of service and assessing the need for other regulatory assistance that may be helpful.

In addition to the above efforts, the FCC staff deployed to the affected areas continue to perform post-landfall, on-site surveys of communications services and infrastructure and assist with coordination and oversight of communications restoration.