FCC seeks comments on broadband network reliability in emergencies

The Federal Communications Commission is looking for comments on how to improve the reliability and resiliency of the nation’s communications networks.

The commission issued a Notice of Inquiry April 7 seeking public comment on ways to make America’s communications networks less susceptible to system failure during times of emergency in light of the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

As communications services migrate to broadband, important communications services will increasingly travel via a communications network infrastructure that may not be built to the same standards as legacy systems, a commission announcement said.

The NOI seeks comment on four areas:
Current efforts by the industry to ensure continuity of communications service during major disasters;
Existing reliability and resiliency standards for broadband communications networks;
The FCC’s role in promoting the reliability, resiliency and continuity of communications services; and
The FCC’s legal authority to act to ensure the reliability, resiliency and continuity of communications services.

In comments released on the commission’s website, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said the migration for older legacy technologies to IP-based broadband technology “underscores the need for an assessment of the reliability of our communications networks.”

“That is why the National Broadband Plan recommended that the commission commence an inquiry to better understand the reliability and resiliency standards being applied to broadband networks,” he said.

“Our goal is to determine what actions we should take to ensure that our communications networks remain functioning when there is a natural or manmade disaster,” said Genachowski.

Public comments are due July 7, and reply comments are due Sept. 1.