BDAC Told Disaster Recovery is Complicated

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Disaster recovery was one of the topics explored by the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) on Thursday. FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said that while storms initially come through an area, there’s an initial hit on communications networks. But many issues come up after a storm. “There are trees down. You are trying to clear streets. Poles are damaged.” Fiber cuts happen during storm recovery efforts, he noted, adding that coordination between telecoms and utilities might help avoid some of the fiber cuts, “and make sure we have resilient networks for the weeks after a strong storm hits.”

Wireless Infrastructure Association President/CEO Jonathan Adelstein said his association and CTIA have filed petitions with the Commission on issues related to upgrading and hardening cell sites that also factor into public safety issues like storm preparation. One of the topics his BDAC Disaster Response and Recovery working group is tackling concerns power, specifically, how to get power — and back-up power — to a cell site. 

“There are many tower sites that lack backup power and installing generators is not always feasible,” said Adelstein, vice chair of the working group. “Carriers have to expand the compound, make it large enough to accommodate new deployments, to accommodate backup generators.”

He said there’s a discrepancy in the Commission’s rules that will not allow for these expansions when co-locating the equipment on a tower site. “That is why we filed petitions with the FCC last month, seeking to clarify the rules for mobile locations and compound expansions as well.”

Adelstein encouraged the industry to file comments on the petitions. Those are due by October 15.

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief

September 23, 2019

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