FCC’s Hurricane Response Morphs Into Long-Term Mode
The FCC has formed a Hurricane Recovery Task Force to continue its work that supports the restoration of communications services in areas affected by this season’s hurricanes, with an emphasis on addressing the challenges facing Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The task force will allow the agency to coordinate its approach across bureaus and offices, according to Chairman Ajit Pai.
“As we shift from short-term incident management to a longer-term recovery phase, it makes sense to adjust the structure of the FCC’s response,” said the Chairman. “The Hurricane Recovery Task Force will allow us to do just that.”
Michael Carowitz, Special Counsel to Chairman Pai, will chair the task force, which will include representatives from several bureaus and offices within the agency. The agency will continue response efforts to support the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Commission helps coordinate requests for assistance from communications providers, compiles and analyzes data on the operational status of communications services, and deploys personnel at FEMA’s request.
Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel welcomed the move. At the last public meeting, she called for a similar commitment from the agency to learn from the experience as it did following Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. “I appreciate that the Chairman has listened to my recommendations and decided to put in place a broader effort to review the scale and scope of the damage done to essential communications infrastructure this hurricane season. We need to understand what went wrong, what went right, and how we can be better prepared in the future,” said Rosenworcel.