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CTIA & Pallone Announce “Wireless Network Resiliency Cooperative Framework” for Disasters and Emergencies

Apr 27, 2016
Press Release
Agreement Meets Wireless Resiliency Provisions in SANDy Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and CTIA, together with wireless providers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon announced today the “Wireless Network Resiliency Cooperative Framework” [PDF] to share information and advance wireless network resiliency before, during and after disasters and emergencies.
 
Today’s agreement comes after ongoing discussions for five months between Pallone, FCC Chairman Wheeler and CTIA. The discussions began after Pallone introduced the Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act – or the SANDy Act, which improves the resiliency of the nation’s communications networks during disasters and emergencies.
 
Specifically, the Framework:
·         Provides for reasonable arrangements for roaming during disasters when technically feasible;
·         Fosters mutual aid during emergencies;
·         Enhances local governments’ preparedness and restoration;
·         Increases consumer readiness and preparation; and
·         Improves public awareness and stakeholder communications on service and restoration status by providing public information on actual outages for given disasters or emergencies.
 
“This agreement will save lives during major emergencies like Superstorm Sandy,” said Pallone.  “I commend CTIA and the FCC for working with me to craft a comprehensive agreement that ensures consumers have access to wireless service during an emergency even if their wireless network goes down.”
 
“I am pleased that CTIA and the wireless providers created a set of common-sense solutions to improve coordination and network recovery during disasters and emergencies. This Framework will benefit consumers and help limit the impact of future disasters, while avoiding unworkable and unnecessary mandates,” said CTIA President and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker. “I also commend Representative Pallone and Chairman Wheeler for their leadership, which will help keep Americans safe and connected during the next storm.”
 
“For millions of Americans, mobile devices have become the primary way to communicate. Consumers need confidence that wireless networks will be there when they need them the most,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. “I applaud Rep. Frank Pallone for keeping the spotlight on this issue and the wireless industry for stepping up for the needs of their customers by proposing voluntary solutions aimed at improving reliability when natural disasters and other emergencies strike.”
 
During and after Superstorm Sandy there was a major breakdown of telecommunications networks, including cellular and home telephones, television and internet services.  This created a dangerous barrier to emergency response and recovery for residents and towns.
 
Pallone’s SANDy Act will be voted on by the Energy and Commerce Committee this week.