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Citing Hurricane Ida, FCC Waives Number Portability Restriction

A section of a building's roof is seen after being blown off during rain and winds in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana on Aug. 29, 2021 during Hurricane Ida.
A section of a building's roof is seen after being blown off during rain and winds in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana on Aug. 29, 2021 during Hurricane Ida. (Image credit: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

In the wake of Hurricane Ida, the FCC has waived its numbering rules to allow carriers in Louisiana and Mississippi to port phone numbers outside of their geographical rate centers during the anticipated disruption from the storm, which came ashore in Louisiana Sunday (Aug. 29) as a category four storm.

Given the expected significant damage, said the FCC, and the resulting service disruptions and outages, the FCC is extending its number portability to location portability by temporarily allowing numbers to be ported outside their rate centers.

"We recognize that telecommunications service must be restored to the hurricane victims as quickly as possible, and we find that waiver of the Commission’s local number portability and number assignment rules is a reasonable and practical means for doing so," the FCC said. 

Also Read: FCC Gives Hurricane-Affected Stations Extra Time to Pay Up

The waiver, which applies to both carriers affected by the storm and other carriers pitching in to help them stay connected, extends for 90 days (through Nov. 27, 2021), though the FCC somewhat ominously added that that date could be extended.

"FCC staff have been deployed to the affected areas to assess the post-landfall impact to communications networks and to assist in efforts to restore service as quickly as possible," said acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel

The FCC is also activating its Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) so that it can track the outages, telecom, cable and broadcast. 

The FCC reminds "broadcasters, cable service providers, wireless and wireline service providers, satellite service providers, emergency response managers and first responders" who need any help continuing to offer service or getting back up to contact the FCC Operations Center for assistance at 202-418-1122 or by e-mail at FCCOPS@fcc.gov.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.