FCC Creates Online Disaster Information Clearinghouse

The Federal Communications Commission said it created an online tool to make it easier for broadcast and cable companies to voluntarily keep the commission apprised of their infrastructure status during an emergency.

The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau created an automated Disaster Information Reporting System database.

Participants will log into the system and input contact info, then be able to provide information to the site in an emergency, including whether they are on generator or battery power and access to fuel.

Since it will essentially be TV stations and cable operators reporting on potential weaknesses in the national communications systems, not to mention -- although the FCC did mention -- trade secrets and/or financial info, the information will be treated as presumptively confidential, which means that the FCC will not share the information, except with the National Communications System, the interdepartmental point-agency for crisis communications.

The commission has asked communications companies to contact it with the names of the executives who will be providing the information.

When the system is activated during an emergency, e-mails will be sent out requesting info from affected broadcast and cable participants.

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.