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FCC Gears Up to Monitor/Aid Communications in Blizzard

Only days after a two-part hearing in New York and New
Jersey on communications failures during Superstorm Sandy, the FCC was revving
up to monitor and provide assistance to communications providers as a new storm
bore down on New England.

According to an FCC official, the FCC's action plan includes
the following:

Chairman Julius Genachowski and the Public Safety &
Homeland Security Bureau are reaching out to other government entities and
communications carriers to lay the groundwork for a response.

The FCC's network operations center is staffed 24/7 and the
FCC will issue a public notice later today providing contact information to

The FCC will team with FEMA and others to monitor the impact
on communications networks and be ready to respond. That could include special
temporary authority to provide or restore service, which will enable
broadcasters to stay on the air with info or first responders to use spectrum
for recovery and relief.

If necessary, the FCC can activate its Disaster Information
Reporting System (DIRS) to help assess outages and support restoration.

Consumers who want tips on how to communicate during an
emergency can prepare now and check out the FCC's tip sheet here.