Rosenworcel: FCC Needs to Study Harvey Impact

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel says the FCC needs to study the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the communications infrastructure in affected areas and make sure that impacted communities are not "permanently relegated to the wrong side of the digital divide."

She said she was heartened that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was surveying the damage while in Texas this week, and said that the FCC will need to drill down officially, produce a report, and a plan for fixing the vulnerabilities the storm identified, including cell service outages and 911 issues.

According to the FCC's latest report on communications outages in the wake of the storm, in the 13 counties where communications providers are volunteering information per the FCC's disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS), which relies on voluntary industry self-reporting, 1.73% of cell sites are still out of service, up from 1.67% the day before, but no counties with greater than 25% of sites out of service.

There are currently 153,850 cable subs without service, down from 158,086.

Five radio stations are off air, down from seven the day before. The two TV stations that were off air, KBVT and KFDM, are now back on the air.

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.