To the Federal Communications Commission:

For the past several years, organizations like Free Press have been urging the FCC to clearly define its role during emergencies, to be transparent with the public about the agency’s efforts to restore emergency communications and to protect against future failures. In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida — and amid problems lingering from Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico — this work is more important than ever and should be an agency priority.

We need the Biden FCC to investigate the communications outages caused by Hurricane Ida — particularly the loss of 911 service in Louisiana — and we need the agency to take a hard look at whether our communications infrastructure is prepared for the next climate-crisis-fueled disaster. The FCC must also center impacted communities, hold communications companies accountable and issue enforceable mandates to protect the public during the increasingly dangerous climate crisis.

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    Tell the FCC: Communications Infrastructure Can Save Lives

    Tell the FCC: Communications Infrastructure Can Save Lives

    The ability to communicate during a disaster is a life-and-death matter. Whether it’s Hurricane Ida in Louisiana, Maria in Puerto Rico, wildfires in the west, or the winter storm in Texas, these deadly weather events have become all too common. And these disasters have a direct impact on people’s ability to stay connected and informed.

    The lesson in the wake of Hurricane Ida and other devastating storms is that resilient infrastructure can save lives. Sound infrastructure investment can protect a city from flooding and maintain roads and bridges that people need to evacuate in the moments before a storm or other disaster strikes. Communications infrastructure is just as critical to keeping people out of harm’s way.

    The lack of communications makes it impossible to make lifesaving calls for help and undermines critical relief efforts in the immediate aftermath. It also impacts people’s ability to contact loved ones, employers and health-care providers in the days and weeks following a disaster.

    The Federal Communications Commission must do everything it can to ensure that communications infrastructures everywhere can withstand the disasters that are striking the country with increased frequency.

    In the midst of an increasingly violent hurricane season, this work is more important than ever. Urge the FCC to investigate the communications outages caused by Hurricane Ida and develop regulations and policies to strengthen our nation’s communications networks.