In testimony to Congress Sept. 29 about continuing effects of Hurricane Katrina on public safety communications, FCC Commissioner Kevin Martin outlined a damage report to the nation’s communication infrastructure.
As of Sept. 28, the FCC survey of the damage to broadcast, cable and satellite infrastructure found:
Martin also presented three suggestions to improve communications response to future emergencies. Those include:
Seamless communications of first responders — particularly the interoperability of communications systems of local emergency personnel nationwide — has been the focus of scrutiny from the 911 Commission and most recently Senator John McCain (R-AZ). Following Katrina, McCain called for an accelerated schedule to return analog TV spectrum based on the need to free up spectrum for an interoperable first responder communications system.
In his testimony, Martin said there are two essential elements to such an interoperable communications system: it must allow “different organizations from different jurisdictions to communication with each other” via voice and data, which in turn requires sufficient spectrum; it must be able to be deployed and restored quickly.
Martin’s comments were presented to the House subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.
For more information, visit www.fcc.gov.