For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Hearn
PITTSBURGH, February 12, 2019 – The American Cable Association has asked the Federal Communications Commission and its Public Safety Homeland Security Bureau to pursue constructive measures to improve network resiliency and disaster recovery in the wake of last year’s major storms. As the agency’s work in this area progresses, ACA urges it to ensure that the circumstances and perspectives of smaller operators are taken into account.
“ACA applauds the FCC and the Bureau for their efforts to promote the resiliency of our nation’s communications networks,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. “Providing reliable service and quickly rectifying outages are top priorities for ACA member companies. To that end, ACA encourages the FCC and the Bureau to focus their energies on measures that are most likely to advance these objectives.”
In comments filed on Feb. 8, ACA suggested steps to improve coordination between the communications and power sectors during emergencies. In particular, ACA recommended that large power companies identify appropriate points of contact for coordination at different stages of a disaster recovery and that they solicit input from communications providers to inform their restoration priorities.
“These modest steps would substantially ease coordination, especially for smaller providers that find it particularly difficult to engage with much larger power companies when a disaster strikes,” Polka said. “We look forward to working through the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee and other forums on these issues.”
ACA explained that the same concerns do not arise with regard to smaller power companies, particularly those that are affiliated with municipally owned or cooperatively owned communications providers. These companies’ small size and other factors already promote effective coordination across sectors during emergencies.
In the same filing, ACA discouraged the Bureau from taking steps to incorporate wireless backhaul providers into a “cooperative framework,” either the one used today by wireless carriers to coordinate disaster response or a new framework of backhaul providers’ own.
“The contracts under which ACA members and others provide backhaul services already ensure that service is provided on a resilient basis and that providers share information adequately during disasters. These incentives are particularly strong for smaller operators.. Any attempt to layer a ‘cooperative framework’ on top of these existing contractual mechanisms and incentives would only complicate, and potentially impede, disaster recovery,” Polka said.
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing more than 700 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, phone and video services to nearly 8 million customers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA’s members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business. For more information, visit: https://www.americancable.org/