FCC monitoring Internet, phone outages

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"We are praying for the best, and preparing for the worst," Genachowski said in a statement.

The FCC is particularly focused on 911 call centers. A storm in July caused problems for many 911 centers in the mid-Atlantic, and may have prevented some people from calling for help. 

On Monday, Genachowski spoke to the CEOs of the major communications companies in the areas likely to be hit by the storm, according to Tammy Sun, a commission spokeswoman. He discussed preparedness efforts, and offered the commission's resources and support.

The FCC's emergency response team, which includes top commission officials, worked through the weekend to prepare for the storm.

Sun said that the FCC is ready to send agents into the field with devices that analyze which frequencies are still carrying signals, and which frequencies have gone dark. The information can help the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state officials restore communications services. The FCC also has field engineers who can help FEMA's communications recovery efforts. 

The FCC published a tip sheet online on Monday to help the public communicate during the storm. The FCC encourages people to limit their non-emergency phone calls and to keep calls short so mobile networks aren't congested. The tip sheet also recommends that people text message rather than call one another for non-emergency conversations.