FCC wants cell companies to disclose reliability during disasters


Under the terms of the draft rules, cell service providers would need to submit the information about their cell sites to the FCC each day during and immediately after disasters. Companies already voluntarily report that information during disasters, but they do so confidentially and as part of a larger data set.

The commission hoped that the proposal would inspire wireless companies to make their networks more reliable.

That, in turn, would help people suffering through disasters, with an increasing number of people are relying on cell networks to get help during emergencies.

“The great majority of 911 calls (for example, a reported 75 percent of such calls in California) originate on wireless networks, and a growing number of U.S. households rely solely on wireless phones,” the FCC said in a statement.

In deciding to issue the proposal, the FCC used the example of cell service during Hurricane Sandy, which affected some wireless networks more than others.