This bill seeks to improve the resiliency of telecommunications systems in the aftermath of emergencies and natural disasters. It would apply to emergencies where federal assistance is provided by a presidential declaration or if the governor of a U.S. state or territory.
This legislation would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to begin proceedings about mobile service providers’ roaming agreements in order to:
Allow for mobile service at reasonable rates during emergencies when there is a service outage lasting over 24 hours;
Provide for roaming agreements at no charge for communications during emergencies that are to or from 911 services.
The FCC would be required to create a master point of contact directory to improve communications between public safety answering points and telecommunications service providers.
The definition of “essential service provider” would be broadened to include all communications service providers, so that they can access a disaster site to repair and restore services following an emergency without being blocked by a federal agency. That would include providers or services related to wireline and mobile telephone, internet, radio and TV broadcasting, cable, and direct broadcast satellite services.