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house Bill H.R. 588

Ensuring Affordable Access to Telecommunication Networks After Disasters

Argument in favor

Americans need to be able to rely on their communications systems after a disaster strikes. This bill would ensure that people can use their cell phones and other devices at reasonable rates while also making it easier for communication infrastructure to be repaired.

CPMonroe's Opinion
···
01/21/2017
Carriers have been making huge profits on deregulated communication frequencies for a while now. This functionality, only implemented during emergencies or crises, is the bare minimum that businesses should have to provide in order to utilize the free, deregulated frequently(s) - e.g. a 'fair use' policy for cellular, radio, GPS, WiFi, etc. This legislation would not only bolster the efficacy of emergency & other support services but having a functional communications network during a disaster would allow rescuers to accurately locate people who might be unable to call for help.
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Rachel's Opinion
···
01/21/2017
Price gouging during emergencies is unethical, and people need to be able to get in touch with loved ones in times of crisis without worrying about receiving a huge bill for it in the future.
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Noah's Opinion
···
01/21/2017
There is no reason that people should be barred from trying to call family after a disaster. People lose enough in natural disasters, and it is inhumane for them to need to worry about anything else.
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Argument opposed

There’s no guarantee that this bill’s provisions would ensure that communications systems are up and running after any given disaster, regardless of the severity. Coordination between the feds and the private sector on this is a good start, but they may not be successful.

M. jeremy's Opinion
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01/21/2017
While one could agree that telecommunications are vital in the advent of a disaster, turning to "government" to wrong the world's ills is only making things worse.
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Elizabeth's Opinion
···
01/21/2017
You cannot force communication companies to waive their fees, disaster or no disaster. If communication needs to be improved during disasters, you guys need to leave it to private companies (that, frankly, are already making great strides in the area) or figure out a way to do it without hampering the business economy.
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StahlGrau333's Opinion
···
01/25/2017
First and foremost, this "study" will cost the taxpayers is an attempt to nationalize private utility infrastructure on the basis of a localized, intrastate event. This is the domain of State Governments, not Congress. Even if one disagrees on that point, the Bill attempts to legislate through technical obstacles that without mentioning the incredible cost required to overcome them. For example, it requires a provider to open their WiFi access points, without any credentials required...one would think the Democrats would have learned their lesson on that one already.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
  • The house Passed January 23rd, 2017
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
      Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management
    IntroducedJanuary 17th, 2017

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Bill Activity

  • action
    Introduced in House
  • referral
    Referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and in addition to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.
  • referral
    Referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and in addition to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.
  • referral
    Referred to the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management.
  • action
    Mr. Davis, Rodney moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill.
  • action
    Considered under suspension of the rules.
  • action
    DEBATE - The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 588.
  • vote
    On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill Agreed to by voice vote.
  • action
    Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.
  • referral
    Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
  • The house Passed January 23rd, 2017
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
      Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management
    IntroducedJanuary 17th, 2017

Log in or create an account to see how your Reps voted!
    Carriers have been making huge profits on deregulated communication frequencies for a while now. This functionality, only implemented during emergencies or crises, is the bare minimum that businesses should have to provide in order to utilize the free, deregulated frequently(s) - e.g. a 'fair use' policy for cellular, radio, GPS, WiFi, etc. This legislation would not only bolster the efficacy of emergency & other support services but having a functional communications network during a disaster would allow rescuers to accurately locate people who might be unable to call for help.
    Like (138)
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    While one could agree that telecommunications are vital in the advent of a disaster, turning to "government" to wrong the world's ills is only making things worse.
    Like (13)
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    Price gouging during emergencies is unethical, and people need to be able to get in touch with loved ones in times of crisis without worrying about receiving a huge bill for it in the future.
    Like (65)
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    There is no reason that people should be barred from trying to call family after a disaster. People lose enough in natural disasters, and it is inhumane for them to need to worry about anything else.
    Like (61)
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    As an IT professional, I actually find the current (fragile) state of our telecommunications systems very troubling, especially given how much our society has come to rely on a solid technological infrastructure. Yes, I think this is *extremely* important.
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    Private sector issue.
    Like (12)
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    This is about much more than just browsing the internet. In recent disasters around the world Facebook has been the primary method of finding out if your loved ones are alive thanks to its "safety check". Lives have also been saved from trapped or stranded victims being able to communicate to rescuers through use of the internet. The potential amount of lives to be saved, and full impact of this bill passing cannot be over stated.
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    You cannot force communication companies to waive their fees, disaster or no disaster. If communication needs to be improved during disasters, you guys need to leave it to private companies (that, frankly, are already making great strides in the area) or figure out a way to do it without hampering the business economy.
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    Charging a fee when someone calls for help is wrong. This is nickle and diming and it's not allowed under POTS land line service. Put a rein if these wireless companies and hold them more accountable for egregious pricing structures.
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    We need the ability to reach out to our family in a disaster.
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    Yes! Our networks do not seem to have the bandwidth or throughput (not sure which is the problem) to handle drastic increases in traffic that accompany any type of emergency. I walked in the Women's Rights March yesterday in Nashville, and though I had an LTE (Verizon) signal, data connections were nearly useless from within the crowd. That is one example of how our data networks cannot handle high traffic areas or floods of traffic in a short period of time.
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    First and foremost, this "study" will cost the taxpayers is an attempt to nationalize private utility infrastructure on the basis of a localized, intrastate event. This is the domain of State Governments, not Congress. Even if one disagrees on that point, the Bill attempts to legislate through technical obstacles that without mentioning the incredible cost required to overcome them. For example, it requires a provider to open their WiFi access points, without any credentials required...one would think the Democrats would have learned their lesson on that one already.
    Like (6)
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    Access to communication and information infrastructure is critical to life in 2017.
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    Don't let the Federal dogs loose. This is a countywide or state issue. This could also become a Telecommunications issue, for example, Verizon or AT&T offering a new service. Leave this in the hands of professionals who "can make it happen."
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    Internet, phone, and other telecommunication networks should be a public utility managed by local governments, much like gas, water, and trash/recycling.
    Like (5)
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    That's a private sector matter. We need to get a handle on spending and corruption before we do anything else.
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    This seems like a no brainer.
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    Government should not be involved in private sector
    Like (4)
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    We need the ability to communicate for safety of those in the disaster zone as well as the responders.
    Like (4)
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    Really, ensure affordable access? what would that look like? They are suppose to ensure that carriers have access to restoring services.
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