FCC Issues White Paper On Emergency Communications Restoration By Air
September 23, 2011 at 4:47 PM (PT)
The FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau has released a white paper on "deployable aerial communications architecture" -- with piloted or unmanned aircraft and balloons --to keep communications going when terrestrial communications infrastructure is severely damaged or unavailable. The paper proposes a DACA plan that would deploy 12 to 18 hours after a catastrophic event to restore critical communications, including broadband, temporarily for a period of 72 hours or more.
The Bureau is recommending that an inquiry be opened by the end of the year to gather data and address the issues raised in the paper, hold a workshop before the end of the year, and work with FEMA, the FAA, the State Department, and other agencies on pilot programs and implementation issues.
"We are reminded daily that a catastrophic disaster, natural or otherwise, can occur anytime and anywhere. Terrestrial communications services are often severely impaired -- or knocked out entirely -- during these events, which complicates even the most prepared response effort. It is vitally important that we examine technologies that have potential to improve emergency response when these events occur. This white paper starts us firmly on that path," said Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Chief JAMES A. BARNETT, JR., Rear Admiral (ret.). "This study examines the use of state-of-the-art communications capabilities on aerial platforms -- such as piloted aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and balloons -- currently employed by our Nation's military as another valuable tool for our first responders and disaster recovery professionals. We cannot miss any opportunity to equip these men and women with the best communications capabilities as they risk their lives to protect ours and provide our citizens the connectivity they need in the most critical of times."