Pallone proposes improved disaster communications


Share post:

Proposed federal legislation could one day help residents across New Jersey who lost cell phone service and experienced power blackouts as a result of superstorm Sandy.

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-Monmouth, Middlesex) has introduced the Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act (H.R. 3998) that would, if passed in the House and Senate and signed into law by the president, improve communications and prevent widespread cell phone service outages during disasters.

- Advertisement -

“It is about trying to improve communication because during Sandy a lot of cell phone towers went down, it was difficult to communicate in general,” Pallone said. “So we are trying to get at that problem.”

The congressman said the primary aspect of the legislation would ensure that consumer cell phones would work on other carriers’ networks when a carrier goes down.

The act would also give priority to 911 services and emergency alerts, increase coordination between wireless carriers, utilities and public safety officials, and provide 911 services over Wi-Fi hotspots during emergencies.

According to Pallone, during superstorm Sandy in 2012, one in four cell phone towers inNew Jersey was not functional, and in the hardest hit areas of the state almost half of the towers were not functional.

Pallone said the initiative would be a multi-faceted approach to improving communications during emergencies.

“The whole idea is to have communications systems to be inter-operable during a storm or any kind of emergency,” he said. “The idea is that systems would kick in during an emergency that would be inter-operable because we had major problems during Sandy.”

The bill, according to Pallone, would launch an expansive study of the future of network resiliency.

“We had a lot of discussions, even in the first days after Sandy, to make power lines more resilient, communications more resilient, so they do not go out,” he said. “Some of the power problems we had during Sandy had actually occurred during previous storms, so the idea is to make the communications infrastructure more resilient so it does not go out during a storm.”

Another component of the bill would ensure that communications providers, including radio, TV and telephone, could repair outages more quickly.

Pallone said the bill is currently in the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, of which he is the ranking member.

He said many of the ideas that are contained in the bill came from a recent roundtable discussion in Monmouth Beach that focused on telecommunications, broadcast, social media and first-responder communications. It included officials of broadcast, telecommunications and utility companies.


Stay Connected


Current Issue

Latest News

Related articles

Sponsored: Steps to Take Now to Prevent Colorectal Cancer (Even if You’re a Young Adult)

Actor Chadwick Boseman’s death four years ago from stage IV colon cancer at age 43 illuminated a disturbing...

New Jersey needs law to control invasive species

By Tom Gilbert What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens in New Jersey yards and...

Monmouth County News Briefs, Jan. 25

The Assembly Judiciary Committee on Jan. 19 cleared a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Vicky Flynn (R-Monmouth) that would,...

News Transcript News Briefs, Jan. 25

The Manalapan Police Department has reported the following incidents which recently occurred in the community: On Jan. 4 at...