Opinion

4 ways to get phone service the next time a hurricane Sandy calls

In the aftermath of a disaster such as superstorm Sandy, two-way communication is essential. Here are four ways to better prepare our phones and other devices for the next disaster:

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2. Let the FCC do its job

To its credit, the Federal Communications Commission has proposed some standards that would require telecom operators to maintain a minimum amount of backup power in the event of disasters – just as the old landline telephone network of Ma Bell days had backup power at local exchange stations and provided auxiliary power through the phone line.

The mobile phone operators have challenged the FCC's ability to do this in court, claiming that they have a self-interest to keep their networks operational, and do not need the FCC to tell them what to do. After Sandy, it should be obvious to all that they are incorrect.

All telecom operators should be required to put in place a minimum amount of backup power before storms in order to ensure a minimum level of service. If members of the public are warned and asked to buy batteries and stock up on supplies in the days before a storm, shouldn't the industry have to do the same?

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