Pallone’s SANDy Act Passes the House in Omnibus Spending Bill
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed Pallone’s Sandy Act, which was included in the omnibus spending package and reauthorization of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). As the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Pallone led bipartisan, bicameral negotiations that resulted in the FCC bill.
Pallone authored the SANDy Act, which helps ensure the resiliency of the nation’s communications networks during emergencies. The bill recognizes the critical role that wireline and mobile telephone, internet, radio and television broadcast, cable, and satellite services play during emergencies by providing priority access to otherwise restricted areas during emergencies like other utilities, to help them repair and maintain their communications equipment during disasters. It would also begin a process to provide 911 services over Wi-Fi hotspots during emergencies.
“With the passage of the SANDy Act today, we are one step closer to helping first responders, businesses and private citizens communicate during disasters,” said Pallone. “In New Jersey, we learned firsthand during Hurricane Sandy the importance of communications during an emergency. Broadcasters and cable providers give us the critical information we need to stay out of harm’s way. Making a call for help is difficult when the power is out, and when the cell towers are also down, it can be nearly impossible. We must do everything we can to be better prepared for the next time disaster strikes, and the SANDy Act will ensure that we are prepared.”
The FCC reauthorization bill also includes Pallone’s Viewer Protection Act, which would ensure no viewer loses signal as a result of the FCC’s incentive auction. The bill would ensure the necessary funds are available so that broadcasters can switch to new frequencies and ensure that viewers will keep their television signal. It also sets aside $50 million to educate TV viewers on how to access their local TV stations after the stations switch.