Pallone Applauds Passage of SANDy Act in Senate
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) applauded the Senate for passing the SANDy Act, which will help ensure the resiliency of the nation’s communications networks during emergencies. Pallone first introduced the SANDy Act in November 2015 and helped pass it in the House twice.
"The recent disasters across the country have been yet another reminder of how important it is that Congress pass my bill. I therefore applaud the Senate for passing the SANDy Act. This law complements the Resiliency Framework that we crafted with the wireless carriers last year that is already making people safer when disaster strikes. We are fast approaching the five year anniversary of when Superstorm Sandy ripped through New Jersey. We in New Jersey saw firsthand how critical communications networks can be during emergencies. We must do everything we can to be prepared for disasters like Sandy, Harvey, Irma and the wildfires in the West, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in both the House and Senate to make the SANDy Act law.”
During and after Sandy there was a major breakdown of communications networks, including cellular and home telephones, television, and internet services. This created a dangerous barrier to emergency response and recovery for residents and towns. Pallone’s SANDy Act would make sure all communication providers—radio, TV, Internet, and phone—can fix outages faster, even across state lines. It will recognize 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.
Last year, Pallone, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and CTIA, together with wireless providers AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon announced an agreement that wireless providers will share information and advance wireless network resiliency before, during, and after disasters and emergencies. The Framework is also supported by the Competitive Carriers Association and its members. The agreement provides for reasonable arrangements for roaming during disasters when technically feasible, fostering mutual aid during emergencies, enhancing local governments’ preparedness and restoration, increasing consumer readiness and preparation, and improving public awareness and stakeholder communications on service and restoration status by providing public information on actual outages for given disasters or emergencies. The Framework is also supported by the Competitive Carriers Association and its members. That agreement has already made a difference in improving communication during recent storms.