The Federal Communications Commission recently created a project called the "Disaster Information Reporting System" (DIRS), a system that accesses contact information for organizations that can help during a disaster from wireless, landline, cable and satellite providers. After seeing the success of this system, the FCC (News - Alert) has decided to include VoIP providers and Internet Service Providers (ISP) in its program.
DIRS works over the Internet and allows volunteering companies to show the status of their infrastructures and report on any situations during a crisis, such as a hurricane that takes out parts of a wireless communications network. Companies that volunteer to participate can get designated federal contacts, receive any help to recover losses in infrastructure and make requests through an interface that allows them direct contact with the FCC. This will help communications providers assist their subscribers when they are most needed.
With the inclusion of VoIP and Internet service providers, the FCC gives the message that such services are now deemed essential in emergencies as well. The Federal Register notice posted by the FCC confirms this, saying that this step was necessary because a large number of customers and businesses – as well as government agencies – have become heavily reliant on broadband and VoIP services for day-to-day communications, even during emergencies.
"It is therefore imperative that the Disaster Information Reporting System be expanded to include these new technologies in order for the Commission to gain an accurate picture of the communications landscape during disasters," the notice continued.
The FCC plans to roll out these new changes within the next month, hoping to establish a dialogue with companies and members of the Commission until then. This new addition will finally place importance on two services that have been soaring throughout the last decade, giving them the same level of priority other services enjoy.
Edited by Braden Becker