ClearWorld November 2017 - Page 4

Puerto Rico Recovers

Jessica Rosenworcel, one of the commissioners at America's broadband watchdog the FCC, has reiterated her call for hearings into what is happening with communications on the hurricane-stricken island of Puerto Rico.

In late September, Hurricane Maria smashed into the strangely neglected US territory, leaving it mostly without power and cellphone coverage amid a row over its energy supply contract.

"[It's been] 54 days since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico," she tweeted this morning. "Forty per cent of the cell sites remain out of service. This is an unprecedented loss of communications. It deserves an unprecedented response from the FCC. But to date no hearings, no report, no date by which service will be fully restored."

The tweets follows similar messages she has sent each week for the past month, frequently pointing out that the federal regulator held hearings and issued a report with findings following other major hurricanes that hit the US including Katrina in 2005 and Sandy in 2012.

On November 6, she tweeted: "Let's remember: Nearly 7 weeks since Maria hit Puerto Rico. Nearly half of island's cell sites still out of service. This is unacceptable."

And the same day she noted that while FCC staff and its chairman Ajit Pai had visited the island, it wasn't enough:

"FCC in Puerto Rico surveying Maria impact on communications. But time to do more: hold hearings, issue report like after Katrina, Sandy."

She has also put out two formal statements on the issue, criticizing [PDF] the slow speed in which the FCC is acting to improve wireless emergency alerts on November 2, and issued a rebuke of the FCC's efforts – and in particular Pai as FCC chair – in a statement [PDF] in September in which she noted, pointedly: "I know from my experience you learn more out on the ground than you do sitting on this dais. I hope this agency has the guts to do this. "

Puerto Rico Recovers

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