FCC Report on June 2012 Derecho’s Impact on Communications

Impact of the June 2012 Derecho on Communications Networks and Services: ‘Report and Recommendations’


The Federal Communications Commission has released a report about the June 2012 derecho and its impact on communications networks. It discusses issues with wireline networks, public safety answering points (PSAPs), and wireless networks.

Among the most chilling findings of the report involved PSAP downtime: “Seventeen PSAPs in three states lost service completely, affecting the ability of more than 2 million people to reach 9-1-1 at all. Even in the context of a storm like the derecho, a large-scale failure of communications — particularly 9-1-1-related communications — is unacceptable, and action must be taken to prevent similar outages in the future.”

The report contains the following recommendations for PSAPs:

  • PSAPs should have several different means of communication available, such as mobile phones from different providers, to provide as many alternate means as possible of communicating during an emergency.
  • As many do already, PSAPs should have multiple means of backup power, such as multiple generators, and run periodic tests under actual load.
  • Several PSAPs left reroutes in place for longer than necessary after the derecho. Even if the PSAP is not notified, after a few hours, it should consider deactivating the reroute, then reactivate it a few hours later, and repeat until service is restored or until it is notified about a working route by the provider.

    Article formerly posted at https://www.hsdl.org/blog/newpost/view/s_4705