WASHINGTON — Three years after Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast, the Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act of 2016 was introduced by New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone, and the legislation passed the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology in April. Last week, an amended SANDy Act was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Maria Cantwell (IN), Cory Booker (NJ) and Chuck Schumer (NY).
In response to this progress, National Association of Broadcasters Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton said in a release: "NAB thanks Sens. Cantwell, Booker and Schumer for introducing legislation enabling local radio and television stations to access necessary resources to stay on the air during times of emergencies. When disaster strikes and other networks go down, local broadcasters play a lifeline role in keeping audiences out of harm's way."
According to Pallone's website, during emergencies, if enacted as written, the SANDy Act would:
- Ensure that consumer cell phones work on other carriers' networks if their own network goes down, giving priority to calls to 9-1-1 services and emergency alerts
- Increase coordination between wireless carriers, utilities and public safety officials
- Begin a process to provide 911 services over Wi-Fi hotspots
- Make sure all communication providers (radio, TV and phone) can fix outages faster, even across state lines
- Study the future of network resiliency
"I am introducing the SANDy Act to ensure we can all communicate, even when the worst occurs," Pallone said last year.