FCC Issues NOI Regarding Survivability in Broadband Communications Networks


On April 21, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) issued a Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”) representing the fourth in a series of promised rulemaking proceedings designed to implement its National Broadband Plan.  Through its NOI, the FCC would like to enhance its understanding of the present state of survivability in broadband communications networks and to explore potential measures to reduce network vulnerability to failures in network equipment or severe over-load conditions, such as would occur in natural disasters, pandemics, and other disasters.  The FCC asserts that because Americans increasingly rely on broadband services for so many aspects of their lives, the Commission feels that it is critical for it to gain a better understanding of the survivability of existing networks and explore potential measures to reduce network vulnerability to failures in network equipment or severe overload conditions in emergencies.

The Commission concedes that Broadband core networks are generally presumed to be quite survivable.  However, it asserts that survivability is generally weaker in segments of communications networks closer to the network edge.  Thus, the Commission seeks comment on the ability of existing networks to withstand three broad classes of harm: 1) physical damage (whether due to malevolent acts, accidents, or force majeure); 2) inadequate redundancy; and 3) severe network overload.


In the National Broadband Plan, the Commission laid out numerous proposals that it believes are necessary to ensure that the nation‘s broadband infrastructure continues to function in a consistent and reliable fashion.  The Commission‘s NOI represents the first step in the implementation of these proposals.

Clients should monitor these proceedings and are advised to review the NOI as well as the additional related documents linked below.  Clients interested in filing comments or with questions about the NOI or this Advisory should contact Jonathan S. Marashlian at jsm@commlawgroup.com or (703) 714-1313.

News Release: Word | Acrobat
NOI: Word | Acrobat
Genachowski Statement: Word | Acrobat
Copps Statement: Word | Acrobat
McDowell Statement: Word | Acrobat
Clyburn Statement: Word | Acrobat
Baker Statement: Word | Acrobat

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