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Senate Bill Seeks to Expand Emergency Telecom Services Access

CellTowerA bill introduced in the Senate would require the Federal Communications Commission to explore new methods to expand telecommunications services access in the event of a natural disaster.

The Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act of 2016 would also mandate that the Government Accountability Office examine potential strategies for the government to increase security of emergency communications services, the Congressional Budget Office said Thursday.

“The bill also would redefine the term “essential service provider” to explicitly include certain telecommunication mediums, such as internet and cable services, in a list of entities that provide essential services,” CBO noted.

CBO estimates the bill’s requirement would increase FCC’s administrative costs by less than $500,000.

The enactment of the legislation would not affect direct federal spending or revenues nor the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments, according to CBO.

The agency said a similar bill that was passed by House members in May would generate the same budgetary effects as the Senate version.

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