WHEREAS, pursuant to the Communications Act of 1934, it is the long standing policy of the United States to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States a rapid, efficient, nationwide, and worldwide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges for the purpose of promoting safety of life and property; and

WHEREAS, historically, the “Public Switched Telephone Network” (PSTN) has been comprised of publicly available, interconnected, copper-based circuit-switched networks operated by telephone corporations and used to provide voice telephone service throughout the United States and internationally; and

WHEREAS, copper-based circuit-switched networks are supported by a robust independent power supply and can function during prolonged, widespread power outages; and

WHEREAS, the transmission and switching technology deployed in the PSTN has continually evolved over time, and can be expected to further evolve as transmission and switching technology changes; and

WHEREAS, Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs), cable telephone service providers and Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs) are providing telephone service over broadband networks, including fiber optics, that rely on the electric power grid; and

WHEREAS, for telephone service provided over broadband and fiber-based networks, during a power outage additional back-up power at both the customer premises and a telecommunications provider’s network is necessary to ensure that customers continue to have functioning telephone service, including the ability to call 911 and E911; and

WHEREAS, wireless cell phone service relies on the electric power grid, and a back-up power supply is essential for wireless networks to continue to operate during a power outage; and

WHEREAS, the nation’s two largest ILECs, AT&T and Verizon, have stated their intent to migrate telephone service customers off of copper networks and over to either wireless or fiber-based networks; and

WHEREAS, there is evidence that Verizon is already migrating customers from copper to fiber-based telephone service in several states

[1]; and

WHEREAS, during the Derecho storm of 2012 over 3 million Verizon customers in Virginia lost access to 911 and E911 because Verizon failed to follow best practices and provide adequate back-up power for its network[2]; and

WHEREAS, during Hurricane Sandy millions of customers experienced prolonged power outages leading to significant disruption of telephone, cellphone and Internet services and Federal Communications Commission spokespeople stated that the storm knocked out a quarter of the cell towers in an area spreading across ten states; and

WHEREAS, during Hurricane Irene hundreds of cell towers in affected states were nonfunctional during power outages; and

WHEREAS, there have been numerous other instances in which telephone service, provided over wireline and wireless networks that rely on the electric power grid, has ceased to function during prolonged power outages due to inadequate back-up power; and

WHEREAS, both state and federal regulators are responsible for ensuring the continued widespread availability of reliable, affordable and high quality telephone services; now therefore be it

RESOLVED, That NASUCA urges state and federal regulators to develop enforceable policies to ensure reliable wireline and wireless communications during public power outages, including enforceable policies related to ensuring that back-up power for telephone service is maintained during outages regardless of the technology used to provide the service; and

RESOLVED, That the NASUCA Telecommunications Committee, with the approval of the Executive Committee of NASUCA, is authorized to submit comments or otherwise participate in all Federal or State efforts related to ensuring adequate back-up power for telephone service, regardless of the technology used to provide the service; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the NASUCA Telecommunications Committee, with the approval of the Executive Committee of NASUCA, is authorized to take any and all other actions consistent with this Resolution in order to secure its implementation.

[1] See, for example, “Verizon Won’t Rebuild Its Landline Network in Some Sandy Affected Areas,” Gizmodo, May 6, 2013 Verizon won’t rebuild landline network; “Verizon going wireless in Mantoloking,” South Jersey Times, May 4, 2013, Verizon going wireless in Mantoloking ; Before the California Public Utilities Commission, Post Workshop Comments of The Utility Reform Network (TURN) and the California Association of Competitive Telecommunications Companies (CALTEL), R.11-12-001, February 28, 2013, p. 10-11, 15 ; “More Sandy Victims To be Told Their DSL Won’t Be Repaired, As Verizon’s Gambit to Dodge Regulation and Kill Copper Expands”,, May 14, 2013 DSLReports ; “Pennsylvania: You Are Next for Verizon Landline Migrations to Wireless; FCC Says It is Fine, Stop the Cap!, May 14, 2013 Stop the Cap!

[2] Impact of the June 2012 Derecho on Communications Networks and Services, Report and Recommendations, A Report of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission, January 2013, p. 16-17.