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9/14/2005
05:24 PM
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FCC To Probe Katrina Telecom Failures

Members of the federal 9/11 commission called the lack of interoperable communications across the Gulf region after the storm a "scandal."

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission will meet in Atlanta on Thursday (Sept. 15) to determine how telecommunications networks collapsed in the aftermath of Hurricance Katrina and to find ways to prevent future failures.

The agency said it will empanel a broad range of telecom industry executives, communications workers, broadcasters and industry groups during its monthly meeting in the Georgia state capital. The FCC seldom holds monthly open meetings outside of Washington.

The meeting appears to have been convened in response to widespread criticism of the federal response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. As of earlier this week, reports found that many local Internet networks in the region remained offline.

On Wednesday (Sept. 14), members of the commission investigating the 9/11 attacks called the lack of interoperable communications across the Gulf region after the storm a "scandal." In its final report, the 9/11 commission highlighted emergency communications as a key priority.

Among those scheduled to participate in the FCC meeting are: Rod Odom, president of network services at BellSouth Corp.; Booker Lester of the Communications Workers of America; former congressmen Steve Largent, now president of the CTIA Wireless Association; Willis Carter of the Shreveport, La., fire department; and executives from TV and radio broadcasters.

Live audio coverage of the meeting will be broadcast on the FCC's Audio Events Web page.

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