BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — We are in the peak of hurricane season and it just takes one storm to knock out 911 services, as we have seen in the past in our region. On Wednesday, Governor John Bel Edwards sat with FCC leaders to work on strengthening our communication network.
The governor had a round table talk with the FCC on how to save lives better during and after a hurricane. This includes communication network resiliency and policy changes.
“If we’ve got problems with our 911 systems we should laser-like focus on how to improve them,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, the chairwoman of the Federal Communication Commission.
Edwards and Rosenworcel want better telecommunication for all of Louisiana. After several very active hurricane seasons, 911 operations have failed, and state and federal leaders want to fix that before we get hit with another big storm.
“It’s the one call that has to go through,” Rosenworcel said.
And after having issues with people not being able to call for help, carriers are now required to roam on each other’s networks and give 911 operators information on locating you.
“That you won’t have those cell phone outages nearly as often because even if your wireless carrier goes down that you will be able to roam on other networks and the connectivity program where qualifying families can get a voucher of $30 per month towards the internet bill,” explained Governor Edwards.
In the future, the FCC hopes to advance the way you contact 911.
“Where you can not just call, where you can text, where you can share images, where you can share video, where you can share medical information. We can bring all of that into our nine one-one systems and create a federal fund to support it. We’re going to update public safety not just in Louisiana, but nationwide,” said Rosenworcel.
Rosenworcel said she cannot give an exact date on when you will be able to text 911 but says it is within arm’s reach.