Members of the Commission on Caribbean Communications Resilience (CCCR) met with United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) representatives on April 5 to discuss new ways to increase the resilience of regional communications infrastructure to extreme natural events.
The CCCR was formed after the devastation of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season in the Caribbean, to investigate the factors that led to connectivity outages, communications infrastructure failures and restoration delays in the Caribbean. It is made up of subject matter experts from internet, technical and academic bodies, as well as representatives from the Internet and telecommunications industry representatives.
With less than two months before the official start of the hurricane season on June 1, CCCR commissioners met with FCC officials to share lessons learnt and explore opportunities for collaboration. The meeting was part of the Commission’s ongoing efforts to assess vulnerabilities that contributed to the infrastructure and service failures and impacted recovery and relief efforts in 2017.
Among the FCC representatives were Brian Carter, Regional Specialist for Europe and the Caribbean, Anita J. Patankar-Stoll, Associate Chief, Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau, and Chris Anderson, Chief, Operations and Emergency Management.
Bernadette Lewis, chair of the CCCR, pointed out that both commissions share a common broader objective.
“Both organisations are critically examining the region's communications vulnerabilities, the FCC on behalf of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, and the CCCR on behalf of affected countries in the Eastern Caribbean. We both have the same goal, to improve the region’s resilience. We are focusing on identifying practical recommendations so that the region’s response can be triggered in a more proactive and meaningful way,” said Lewis, who is also Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union.
The Commission is expected to share a draft report soon, with recommendations for Caribbean governments, regulators and communications ministries to strengthen regional communication network resilience and improve policy, infrastructure, regulation, technologies and systems.