Communications Network Resiliency

Californians rely on their phones and the Internet, whether wireline or wireless, to receive emergency notifications, access evacuation and outage maps, contact family and friends, and reach emergency responders. Without access to these resources, Californians cannot receive and act on vital information that can keep them safe in an emergency.


Actions by the California Public Utilities Commission 

The Commission adopted six groups of resiliency strategies for all facilities-based wireless and wireline service providers with facilities located in Tier 2 and Tier 3 High-Fire Threat Districts. The widespread loss of communication services during natural disasters and power outages prompted the Commission to take this action. Service providers can then use these strategies along with other innovative approaches to ensure they always provide: 1) access to 911 and 211 services, 2) the ability to receive emergency alerts and notifications, and 3) access to basic Internet browsing.

Six Groups of Resiliecy Strategies


The Commission gave service providers the flexibility to decide how to implement these six groups of resiliency strategies:

  1. Implement back-up power duration of 72 hours to support all essential communications equipment and minimum service levels for the public
  2. Build and maintain redundant communication networks
  3. Harden communication networks to withstand damage
  4. Use temporary facilities (e.g., mobile cell sites, mobile satellite, and microwave backhaul, etc.) to restore service damaged or destroyed facilities
  5. Establish communication and coordination processes with first responders, other public utilities, the Commission, and the general public
  6. Establish preparedness planning for employees and ensure sufficient staffing levels


Back-Up Power Duration  

Nonetheless, the Commission prioritized the deployment of back-up power duration of at least 72 hours in the orange and pink colored areas on the map (i.e., the Tier 2 and Tier 3 High Fire-Threat Districts).

Also, the Commission prioritized the facilities-based wireline service providers’ deployment of back-up power duration of at least 72 hours in the green colored areas on the map, which represents the locations of insufficient mobile wireless coverage.  
Back Up Power Green


With these resiliency strategies, the Commission aims to achieve the following benefits:

• Strengthen the ability and preparedness of service providers to maintain a minimum level of communication services and coverage during a disaster or a commercial power grid outage events/incidents;
• Strengthen service providers’ ability to recover from or adjust to adversity or change through an array of strategies;
• Ensure the existence of resilient and dependable communications networks aiding first responders;
• Ensure the existence of timely and reliable access to essential communication services for the public; and
• Ensure the capability to assess and identify the weaknesses in service providers’ resiliency planning and implementation so that we may develop solutions that will increase safety

The Commission also required the submission of five recurring reports and advice letter filings, i.e., resiliency plans, emergency operations plans, outreach and coordination plans, emergency contact information, and emergency preparedness exercise.



Other Resources of Information


Immigration Guide