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California Public Utilities Agency: 72-Hour Battery Back-up

Posted on February 7, 2022

In February 11, 2021 the Public Utilities Commission of the State of California made the decision to adopt a wireline provider resiliency strategy.

As some residents may know the California Public Utilities Commission has ordered telecommunication companies to install a system to provide 72-hour battery back up to communication lines particularly to 9-1-1.  These facilities are being installed in Tier 2 and Tier 3 High Fire Districts to ensure that California’s wireline customers have access to communications services during disasters or power outages, can receive emergency alerts and notifications, and access the internet for critical information during times of crisis.

Californians are relying on wireline networks that support voice and internet service to attend school through distance learning, conduct work-from home, take telehealth appointments, and for public safety during emergencies. The CPUC found that 80 percent of all calls to 9-1-1 during the 2017 and 2018 wildfires came from wireless devices; therefore, the remaining 20 percent came from wireline network. This left these Californians with out any communication services during an extended outage or wildfire.

Cal Advocates states that the FCC Disaster Information Reporting System found that “cable and wireline companies reported 454,722 (up from 393,735) subscribers out of service due to the power shutoffs; this may include the loss of telephone, television, and/or internet service.”

Here in the City of San Rafael it is estimated that there will be a total of 30 locations that Comcast will be installing. Comcast will be working directly with the Department of Public Works and nearby homeowners to ensure the location of these structures meet City guidance and homeowner concerns.

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