Summary: H.R.3998 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (05/23/2016)

Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act

(Sec. 2) This bill requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to submit to Congress and publish on the FCC website a study on the public safety benefits, technical feasibility, and cost of providing the public with access to 9-1-1 services during times of emergency when mobile service is unavailable, through:

  • telecommunications service provider-owned WiFi access points and other communications technologies operating on unlicensed spectrum, without requiring any login credentials;
  • non-telecommunications service provider-owned WiFi access points; and
  • other alternative means.

The types of emergencies subject to this bill are: (1) occasions or instances under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act for which the President determines that federal assistance is needed to supplement state and local efforts and capabilities to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in any part of the United States; or (2) an emergency declared by the governor of a state or U.S. territory.

(Sec. 3) The Stafford Act is amended to expand the categories of essential service providers that may access a disaster site to restore and repair essential services in an emergency or major disaster without being denied or impeded by a federal agency. Services to be considered essential are wireline or mobile telephone service, Internet access service, radio or television broadcasting, cable service, or direct broadcast satellite service.