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                                  STATEMENT OF


   Re: Independent Panel Reviewing the Impact of Hurricane Katrina on
   Communications Networks; Notice of Proposed Rulemaking; EB Docket No.

   I want to extend my deepest thanks to the members of the Independent Panel
   Reviewing the Impact of Hurricane Katrina for investing so much of their
   time and effort to draw out lessons from this disaster and to better
   prepare our communities for the future. The release of their Report brings
   back memories of the devastation wrought by the storm and its aftermath,
   and of the heroic and continuing efforts of those communities to regroup
   and rebuild.

   Shortly after the storm, I had an opportunity to witness first hand some
   of the widespread destruction and personal loss in the Gulf Coast, which
   was far worse than I could have ever imagined. More importantly, I also
   was able to meet and talk with communications workers, who labored around
   the clock to restore connectivity to the Gulf Coast, often at great
   personal sacrifice. It was humbling to see Americans act so selflessly
   when others are in need, particularly when so many were themselves
   suffering the loss of homes, communities, or loved ones. To all of these
   citizens, we owe an honest assessment of our strengths, weaknesses, and
   our commitment to preparedness.

   Our experience with Hurricane Katrina demonstrates that the role of
   communications is essential during emergencies, whether citizens are
   trying to find out what is happening with their families, or emergency
   personnel are responding to an urgent situation. This Report confirms that
   our nation's communications systems were put to the test, with
   unfortunately mixed results. I welcome the coming public dialogue on the
   Independent Panel's recommendations, and look forward to working with my
   colleagues and the broader community to improve our preparedness and

   This Report also highlights how critical it is that the Commission
   provides the best leadership possible to ensure that communications are
   fully operational during the most serious events. It can play a key role
   in improving our nation's disaster preparedness, network reliability, and
   communications among first responders. As the Report suggests, the
   Commission must also take the lead in coordinating with state and local
   governments in advance of future disasters and in working with other
   federal agencies to ensure that credentialing procedures and other
   requirements are developed in advance to ensure access by communications
   workers to affected areas post-disaster.

   At the same time, this Report highlights the importance of advance
   planning and provides important recommendations on how we can ready
   ourselves before disaster strikes. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,
   the Commission received high marks for ensuring that it was responsive in
   the wake of these tragedies. But with the first tropical storm of 2006
   already hitting the Gulf Coast, we must move more quickly to better
   position ourselves for the inevitable next challenges. So I wholeheartedly
   support the simultaneous release of our NPRM to better allow us to move
   promptly forward on the important Panel recommendations.

   Finally, I want to thank Chairman Martin for convening this group and
   Nancy Victory for stepping forward in leading the panel. A disaster like
   this demonstrates how important it is that we all work together in times
   of crisis. Efforts like this are essential to achieve the continual
   improvement necessary to protect ourselves in the event of future
   disasters, be they natural or man-made. Thank you again for all of your
   effort and for your commitment to the hard work ahead.

   Federal Communications Commission FCC 06-83