FCC Starks: Climate, energy and security are key priorities

Geoffrey Starks spoke at the annual legislative meeting hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

FAC, Geoffrey StarksThe Federal Communications Commission has a critical role to play when it comes to addressing the nation’s challenges in climate change, cybersecurity and energy resource management, said FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks.

During a disaster, lives can depend on the country’s public communications sector and those networks depend on electricity, Starks said. during a speech at the 2021 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Virtual Annual Legislative Conference on September 14.

Given the importance of these issues, the FCC should update its rules for planned coordination with energy companies, which includes potentially requiring them to provide some sort of access to back-up power in the event of a disaster. emergency, he said.

Starks also stressed the importance of working aggressively to counter cybersecurity threats. He took note of President Joe Biden’s recent national security memorandum, which calls for a broad government and industry cybersecurity initiative across several infrastructure sectors. For its part, the FCC is working with federal partners to identify vulnerabilities in the network.

For example, the commission initiated proceedings to prevent certain foreign telecommunications companies from being responsible for routing communications within the United States. in the wireless telecommunications market.

Taking the obvious next step – revoking permission to import or sell equipment from those same vendors – could impact devices like sensors, webcams, and routers used by businesses, including energy companies. . “The energy industry needs to know that our telecommunications networks are secure and resilient,” Starks said in his speech.

Starks cited smart meters as an example of how the energy industry is already using advanced telecommunications networks. Smart meters not only allow energy companies to monitor the robustness of a communications network, but these devices give energy companies the ability to easily inform consumers about their energy use and warn of energy bills. potentially high before they are incurred.

[Read: Rosenworcel Names Members to Revamped Advisory Group]

Starks’ colleague, Acting FCC President Jessica Rosenworcel, has already taken steps to ensure secure communications across the United States. communication systems in the United States

Rosenworcel called the Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council “one of the most impactful cybersecurity partnerships in the country.” The revamped council will include government departments, public broadcasting stations, private companies, telecommunications, industry organizations and private organizations.

“I see deep parallels between the energy sector and the telecommunications sector – both face serious challenges, but the future is also very bright,” Starks said in closing his speech. “Let’s keep pushing to keep this promise. “

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