In recent months, the Southeast U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have been pummeled by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. The wildfires in California have been equally devastating. These storms and fires have wreaked havoc on communications networks and challenged public safety officials’ ability to get lifeline information to affected residents.
At a time when many Americans have come to rely on their smartphones, massive cellular outages were suffered from Texas to Florida on an even greater scale than in Superstorm Sandy five years ago, and California has also suffered major outages in key locations. In Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, it may take weeks and even months to fully restore cellular service because of the damage to the electric grid. This has been a painful reminder of the need for a redundant and pervasive communications infrastructure, especially in times of disaster and emergency.
NAB Chief Technology Officer Sam Matheny enters the controversy between the radio industry and Apple, and the tech giant’s refusal to equip iPhones with FM radio reception. Read what he wrote here.