BATON ROUGE, La. — Today, Governor John Bel Edwards joined FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel for a roundtable discussion on communication networks resiliency issues, lessons learned, and policy changes made in the wake of last year’s Hurricane Ida. The Chairwoman also participated in the University of New Orleans’s Enrollment Fair for the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program and met with Louisiana telehealth leaders in Baton Rouge in partnership with Veneeth Iyengar, Executive Director for ConnectLa, the Louisiana State Office of Broadband Development and Connectivity.

“I would like to thank Chairwoman Rosenworcel for meeting with us today, and for her ongoing efforts to address the communication issues our state experienced during Hurricane Ida,” said Gov. Edwards. “I also want to join Chairwoman Rosenworcel in encouraging Louisianans to take advantage of the Affordable Connectivity Program, which helps provide more accessible and affordable internet service to lower income Louisianans. It’s an important part of our strategy to close the digital divide by 2029. To apply, visit affordableconnectivity.gov.” 

“One year ago, I visited Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Ida to learn what worked and what more needs be done to keep communications operational during disasters,” said Chairwoman Rosenworcel. “The Commission moved swiftly by adopting new rules that will help reduce wireless phone outages for the public and support faster service restoration after hurricanes, wildfires, and other disasters. While these rules are a significant step forward, more needs to be done to improve communications reliability—and today’s roundtable is a valuable part of the dialogue. I thank Governor Edwards for his leadership on these life-saving issues and I stand committed to continuing our cooperation to help Louisianans.”

Shortly after Chairwoman Rosenworcel visited Louisiana last year, the FCC proposed new rules to improve communications during disasters and convened a virtual field hearing on this topic, where stakeholders from public safety, industry, and consumer groups testified. As a result, this summer, the FCC updated its rules to improve the reliability and resiliency of wireless networks during emergencies. 

In addition, this month FCC is launching an initiative to share communications outage information with state, federal and Tribal nation agencies. This initiative can improve their situational awareness, enhance their ability to respond more quickly to outages affecting their communities, and help save lives.