Did I miss a problem: FCC and CISA stress need for access during pandemic

I have not heard of any problems with access for ISP and communications workers in any U.S. state or locality during the pandemic.

Did I miss a big problem requiring the FCC chairman and CISA Director send a letter?


Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Christopher Krebs
today sent a letter to the nation�s governors encouraging them to provide necessary access and resources to the communications workers helping to keep Americans connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The letter includes these key points:
- Highlights recent guidance from CISA related to the essential critical infrastructure workforce and 911 centers during the pandemic
- Asks that certain communications industry entities and personnel be declared essential to the pandemic response and afforded all appropriate access and resources
- Asks that states consider prioritizing the distribution of personal protective equipment to communications personnel when available
- Underscores the role of various communications industry personnel to supporting consumers� remote emergency communications needs
- Encourages industry and government to work together to prioritize and complete communications infrastructure and next generation 911 projects
- Calls on states to facilitate the maintenance, repair, and provisioning of communications infrastructure and services by providing online access to relevant government functions, such as the permitting process, where not already available electronically.

Good question -

Of the listed “key points” the first and second, regarding designation as essential employees, has been explicitly included in the several state and county orders that I’ve personally read. By no means a complete survey, but at least some locales are aware of the issue.

The only one that I’ve heard is (anecdotally) a problem is the last one, regarding permits. E.g. in some cases state, county, and/or local permitting offices have been operating slower than usual or simply closed. In some cases because they’re reliant on agents, inspectors, etc, who aren’t considered essential…

But this seems like more of an issue for new deployments (e.g. 5G masts) rather than security and/or maintaining existing infrastructure. Not to diminish the importance of new infrastructure, but it’s a mixed bag - some of it is about connecting people in need, some of it is driven predominantly by business / competitive concerns.

I’d be interested to hear others’ experiences if they can illuminate more.


  • Benson

That was one of the outcomes of the OECD recommendations to member governments on the Internet during the pandemic. As you may recall, I emailed you, and many other members of our community, on March 23, soliciting input for this document:


The specific recommendation regarding prioritized access came from several of the people I mailed, and was of particular concern to global backbone operators. Whether you think that particular recommendation is a high priority or not, I’d chalk this up as a successful exercise of our community providing input to government and having government take it seriously and act upon it in the way that we requested them to. Exercising that channel periodically, to keep government thinking of that as normal, would be good.

There’s no provable causality chain here, but it was a concern, we spoke, they listened, and the problem we were concerned with did not become an issue, so that’s a success. If only we could do that with public health, we’d be in great shape.



I have had problems with OSP construction ostensibly delayed by closed permitting agencies.

Several people have said this, now, both back to the NANOG list and to me privately, so I’ve conveyed that back. Having more specific anecdotes, or any statistics, that would help illustrate or quantify the issue, would make this easier.