FCC seeks ways to secure communications in storms

ALBANY, N.Y. — The Federal Communications Commission will hold a series of hearings nationwide to determine ways to avoid widespread loss of communications in disasters like Superstorm Sandy.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski says the first hearings will be in the New York City area. It will focus on how to assure communications for first-responders, government emergency personnel and consumers.

The hearings will begin early next year and will include ways to keep cellphone towers operating after storm damage and power losses. One in four consumers in areas hit hard by Sandy lost service because of the storm.

On Sunday, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York asked the FCC to work with telecommunications companies and first responders to maximize reliability and minimize costs.

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Providence Hospital in Everett at sunset Monday night. Officials Providence St. Joseph Health Ascension Health reportedly are discussing a merger that would create a chain of hospitals, including Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, plus clinics and medical care centers in 26 states spanning both coasts. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Merger would make Providence part of health care behemoth

Providence St. Joseph Health and Ascension Health are said to be talking. Swedish would also be affected.

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