By Mario Trujillo and David McCabe,

It’s been a busy summer for the Federal Communications Commission.

The agency has moved forward with a proposal to expand Lifeline subsidies to broadband, passed several items related to next year’s spectrum auction and established new robocall rules.

In comparison, the agenda items for an FCC meeting Thursday are relatively low profile.

One item is a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require submarine cable operators to notify the FCC when there are outages on their cable networks.

In a blog post about the item, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wrote that there were “approximately 60 submarine (or ‘undersea') cables that provide connectivity between the mainland U.S. and consumers in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Marianas, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as virtually all connectivity between the U.S. and the rest of the world.” Many of them are run by groups containing multiple companies, he wrote.

“The FCC needs to get timely information about submarine cable outages, with enough detail to understand the nature and impact of any damage and disruption to communications, help mitigate any impact on emergency services and consumers, and assist in service restoration,” he wrote. “More consistent reporting on submarine cable outages will improve the FCC's ability to spot trends, address systemic issues, and inform policy making.”

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