By Sean Buckley, Fierce Telecom

The FCC proposed new rules that would require submarine cable operators to report outages to the regulator, an initiative that could hold operators more accountable.

Today, about 60 submarine cables provide connectivity between the U.S. and Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as all connectivity between the U.S. and the rest of the world.

Despite the role that submarine cables play in America's economic and national security, operators are only required to report outages on an ad hoc basis, a method that the FCC says provided little insight.

With its proposed rules, the FCC wants submarine cable operators to provide timely information on outages.

The FCC said operators would have to give the regulator detail on 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. By providing more detailed information on submarine cable outages, the agency would be able to achieve three goals: identify trends, address systemic issues and inform policy making.

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