By Neil Haggerty, Morning Consult

The Federal Communications Commission on Friday passed a rule that would require submarine cable licensees to report outages. Currently, licensees only have to report outages on an ad hoc basis, which the FCC said is “too limited to be of use.”

The only criticism of the rule, which was proposed last week, came from Republican Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, who said he was “happy to support” it but questioned its “strict liability” standard. He also expressed doubts that providers would be able to report the actual cause of outages that occur on the sea floor.

In July, a typhoon in the Mariana Islands caused the undersea cable serving the commonwealth to fail, leading to a blackout for residents who couldn’t access the internet, withdraw money from ATMs or call 911. The cable licensee didn’t have a back up and failed to report the outage to the FCC.

The agency said the rule aims to address situations like the one in the Mariana Islands last year.

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