The present invention provides a method and apparatus for providing improved power control in a closed-loop communication system. A base station monitors a quality of a feedback link between it and a mobile station under a variety of methods. When a quality of the feedback link becomes unacceptable, the base station and the mobile station enter into an alternative mode of operation, adjusting from a fast power control feedback mode (with a high bandwidth feedback channel and low power control delay), to a slow power control feedback mode (with a low bandwidth feedback channel or a long power control delay). The mobile station adjusts a rate or content of power control messages it feeds back to the base station under a variety of methods. Under this alternative mode, the mobile station increases a power of its feedback signals. Additionally, if the mobile station is in a soft handoff condition, it similarly increases a power of its feedback signals. If the base station determines that the received power control messages are unacceptable, the base station employs power control messages it receives from a base station controller.