NTIA Asks FCC to Update Wireless Priority Service Rules
Wednesday, July 11, 2018 | Comments

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) asked the FCC to initiate a rulemaking to update the rules and requirements for priority access service (PAS), now commonly known as wireless priority service (WPS).

NTIA made the request on behalf of the Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Although WPS has evolved considerably since its creation under the PAS name in 2000, the rules governing the service have not changed since they were initially issued. The petition seeks to update those rules to reflect the current operations of WPS, the current executive branch governance structure for the service, and the need for more robust and reliable communications by national security and emergency preparedness (NS/EP) users.

Many of the changes requested in the petition are administrative in nature. They reflect shifts in the identity and/or responsibilities of the federal agencies that oversee NS/EP communications, address the need of more NS/EP-related entities and personnel for access to priority communications, and to recognize that priority applies not only to network access but also to a communication’s path from end to end.

Other changes, such as allowing a limited set of NS/EP communications to pre-empt non-9-1-1 communications, and affording NS/EP users multiple ways to invoke priority treatment, are more substantive. The petition asks the commission to take steps, as it did in 2000, to remove or mitigate legal uncertainties that may inhibit commercial mobile radio service (CMRS) providers’ willingness to make the full range of their services available to NS/EP personnel on a priority basis.

The full petition for rulemaking is here.

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