FCC’s Rosenworcel Addresses 9-1-1 Operator Classification, Location Accuracy
Thursday, September 06, 2018 | Comments

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel addressed 9-1-1 operator classification and wireless 9-1-1 location accuracy during a speech at the NG9-1-1 Institute Sept. 5.

Last year, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) did not update the way 9-1-1 professionals are classified in the standard occupational classification (SOC) after a push by public-safety groups to change their classification to a protective service occupation. OMB determined that public-safety telecommunicators would continue to be designated as office and administrative support occupations.

“Unfortunately, Washington does not treat 9-1-1 operators with the respect they deserve,” Rosenworcel said. “9-1-1 operators are first responders. When the unthinkable occurs, they are our first contact with public safety. Before a police radio crackles, a fire engine roars, or an ambulance races, there is a 9-1-1 professional who takes in a call and sets emergency response in motion. They deserve to be classified, like their public-safety peers, as ‘protective service professionals.’ “

She did not mention a plan to have the classification changed, but the OMB re-examines the classifications every 10 years.

Rosenworcel also noted wireless and other new technology used for 9-1-1 calls do not provide the same level of location information for the 9-1-1 operator taking that call. She highlighted the progress to address the problem, including the FCC’s 2015 updated rules to improve indoor wireless location accuracy.

“In the intervening years we have seen progress — a test bed has been established, a database is in place, and carriers file progress reports about the percentage of calls that now include dispatchable location or its X, Y coordinate equivalent,” she said. “To this end, today the largest wireless carriers announced that they are rolling out device-based hybrid location technology, which marks another step on the road to making sure that 9-1-1 operators will know a caller’s location.”

The Ray Baum’s Act, which was part of appropriations legislation this year, tasked the FCC with holding a proceeding that addresses how to ensure that dispatchable location is conveyed with every 9-1-1 call, regardless of the platform used. She said the FCC will begin this effort at its Sept. 26 meeting. (link to https://www.rrmediagroup.com/News/NewsDetails/NewsID/17306)

Rosenworcel’s full speech is here.

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