FCC Adds 9-1-1 Congressional Mandates to August Meeting Agenda
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 | Comments

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the commission will vote on rules to help ensure that people who call 9-1-1 from multiline telephone systems (MLTS), which commonly serve hotels, office buildings and college campuses, can reach 9-1-1 and be quickly located by first responders at its August meeting.

Pai circulated draft rules that would implement two recently enacted laws to improve emergency calling, the Kari’s Law Act of 2017 and RAY BAUM’S Act of 2018, and extend 9-1-1 location requirements to additional calling platforms.

“For more than five years, I have had the privilege of working alongside Hank Hunt as he told the story of his daughter Kari and advocated tirelessly for changes to 9-1-1 dialing so that other families do not have to endure a similar tragedy,” said Pai. “His efforts led to the adoption of Kari’s Law. In a few weeks, the commission will have the opportunity to implement this and other legislation that will help people reach 9-1-1 without dialing an access code and be quickly located by first responders, regardless of the technology platform used to call for help. I hope that my fellow commissioners will join me in supporting this potentially life-saving action.”

President Donald Trump signed Kari’s Law Act of 2017 into law last year.

The law requires MLTS to enable users to dial 9-1-1 directly, without having to dial a prefix, such as a 9, to reach an outside line and to provide notification, such as to a front desk or security office, when a 9-1-1 call is made to facilitate building entry by first responders.

Kari’s Law is named in honor of Kari Hunt, who was attacked and killed by her estranged husband in a motel room in Marshall, Texas, in 2013. Hunt’s 9-year-old daughter tried to call 9-1-1 for help four times from the motel room phone, but the call never went through because the hotel’s phone system required dialing 9 for an outbound line before dialing 9-1-1.

In addition, Section 506 of RAY BAUM’S Act requires the FCC to consider adopting rules to ensure that “dispatchable location” information — the caller’s street address and other specifics, such as floor level or suite number — is conveyed with 9-1-1 calls, regardless of the technological platform used, so that first responders can be quickly dispatched to the caller’s location.

If adopted at the August meeting, the new rules would provide clarity and specificity to these statutory requirements so that companies can effectively meet their obligations under Kari’s Law and RAY BAUM’s Act. The new rules would also establish dispatchable location requirements for 9-1-1 calls from MLTS, fixed telephone service, interconnected VoIP services and telecommunications relay service.

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