NextNav Says Z-Axis Location Network on Track for 105 CMAs by 2021
Monday, June 08, 2020 | Comments

NextNav representatives highlighted continued progress in constructing its vertical location network. NextNav’s vertical location network will be available for use in 105 cellular market areas (CMAs) before the April 2021 deadline for the provision of 3-meter 9-1-1 accurate vertical location information to support public safety in the largest 25 CMAs, the company said in an FCC filing.

NextNav’s network coverage, when integrated with terrain database information for areas lacking large, multistory structures, will make NextNav’s highly accurate Z-axis service available to more than 90% of the U.S. population before the April 2021 milestone. The commission is therefore on course to achieve comprehensive nationwide coverage for vertical location accuracy to support E9-1-1 emergency services, while concurrently maintaining the critical mandate of 3-meter accuracy for 80% of calls that the public-safety community has repeatedly indicated is required to enhance public safety, the company said.

The parties also discussed NextNav’s capability to employ software to remotely calibrate barometric pressure sensors in handsets on a periodic and background basis to ensure consistent performance between disparate sensors and handset manufacturers. NextNav worked closely with its carrier partners to design its sensor calibration process so it does not involve any user location tracking or other privacy concerns that have been identified by the commission and public interest groups. Depending on the underlying quality of the sensor and the handset manufacturing process, NextNav’s background sensor calibration is not a real-time process and occurs only once every few days for each handset. Thus, it will have a de minimis impact on handset battery and data consumption, NextNav said.

Some handset manufacturers are already incorporating NextNav’s royalty-free calibration software in upcoming handset models. The inclusion of NextNav’s software in the handset build provides the added benefit to manufacturers of reducing the time, cost and complexity of calibrating the sensor during the manufacturing process.

The full NextNav filing is here.

In May, AT&T Services and NextNav listed the 105 CMAs where the vertical location network will be available for use to support the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and potentially E9-1-1 emergency services. That filing is here.

Polaris Wireless last month submitted a petition requesting the FCC release an emergency declaratory ruling reaffirming the deadlines established in the fifth report and order on 9-1-1 location technology, saying the FCC should dismiss without prejudice the “alternative proposals belatedly and hastily advanced by certain interests.”

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