More Stringent 9-1-1 Location Accuracy Requirements Adopted (9/23/10)
Thursday, September 23, 2010 | Comments

The FCC adopted a second report and order on 9-1-1 accuracy that requires wireless carriers to meet wireless location accuracy requirements in more numerous and geographically smaller areas. As a result, wireless 9-1-1 location information will be reported to public-safety answering points (PSAPs) more accurately in many areas throughout the country.

The FCC said the action will help PSAPs to quickly locate wireless 9-1-1 callers and dispatch emergency responders to assist them during emergencies. The new rules ensure that wireless carriers are taking the necessary steps to provide more accurate 9-1-1 caller locations from wireless phones.

The order requires wireless carriers to provide reliability data on each 9-1-1 call upon the request of a PSAP, which will improve the ability of public-safety personnel to assess the accuracy of location information. Most importantly, the commission’s actions will help save lives by enabling emergency response personnel to reach people who call 9-1-1 from mobile devices sooner.

The commission also unanimously adopted a further notice of proposed rulemaking (FNPRM) and notice of inquiry (NOI) that explores how to further improve the location capability of 9-1-1 and E9-1-1 services for existing and new voice communications technologies, including new broadband technologies associated with the deployment of next-generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) networks.

The FNPRM seeks public comment on a number of issues, including whether the FCC should adopt a technologically neutral location accuracy standard, methodologies for verifying compliance, and how wireless 9-1-1 caller location accuracy can be improved in challenging environments, such as in high-rise buildings, urban canyons, and mountainous and forested terrain.

The NOI seeks public comment on whether to require interconnected VoIP service providers to automatically identify the caller’s location, rather than requiring the caller to self report his or her location, and whether other forms of VoIP services should be subject to the 9-1-1 rules. The NOI also focuses on the potential impact of future NG 9-1-1 deployment on location accuracy and automatic location identification.

Additionally, the NOI explores whether to extend 9-1-1 and E9-1-1 requirements to new and emerging voice communications services, devices and application enabled by broadband technologies.

“It is great to see the commission taking such strong and decisive steps to improve wireless E9-1-1,” said NENA President Steve O’Conor. “As Americans becoming increasingly mobile and give up their landlines, improving location accuracy must be a top priority. Today’s actions will help public safety provide a better level of service and respond to emergencies more quickly.”

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