FCC Seeks Comment on PSAP Contact Information Database Efforts
Wednesday, December 23, 2020 | Comments

The FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) is seeking comment on a letter filed by the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) Network Reliability Steering Committee (NRSC) covering third party efforts to develop a national public-safety answering point (PSAP) contact information database.

The ATIS NRSC sent a letter to the FCC on December 7 indicating that it would support the voluntary adoption of a national PSAP database as long as liability and cost issues are addressed.

“Such a national database would reduce cost to PSAPs and service providers alike,” ATIS’ letter said. “Without such a national database, individual service providers must maintain their own databases.”

ATIS said that it understands that organizations such as the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) are working to develop a database that would include PSAP contact information. ATIS said it is not directly involved with those efforts but that it has collaborated with the public-safety industry on processes that should be used to facilitate consistent outage reporting to the PSAP community for outages that specifically impact 9-1-1 services.

“ATIS NRSC strongly believes that the use of any database by any service providers must be voluntary,” the letter said. “Until service providers are able to determine the integrity and stability of the information provided in such a database, they may reasonably choose to maintain their own PSAP contact databases. Additionally, some service providers may choose to maintain a separate contact database for other public-safety business requirements.”

ATIS said one major challenge for the adoption of a national PSAP database would be the potential for liability associated with reliance on the database. The proposed efforts would create a database that would include contact information for PSAPs that would be provided and regularly updated by the PSAPs. That information would then be provided to service providers who could then use the information to identify appropriate contacts for any outages.

“Service providers are concerned that if a provider were to fail to appropriately contact a PSAP because of inaccurate or out-of-date contact information in the database, the provider could be found in violation of the commission’s Part 4 rules,” the letter said. “Instead, providers would continue to use their own databases so that they can better and more directly control the quality of the information.”

ATIS encouraged the commission to adopt a safe harbor for any potential PSAP database that would protect carriers from potential liability for any violations of the commission’s rules that come from the provider’s reliance on information from the database.

The other main challenge is the cost of a database, ATIS NSRC said. “ATIS NRSC believes that cost is a significant factor in determining how broadly a national database would be used,” the letter said. “To encourage broad use, ATIS NRSC believes the database would need to be made available at little or no cost to industry and must be less expensive than current processes.”

The FCC PSHSB asked for comments on ATIS views on the national PSAP database. Comments will be due 30 days after the date of publication of the notice in the Federal Register. Find the full notice here.

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