FCC Launches Proceeding to Look at Improving 911 Call Routing
Wednesday, June 08, 2022 | Comments

The FCC launched an examination into the state of technology that can more precisely route wireless 911 calls to the proper 911 call center, which could result in faster response times during emergencies.

Wireless 911 calls are typically routed to 911 call centers based on the location of the cell tower that handles the call. But in some cases — for example, if a 911 call is made near a county or a city border — the nearest cell tower may be in a neighboring jurisdiction. In these cases, the call is routed to a 911 call center in that neighboring jurisdiction, not the call center that serves the caller’s location. These wireless 911 calls must then be re-routed to the proper 911 call center, which can waste valuable time and resources during emergencies.

In 2018, the commission issued a notice of inquiry (NOI) that sought comment on the feasibility of routing 911 calls based on the location of the caller as opposed to the location of the cell tower that handles that call. Since then, there have been several publicly announced advancements in location-based routing technology and some implementation of location-based routing on wireless networks.

In a public notice adopted today, the commission is seeking updated information on improvements to and implementation of location-based routing technologies; the frequency of misrouted wireless 911 calls; operations or industry standards to address the problem of misroutes; the feasibility of using location-based routing technologies for text-to-911; information on any interdependencies of location-based routing and next-generation 911 in order to optimize emergency response; and how the commission can facilitate improvements to wireless 911 call routing.

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