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FCC ADOPTS NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING SEEKING COMMENT ON ENHANCED 911 LOCATION ACCURACY AND RELIABILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR WIRELESS CARRIERS AND INTERCONNECTED VOIP PROVIDERS
Washington, D.C. – The Federal Communications Commission today adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on tentative conclusions and issues related to Enhanced 911 (E911) location accuracy and reliability requirements for wireless carriers and providers of interconnected voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services.
The NPRM seeks to ensure that E911 service meets the needs of public safety and the American people. The NPRM also takes into consideration the evolution in the use of wireless devices and the further development of location technologies. The primary objective is to advance policies, rules and initiatives that support the efficient and reliable transmission of meaningful automatic location information for wireless cell phone users and users of interconnected VoIP service to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) to better ensure rapid emergency response and save lives.
The Commission tentatively concluded that, as proposed by the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials-International, Inc. (APCO), wireless carriers would be required to meet Phase II location accuracy and reliability standards under Section 20.18(h) at the service area level of PSAPs. The Commission also seeks comment on whether to defer enforcement of Section 20.18(h) to allow time for wireless carriers to come into compliance with this standard, as well as the other questions regarding enforcing any rule that may be adopted on the geographic area for compliance.
In addition to proposing to clarify the geographic area over which carriers must satisfy the E911 Phase II accuracy requirements, the Commission also seeks comment on other tentative conclusions, on whether:
A single, technology-neutral location accuracy requirement for wireless E911 service should be used, rather than the separate accuracy requirements for network-based and handset-based location technologies that are currently in place;
Wireless carriers should comply with a mandatory schedule for accuracy testing and automatically provide accuracy data to PSAPs; and
Providers of interconnected VoIP services that can be used at more than one location must employ an automatic location technology that meets the same accuracy standards which apply to providers of commercial mobile radio services (CMRS).
Finally, the Commission found that there are at least two areas that warrant additional evaluation by Commission engineers and staff: (1) methods for carriers to improve in-building location accuracy; and (2) the use of hybrid technology solutions to increase location accuracy and address shortcomings of current technologies. The Commission noted its intent to examine and publicly report on both issues as quickly and efficiently as possible, so as not to unduly delay the issuance of a final order.
Action by the Commission, May 31, 2007, by Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 07-108). Chairman Martin, Commissioners Copps, Adelstein, Tate and McDowell. Separate statements ISSUED by Chairman Martin, Commissioners Copps, Adelstein, Tate and McDowell.
CC Docket No. 94-102, PS Docket No. 07-114, WC Docket No. 05-196
Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau Contact: Carol Simpson at (202) 418-2391.