Those who serve public safety are especially concerned about the need for improved location accuracy for wireless 9-1-1 callers. Accordingly, on March 23, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) in PS Docket 18-64 to examine how to route wireless 9-1-1 calls to the proper 9-1-1 call center more quickly.
- Examines how delays that arise from cell tower-based routing of wireless 9-1-1 calls can be avoided, possibly resulting in faster response times, via the implementation of location-based routing solutions.
- Asks detailed questions about the state of location-based routing technologies, their maturity, and their utility in supporting more accurate routing of wireless 9-1-1 calls.
- Seeks comment on the recommendations regarding location-based routing made by the Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) in September 2016.
- Asks for information about the costs and benefits of location-based routing technologies, existing and evolving standards for routing methodologies, and the capabilities of Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) to support or drive location-based routing technologies.
- Seeks comment on how the Commission can facilitate and promote location-based routing improvements.
Improving 9-1-1 call location technology has been a top priority at West for many years. Through research, development, testing and implementation of various location technology solutions, we have learned a great deal and are pleased to participate in this FCC proceeding. Initial Comments in the docket were due on May 7 and the deadline for Reply Comments was recently extended to June 28, 2018. The NOI can be found on the FCC webpage:
Comments and Reply Comments can be found via this link to the docket:
CONGRESSIONAL ACTION – DISPATCHABLE LOCATION FOR 9-1-1
On the same day the NOI was issued by the FCC – March 23, 2018 – Congress signed The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (USHR 1625) into law (Public Law No. 115-141). Division P, “Ray Baum’s Act of 2018”, Title V – Section 506(a), of the Act reads as follows:
“Not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of the Act, the Commission shall conclude a proceeding to consider adopting rules to ensure a dispatchable location is conveyed with a 9-1-1 call, regardless of the technological platform used and including calls from multi-line telephone systems (as defined in section 6502 of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2017 (47 U.S.C. 1471)).”
Click below to read the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018:
What does this law mean for Public Safety?
Congress mandated that the FCC conclude a proposed rulemaking proceeding by September 23, 2019, to consider ensuring that a dispatchable location (defined as street address of the calling party, and additional information such as room number, floor number, or similar information necessary to adequately identify the location of the calling party) is provided with the 9-1-1 call, regardless the type of technology platform used to deliver the call.
What does the law mean in conjunction with the FCC’s NOI?
Ideally, these two actions will work together to create improved methods to determine and report the location of 9-1-1 callers to the PSAP. The information gathered in the NOI proceeding will allow the FCC to build a record regarding the technical and operation implications, limitations, deployments, and best common practices of location-based routing, and the cost and benefits of different location-based routing methods. The input and data provided in the NOI will be useful for an upcoming proposed rulemaking by the Commission regarding the broader issue of conveying dispatchable location information with 9-1-1 calls.
West applauds the FCC and Congress for their responsiveness to the concerns of Public Safety for improved location accuracy of callers to 9-1-1.