The Wireless Association Unhappy with Last Night’s FCC Vote

9780740718571-s.jpgThe Federal Communications Commission (Commission) last night adopted a Report and Order (Order) which clarifies that wireless carriers must meet the Enhanced 911 (E911), Phase II location accuracy requirements at the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) service-area level. To accomplish this, the Order requires carriers to meet interim, annual benchmarks over the next five years in order to ensure that they achieve PSAP-level compliance no later than September 11, 2012.

The Commission’s adoption of this Order further ensures that E911 service meets the needs of public safety and the American people. The primary objective of today’s Order is to advance policies, rules and initiatives that support the efficient and reliable transmission of meaningful automatic location information from wireless 911 callers to PSAPs to better ensure rapid emergency response and save lives. And the Commission’s action has received widespread support from the public safety community.

To ensure that carriers are making progress toward compliance with the location accuracy requirements at the PSAP level, the Commission has established a series of interim requirements. These annual benchmarks include interim progress reports, as well as requirements to measure the Commission’s accuracy requirements on progressively smaller geographic levels until the PSAP-level is met. This includes:

• Fulfilling the Commission’s location accuracy requirements within each Economic Area in which a carrier operates by September 11, 2008;
• Satisfying the location accuracy requirements within each Metropolitan Statistical Area and Rural Service Area that the carrier serves; and demonstrating significant progress toward compliance at the PSAP-level, including achieving this requirement within at least 75 percent of the PSAPs the carrier serves, by September 11, 2010; and
• Achieving full compliance with the PSAP-level location accuracy requirements by September 11, 2012.

As part of their efforts to achieve compliance with the interim benchmarks, wireless carriers must account for only those PSAPs in their service areas that are capable of receiving E911, Phase II location data.

The Wireless Association President and CEO Steve Largent responded this morning with the following statement:

“The wireless industry is proud of its comprehensive efforts to bring Enhanced 911 service to American consumers. To date, billions of dollars have been invested so that consumers can wirelessly contact public safety in their time of need. America is safer for it.

“CTIA – The Wireless Association® and the wireless industry are committed to improving location accuracy. Today’s action by the Commission will hamper that important effort.

“In addition to today’s item being procedurally flawed, I am concerned that the Commission’s action may lead to unrealistic – and potentially harmful – consumer expectations. I had hoped the Commission would move forward in a collaborative effort involving experts from industry, public safety, and government. I am sorry to see that is not the case.”

Wireless Association