The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed new rules intended to advance the transition to Next Generation 911 (NG911), help ensure that the nation’s 911 system functions effectively, and support the deployment of advanced 911 capabilities.
In a press release, the FCC provided the context for the proposed new rules. Currently, state and local 911 authorities nationwide are in the process of transitioning to NG911 by replacing legacy circuit-switched 911 networks with Internet Protocol (IP)-based networks and applications that will support new 911 capabilities, including text, video, and data, as well as improved interoperability and system resilience. The FCC noted that completing the NG911 transition requires originating service providers –the 911 callers’ phone companies – to format 911 calls to be compatible with NG911 and to deliver the calls to new destination points on IP networks as established by 911 authorities.
However, as state and local 911 authorities are making the transition, some have reported to the FCC that originating service providers are refusing to connect to these destination points or are otherwise delaying the transition process. The FCC says this threatens to impose additional costs and delays on 911 authorities.
Late last year, the FCC proposed requiring wireless providers to deliver 911 calls and texts in IP format upon the request of NG911-capable 911 authorities. In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking just adopted by the commission, the FCC is proposing similar requirements for the delivery of 911 calls by wireline, interconnected Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), and Internet-based Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) providers, as well as addressing the allocation of costs for transmitting all IP-based 911 calls.