The FCC released a report to Congress with recommendations for the legal and statutory framework for next-generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) services. The report noted the importance of transitioning to an NG 9-1-1 system that uses IP-based technology to deliver and process 9-1-1 traffic.
Current Analysis Identifies Nokia as Top Vendor for Technology Beyond 4G
Ceragon Reports Quarterly, Full-Year Financial Results
The FCC offered recommendations in three areas identified by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which required the report. First, with respect to creating a legal and regulatory framework for NG 9-1-1, the FCC recommended that Congress create incentives for states to become early adopters of NG 9-1-1. “This will accelerate the transition in these states while also generating valuable experience with NG 9-1-1implementation that can make the transition easier for other states to follow,” the report said.
The commission also recommended that Congress encourage state-level governance of NG 9-1-1 deployment, but that it also consider creating a federal regulatory “backstop” to ensure that there is no gap between federal and state authority over NG 9-1-1. In addition, Congress should promote a consistent nationwide approach to key elements of NG 9-1-1 deployment, including standards that support seamless communications among public-safety answering points (PSAPs) and between PSAPs and emergency responders, the report said.
The FCC suggested reforms to the NG 9-1-1 funding structure; appropriate liability protection to encourage technological innovation and rapid deployment of NG 9-1-1; and provisions to make NG 9-1-1 fully accessible to people with disabilities.
The commission also said Congress should promote the development of location technologies that will support all NG 9-1-1 applications regardless of the network or device used by the caller. “We also recommend that Congress support establishment at the national level of certain databases that support NG 9-1-1 routing and security,” the report said. “These national-level databases would provide economies of scale, reduce NG 9-1-1 transition costs for states and localities, and promote consistent adoption of technical standards nationwide.”
Reforms to eliminate legacy state regulations that are impeding NG 9-1-1 deployment, while providing incentives for states to modernize their laws and regulations to accommodate NG 9-1-1 will enable service providers to support an expanded array of NG 9-1-1 services and applications. The reforms will also facilitate the deployment of more flexible and resilient network architecture to support NG 9-1-1 operations, the FCC said.
The report adopts many recommendations from the National Emergency Number Association (NENA). Brian Fontes, NENA CEO, said the association is particularly pleased with the following recommendations:
• An incentive-based model proposed for nearly every one of the FCC’s proposals to Congress. “We believe this will drive better results faster than a more prescriptive approach,” he said.
• Strong recommendations with respect to the need to provide a national regulatory backstop; ensure that location determination obligations are clearly spelled out in law; and provide critical NG 9-1-1 infrastructure components at the federal level.
• A key challenge for Congress will be to level the playing field for 9-1-1 in federal grant funding programs, so that the necessary incentives can be meaningful. 9-1-1 improvements are not included in the allowable costs for most federal public-safety grant programs. Congress can fix this disparity without appropriating a single new dollar, and it should, Fontes said.
More than 240 million 9-1-1 calls are made in the United States each year, and there are 6,000 PSAPs in the United States.
Your comments are welcome, click here.