TR Daily, Friday, November 14, 2014: The four national wireless carriers, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO), and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) early this evening announced a consensus agreement that they said will help improve indoor 911 location accuracy. But four other major public safety groups representing the law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services communities refused to sign the accord, saying it did not go far enough.
The consensus parties said the agreement will provide dispatchable locations needed for first responders to most precisely locate wireless 911 callers. “The proposed solution harnesses the availability of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies that are already deployed and expected to expand significantly in the near term,” a news release noted.
The news release said the parties agreed upon a timeline to (1) “[v]erify technologies and vendor performance for indoor and outdoor technologies in a test bed;” (2) “[a]ccelerate the delivery of dispatchable location using indoor technologies with ambitious milestones for demonstration, standards development, and implementation of database and handset capabilities; and (3) “[i]mprove existing location technologies for better outdoor and indoor location fixes.”
“CTIA congratulates AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless and public safety partners on the announcement of this historic agreement,” said Meredith Attwell Baker, president and chief executive officer of CTIA. “This agreement represents meaningful, significant and achievable goals to provide first responders with the information they need to respond to wireless 9-1-1 calls. The FCC issued our industry a challenge, and we are proud of our ability to deliver a clear road map to critical 9-1-1 enhancements that meet the high standards and requirements of our nation’s leading public safety organizations.”
“This agreement represents a blueprint for the improvement of 9-1-1 location accuracy, both indoors and outdoors,” said NENA President Christy Williams. “NENA looks forward to working with APCO and the carriers over the established timeframes to develop the details of the blueprint that will ultimately better serve the needs of all who dial 9-1-1, indoors or out.”
APCO Executive Director Derek Poarch said, “APCO is very appreciative of the professionalism and dedication of its partners in achieving a consensus solution that we can all be proud of and that, most importantly, will provide meaningful location information to our nation’s dedicated and hardworking public safety communications professionals and first responders as they daily serve the emergency needs of their citizens.”
The parties negotiating the 911 location accuracy accord faced a deadline of today imposed by David Simpson, chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, sources said.
The news release noted that the accord “defines dispatchable location as the civic address of the calling party plus additional information such as floor, suite, apartment or similar information that may be needed to adequately identify the location of the calling party.”
“As part of the agreement, the carrier signatories will obtain a location fix using heightened location accuracy technologies for the following percentage of wireless 9-1-1 calls from the date of the agreement based on live call data: i) 40% of all wireless 9-1-1 calls within two years; ii) 50% of all wireless 9-1-1 calls within three years; iii) 75% of all VoLTE wireless 9-1-1 calls within five years; and iv) 80% of all VoLTE wireless 9-1-1 calls within six years.”
But four major public safety groups today criticized the consensus proposal between APCO and NENA and Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Inc., Sprint Corp., and T-Mobile US, Inc. – the same parties that reached an accord on text-to-911 in 2012.
“We are aware that there have been ongoing negotiations among the wireless carriers, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International (APCO), the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), and the CTIA-The Wireless Association to develop an alternative to the proposed FCC regulations for 9-1-1 location information. We were not consulted on these negotiations and were not provided any details of the discussions until October 29, 2014,” the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), National Association of State Emergency Medical Services Officials (NASEMSO) and National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) said in a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler submitted before the announcement on the accord.
“Our organizations are disappointed that we were not consulted earlier, because we represent the leadership of the frontline first responders who are called upon to respond to 9-1-1 emergencies every day. Since October 29, we have been actively engaged in discussions with the carriers and other organizations to ensure that any voluntary consensus agreement will provide the most accurate location information during 9-1-1 calls.” Continue reading