FCC Officials Stress Collection, Reporting Mandates in 911 Order

911 live call data collection and reporting requirements in the FCC’s recently adopted 911 location accuracy order (TRDaily, Jan. 29) will ensure that the necessary indoor location accuracy improvements occur, FCC officials said today.  David Simpson, chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, and David Furth, his deputy, cited the call data collection and reporting mandates during a webinar sponsored by the National Emergency Number Association. Their remarks came in response to a question about how stakeholders would be able to separate indoor from outdoor location technology accuracy.

“We think that through granular measurement … and performance” data, the FCC public safety answering points, and carriers will be able to tell “what the ground truth is,” Mr. Furth said.

PSAPs will be key players in implementation of the order, Mr. Simpson said, saying they must monitor the progress of carriers to ensure that improved 911 location accuracy occurs in their communities. “This has to be able to work in your backyards,” he said.  He also stressed that improved location accuracy must be seen both in higher-income communities with “Gucci Wi-Fi” as well as in lower-income neighborhoods. “Granularity will be key,” he said.

Under the order, all carriers will be required to provide to requesting PSAPs live 911 call data, which will let the PSAPs assess whether the performance of carriers in their areas is consistent with the performance seen in six test cities, Mr. Simpson noted. If the performance in their areas is below mandated thresholds, PSAPs can seek enforcement of the rules after first attempting to resolve the issue with carriers.

Nationwide carriers also must, on a quarterly basis, report aggregate live call data to the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International, NENA, and the National Association of State 911 Administrators.

The order said that wireless carriers operating in the six test cities must “provide quarterly live call data on a more granular basis that allows evaluation of the performance of individual location technologies within different morphologies (e.g., dense urban, urban, suburban, rural). This more granular data will be used for evaluation and not for compliance purposes.”

“It really is a new tool you have,” Trey Forgety, director-government affairs and chief regulatory counsel for NENA, said of the requirement that carriers provide data to requesting PSAPs.  Mr. Forgety also said that joint industry-public safety working groups designed to help meet order milestones are in the process of being organized. “We’ve got a lot of work to do in a short amount of time,” he said. – Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com