FCC Signals Support, Issues Public Notice on APCO, NENA, Carriers Location Accuracy Plan

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Since last Friday’s bulletin notifying you of APCO’s success in joining with NENA to reach a landmark consensus plan with the nation’s four largest carriers to improve wireless 9-1-1 location accuracy for both indoor and outdoor calls, we have made significant progress.

APCO, NENA and the four industry partners formally submitted our roadmap for achieving improvements in location accuracy to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on November 18, 2014.

What has been the initial reaction at the FCC?

Thus far, we have received messages of congratulations and support, including bipartisan support from two FCC commissioners, as well as from the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said:

“[APCO and NENA] have articulated a clear vision of how to provide first responders the information they need to find us when we call for help—even if we are using a mobile phone indoors. I salute the wireless carriers for stepping up and agreeing to fulfill public safety’s vision. By coming together, we move closer to giving our first responders the tools they need to protect us all.”

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said:

“I am pleased that the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) took up the Commission’s call to work towards a solution and reached a consensus plan with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless on 9-1-1 indoor location accuracy. I commend APCO, NENA, and the wireless carriers for their proactive collaboration on this important issue. I look forward to reviewing their plan for improving wireless 9-1-1 location accuracy.”

Staff from the Public Safety Bureau have also encouraged us to move forward with implementing the roadmap, which took effect on November 14, 2014.

What are the next steps?

Since the current problems with 9-1-1 location accuracy only continue to grow more urgent, and APCO and its partners delivered on the FCC’s request for a consensus solution, we have requested quick action on the part of the FCC. The FCC signaled that it intends to move expeditiously, and has issued a Public Notice today seeking comment on the consensus plan. Initial comments will be due on December 8, and replies will be due on December 15.

In the meantime, we will continue meetings with our partners and other interested stakeholders, move into the implementation phase of the roadmap (as the FCC has encouraged), and keep you posted along the way.

For questions, contact Jeffrey S. Cohen, Chief Counsel – Law and Policy, APCO International, at cohenj@apcointl.org.