FCC Issues New E911 Order

Wireless carriers must achieve PSAP-level E911 compliance by Sept. 11, 2012, the FCC said this week.

The move was steps away from the agencys proposed, and very controversial, one-year deadline. Wireless providers now have five years and must meet certain benchmarks in the interim.

Benchmarks include satisfying location accuracy requirements and demonstrating significant progress toward compliance at the PSAP-level, including within at least 75 percent of the PSAPs the carrier serves by Sept. 11, 2010.

Wireless carriers only must account for PSAPs in their service areas that are capable of receiving E911, Phase II location data.

Analysts for Stifel Nicolaus predicted a parade of waiver requests as carriers and equipment suppliers maintain that, without any existing technical solution, even interim benchmarks are not justifiable.

CTIA the Wireless Association similarly said it feared the action could lead to unrealistic, even harmful, consumer expectations.

I had hoped the commission would move forward in a collaborative effort involving experts from industry, public safety, and government, said Steve Largent, president and CEO of CTIA. I am sorry to see that is not the case.

On the other hand, Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, praised the FCC order. The new standards, he said, will assist both the wireless industry and the public safety community in making wireless emergency calls more reliable.

Stifel Nicolaus
U.S. Senate

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