FCC Releases 911 Location-Based Routing NPRM

On December 22, 2022, the FCC released the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) seeking comment on a proposal requiring wireless carriers and covered text providers to implement location-based routing for 911 calls and texts nationwide. The item was adopted at the December Open Meeting.  Specifically, the NPRM seeks comment on the following proposals

  • Mandating Location-Based Routing for IP-Originated Wireless 911 Voice Calls: The Draft NPRM proposes requiring all CMRS providers to: (1) deploy technology that supports location-based routing and (2) use location-based routing to route all wireless 911 voice calls originating on IP-based networks, when timely and accurate information about the caller’s location is available.  When the information is not available, CMRS providers would be permitted to route 911 calls using the best available location information, which may include cell tower coordinates.
    • Request for Comments:  The Draft NPRM seeks comment on this proposal, and also on:
      • Whether a high percentage of consumer handsets currently in use on networks are capable of supporting location-based routing
      • Whether there are public safety reasons to allow voluntary implementation of location-based routing rather than mandating it
      • Whether there would be any adverse impact on PSAPs and whether location-based routing should be required in legacy E911 and NG911 jurisdictions
      • Whether location-based routing should be limited to jurisdictions with the highest incidence of misroutes
      • Whether providers should be required to disclose to PSAPs the routing methodology used for each 911 call
    • Compliance: The Draft NPRM proposes requiring nationwide CMRS providers to deploy and commence use of location-based routing for 911 voice calls within 6 months of the effective date of final rules on location-based routing.  Non-nationwide CMRS providers would be required to deploy and commence use of location-based routing for 911 voice calls within 18 months of the effective date of final rules.
  • Mandating Location-Based Routing for IP-Originated Text Messages to 911: The Draft NPRM proposes requiring all covered text providers to use location-based routing to route all 911 texts originating on IP-based networks, when timely and accurate information about the texter’s location is available.  When the information is not available, providers would be permitted to route 911 text using the best available location information.
    • Request for Comments: The Draft NPRM seeks comment on this proposal, and also on:
      • The technical feasibility of location-based routing for 911 texts
      • Whether there are considerations specific to 911 texting that warrant adopting different requirements from calls
    • Compliance: The Draft NPRM proposes requiring covered text providers to deploy and commence use of location-based routing for 911 texts within 18 months from the effective date of the final rules on location-based routing.
  • Definitions: The Draft NPRM proposes to define “Location-based Routing” as “the use of information on the location of a device, including but not limited to device-based location information, to deliver 911 calls and texts to point(s) designated by the authorized local or state entity to receive wireless 911 calls and texts, such as an Emergency Services Internet Protocol Network (ESInet) or PSAP, or to an appropriate local emergency authority.” The Draft NPRM seeks comment on this definition and whether it adequately encompasses device based handset location technologies.
  • Timeliness and Accuracy of LocationBased Routing Information: The Draft NPRM proposes to require CMRS providers and covered text providers to use location-based routing when they have location information that meets the following specifications for timeliness and accuracy: (i) the information must be available to the provider network at the time the call or text is routed; and (ii) the information must identify the caller’s horizontal location within a radius of 165 meters at a confidence level of at least 90%.  The Draft NPRM seeks comment on this proposal, including what percentage of calls are likely to have this information available at the time of routing and whether the confidence value is balanced.  The Draft NPRM also seeks comment on requiring validation for location-based routing, and if so, what steps should be required.
  • Location-Based Routing of Calls to NG911 Networks: The Draft NPRM proposes to require CMRS and covered text providers to deliver 911 calls, texts, and associated routing information in IP-based format to NG911-capable PSAPs that request it.
    • Request for Comment: The Draft NPRM seeks comment on this proposal, and also on the specific benefits and costs of this requirement.
    • Compliance: For nationwide CMRS providers, the Draft NPRM proposes an implementation timeline of six months from the effective date of the location-based routing requirement or six months after a valid request by a state or local 911 authority.  Non-nationwide CMRS providers would have a year to implement from the effective date or from a valid request from a state or local 911 authority.
    • Valid Request: The Draft NPRM proposes to define a valid request as one made by a local or state entity that certifies that it (1) is technically ready to receive 911 calls and texts in the IP-based format requested, (2) is specifically authorized to accept calls and/or texts in the IP-based format requested, and (3) has provided notification to the CMRS provider or covered text provider via either a registry made available by the Commission or by written notification reasonably acceptable to the CMRS provider or covered text provider.
  • Monitoring and Compliance: The Draft NPRM seeks comment on whether the FCC should implement any new data collections to assist in monitoring compliance with the proposed location-based routing rules.  The Draft NPRM specifically seeks comment on requiring performance data, live call data reports, a separate data collection, or other measures the FCC should implement.
  • Other Measures: The FCC seeks comment on whether further study is necessary and whether there are additional measures to decrease call transfer times.
  • Cost and Benefits: The Draft NPRM concludes that the benefits of increased accuracy of 911 call routing are significant and would be highly valued by consumers.  The Draft NPRM seeks comment on the cost of implementing the proposals.  The FCC tentatively concludes that the cost to providers would be about $10,000 per PSAP, that the labor cost would be $366,600 per provider, and that the total across the industry would be $128 million.

Please Contact Us if you have any questions.

Recent Posts

January 26, 2023 Weekly Wireless Wrap-Up

Good afternoon from Washington, DC!  Below you will find this week’s Wireless Wrap-Up, your update on the wireless telecommunications regulatory landscape, important wireless decisions, and

Read More