FCC Proposes Aggressive E911 Indoor Location Accuracy Requirements

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The Federal Communications Commission has adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing that wireless carriers meet indoor location accuracy requirements within as little as two years.  Under the proposal, carriers would be required to provide “horizontal” indoor accuracy that locates callers within 50 meters for 67% of calls within two years of the rules being adopted and 80% of calls within five years.  Carriers would be required to provide “vertical” (i.e., floor level) indoor accuracy that locates callers within three meters for 67% of calls within three years and 80% of calls within five years.  The NPRM also proposed additional steps to strengthen its existing E911 rules, including setting a maximum period for time to “first fix,” and sought comment on whether to accelerate the FCC’s timetable for replacing its current handset and network-based location accuracy standards with a single standard.  Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly approving in part and concurring part, with each expressing great concern that the Commission was proposing unrealistic standards.  Commissioner Pai noted in his statement that the FCC is taking a “Field of Dreams” approach and that it “is unfair to saddle [carriers’ with obligations that cannot be met.”

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