NPRM Continues FCC Effort to Bolster Oversight of 911 Networks

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) has issued a Policy Statement and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) related to its oversight of the nation’s 911 communications networks.  In the Policy Statement, the FCC has declared that “[i]t is the policy of the Commission to encourage and support efforts by states and localities to deploy comprehensive end-to-end emergency communications infrastructure and programs, including seamless, ubiquitous, reliable 911 service.”  In the NPRM, the FCC proposes ways to ensure its 911 rules keep pace with changing technology, and asks whether it should take further steps, in coordination with state and local authorities, to promote a national governance structure for 911 communications networks.  Specifically, comment is sought on proposals in four areas:

  • Requiring 911 providers to make public notification of major changes to 911 service;
  • Requiring entities seeking to offer new 911 capabilities and services to certify that they have the technical and operational capability to do so reliably;
  • Clarifying roles to promote situational awareness, information sharing, and coordination among multiple service providers during 911 outages; and
  • Updating the FCC’s 911 reliability certification requirements to account for new technologies and network architectures.

Comments on the NPRM are due 45 days after the date that the NPRM is published in the Federal Register, and reply comments are due 75 days after Federal Register publication.

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