Archive for the ‘911’ Category

FCC seeks Input for 911 service

January 25, 2011

Washington, D.C. — The Federal Communications Commission today took an
important step to revolutionize America’s 9-1-1 services for consumers and
first responders by adopting a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking public
comment on how Next Generation 911 (NG911) can enable the public to obtain
emergency assistance by means of advanced communications technologies
beyond traditional voice-centric devices.

The FCC has undertaken this proceeding in response to a recommendation in
the National Broadband Plan seeking to harness the life-saving potential
of text messaging, email, video and photos from mobile and landline
broadband services. Despite the fact that there are more than 270 million
wireless consumers nationwide and that approximately 70 percent of all
9-1-1 calls are made from mobile hand-held devices, today’s 9-1-1 systems
support voice-centric communications only and are not designed to transfer
and receive text messaging, videos or photos. In some emergency
situations — especially in circumstances where a call could further
jeopardize someone’s life and safety — texting may be the only way to
reach out for help. In addition, many Americans, particularly those with
disabilities, rely on text messaging as their primary means of

The sharing of timely and relevant videos and photos would provide first
responders with on-the-ground information to help assess and address
emergencies in real-time. For example, these technologies could help
report crimes as they are happening thus giving law enforcement officials
an increased advantage when responding.

The NOI asked a comprehensive set of questions that address a number of
issues related to the deployment of Next Generation 9-1-1 services,
including, but not limited to:

• The technical feasibility and limitations of text messaging video
streaming and photos;
• Consumer privacy issues, particularly related to the sharing of personal
electronic medical data;
• Development of technical and policy standards;
• Consumer education and awareness; and
• Inter-governmental coordination and coordination within the public
safety community.

Action by the Commission, December 21, 2010, by NOI (FCC 10-200).
Chairman Genachowski, and Commissioners Copps, McDowell, Clyburn and
Baker. Separate statements issued by Chairman Genachowski, and
Commissioners Copps, McDowell, Clyburn and Baker. PS Docket No. 10-255.
For additional information about the NOI, please contact Patrick Donovan,
Policy and Licensing Division, FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security
Bureau, at 202-418-2413 or via email: