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FCC Adopts Next Generation 911 NPRM

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Released: September 22, 2011

Federal Communications Commission

FCC 11-134

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, DC 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Facilitating the Deployment of Text-to-911 and
)
PS Docket No. 11-153
Other Next Generation 911 Applications
)
)

Framework for Next Generation 911 Deployment
)
PS Docket No. 10-255
)
)
)

NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING

Adopted: September 22, 2011

Released: September 22, 2011

By the Commission: Chairman Genachowski and Commissioners Copps, McDowell, and Clyburn issuing
separate statements.

Comment Date: [60 days after publication in the Federal Register]
Reply Comment Date: [90 days after publication in the Federal Register]

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Heading
Paragraph #
I.
INTRODUCTION AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ........................................................................... 1
II. BACKGROUND .................................................................................................................................. 13
A. Procedural History ......................................................................................................................... 14
B. Technical Background ................................................................................................................... 22
III. DISCUSSION....................................................................................................................................... 33
A. Facilitating the Short-Term Deployment of Text-to-911............................................................... 34
1. Expected Benefits of Text-to-911 Availability ....................................................................... 35
2. Ongoing Text-to-911 Trials..................................................................................................... 42
3. Approaches Based on SMS and Existing Infrastructure.......................................................... 48
4. Approaches Based on Software Applications ......................................................................... 57
B. 911 Prioritization in Major Emergencies ....................................................................................... 60
C. Facilitating the Long-Term Deployment of NG911 Text and Multimedia Applications .............. 68
1. Expected Benefits of Availability of NG911 Text and Multimedia Applications................... 69
2. Standards Development for NG911 Applications ................................................................... 76
3. Approaches Based On IP-based Messaging or Real-Time Text ............................................. 79
4. Approaches Based On Software Applications......................................................................... 84
D. The Commission's Role in Expediting Deployment of Text-to-911 and Other NG911
Applications ................................................................................................................................... 87
1. Incentive-Based vs. Regulatory Approaches........................................................................... 88
2. PSAP-Based Triggers for Providers to Provide NG911 Solutions for Non-Voice
Emergency Messaging to 911 ................................................................................................. 90
a. State or Regional Approaches........................................................................................... 92

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b. Advanced Regional 911 Centers..................................................................................... 101
E. Consumer Education and Disclosure Mechanisms ...................................................................... 104
1. Expected Benefits.................................................................................................................. 105
2. Approaches for Education and Disclosure ............................................................................ 107
F. Overlap with CVAA and EAAC.................................................................................................. 111
G. Legal Authority............................................................................................................................ 115
IV. PROCEDURAL MATTERS.............................................................................................................. 121
A. Ex Parte Presentations ................................................................................................................. 121
B. Comment Filing Procedures......................................................................................................... 122
C. Accessible Formats ...................................................................................................................... 123
D. Regulatory Flexibility Analysis ................................................................................................... 124
E. Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis ............................................................................................. 125
V. ORDERING CLAUSES..................................................................................................................... 126
APPENDIX: Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

I.

INTRODUCTION AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1.
In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we seek to accelerate the development and
deployment of Next Generation 911 (NG911) technology that will enable the public to send emergency
communications to 911 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) via text, photos, videos, and data and
enhance the information available to PSAPs and first responders for assessing and responding to
emergencies. Sending text messages, photos, and video clips has become commonplace for users of
mobile devices on 21st century broadband networks, yet our legacy circuit-switched 911 system does not
support these forms of communication. While continuing to ensure reliable voice-based 911 service will
always be essential as we migrate to NG911, adding these non-voice capabilities to our 911 system will
significantly improve emergency response, save lives, and reduce property damage. Incorporating text
and other media into the 911 system will make it more accessible to the public, both for people with
disabilities and for people in situations where placing a voice call to 911 could be difficult or dangerous.
2.
In addition, these 21st century communications technologies will provide PSAPs with
better information that can be synthesized with existing databases to enable emergency responders to
assess and respond to emergencies more quickly and effectively. Not only will PSAPs be able to receive
text messages, photos, and video clips from the public, but also NG911 can provide them with the tools
they need to quickly process and analyze the incoming information. In addition, PSAPs and emergency
responders will be able to combine information received from the public with other information sources
(e.g., video feeds from traffic or security cameras, automated alarms or sensors in a neighborhood,
building, or vehicle) to develop a detailed and data-rich assessment of the emergency in real time. This in
turn will enable public safety officials to decide on the appropriate response more quickly, saving
precious minutes and seconds that can be critical in many emergencies.
3.
In this Notice, we provide a procedural history, together with technical background,
regarding three broad classes of text-capable communications, namely Short Message Service (SMS), IP-
based messaging, and Real-Time Text (RTT), comparing their characteristics, strengths, and limitations in
supporting emergency communications.1 This description relies largely on current industry standards,
early prototypes, and the record in this proceeding.
4.
We then examine potential short-term methods for sending text messages to 911. We do


1 Throughout this document, the term "Real-Time Text" refers to SIP-based text consistent with IETF RFC 4103,
RTP Payload for Text Conversation (June 2005), available at http://tools.ietf.org/pdf/rfc4103.pdf (last visited Aug.
16, 2011).
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so because of the widespread availability and increasing use of text in communications systems and
because many of the emerging IP-based mechanisms for delivering text also have the capability, with
relatively minor technical adjustment, to support delivery of photos, videos, and other data as well. We
seek comment on what role the Commission should play to facilitate and, if necessary, accelerate the
implementation of text-to-911 capabilities by providers in the short term. We explore the full range of
options for the FCC, including both non-regulatory and regulatory approaches, and seek to adopt the least
burdensome approach that would achieve the desired result. We also recognize that we must carefully
assess the costs and benefits of different regulatory options to determine the Commission's proper role.
5.
We seek to strengthen the record to determine whether to encourage development of
interim text-to-911 solutions and, if so, how to maximize their effectiveness and utility to the public and
to PSAPs, while minimizing cost and the potential for negative PSAP operational impacts or consumer
confusion. Specifically, we explore the potential for using SMS as an interim solution for text-based
communication to 911, given the near-universal availability and consumer familiarity with SMS. The
responses to our December 2010 Notice of Inquiry in this proceeding2 identify a number of possible
limitations when using SMS for emergency communications, but some commenters also contended that
these limitations could be surmounted by appropriate engineering approaches. We also examine other
short-term options that would rely on software applications capable of delivering text over the existing IP-
based infrastructure. We examine the potential costs and benefits of both SMS-based and software-based
interim approaches as compared to developing more comprehensive text-to-911 solutions over the longer
term that will provide more reliable real-time communication and can also support delivery of photos and
video.
6.
Next, we seek comment on whether 911 traffic should be prioritized to ensure that people
in need of assistance have reliable access to emergency services, especially during times of serious
emergencies such as large-scale natural and manmade disasters. The August 23, 2011 East Coast
earthquake and Hurricane Irene have been recent reminders that concentrated demands on the capacity of
commercial communications networks during and immediately after emergencies can hinder the ability of
consumers to make voice calls, which in turn can jeopardize their ability to contact 911. We seek
comment on how best to address this concern in both legacy networks and the emerging broadband
networks that will support NG911, including options for prioritizing 911 traffic.
7.
We then turn to long-term implementation of NG911, with particular focus on IP-based
alternatives for delivering text, photos, videos, and other data to 911 that would leverage the increasing
percentage of mobile devices that have the ability to access the Internet. We seek comment on the
potential for developing downloadable smartphone applications that both consumers and IP-capable
PSAPs could acquire to support capabilities for an early roll-out of text and mulitimedia functionality.
We note that such applications could also provide early access to key NG911 capabilities for mobile
callers, especially those with hearing and speech disabilities.
8.
We also seek comment on the path towards integration and standardization of IP-based
text-to-911 as commercial providers migrate to all-IP networks and as 911 authorities deploy Emergency
Services IP networks (ESInets) that will enable PSAPs to receive the full range of IP-based traffic,
including voice, text, photos, video, and data. In this all-IP environment, text-to-911 is one of several
non-voice services that will be supported by "native" IP communications end-to-end solutions, such as
the Internet Multimedia Subsystem (IMS).3 However, providers may have varying timetables for
developing the capacity to deliver IMS communications to PSAPs. PSAP deployment of ESINets is also


2 Framework for Next Generation 911 Deployment, PS Docket No. 10-255, Notice of Inquiry, 25 FCC Rcd 17869
(2010) (Notice of Inquiry).
3 See infra, note 41 (referencing 3GPP, IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) Emergency Sessions).
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likely to be non-uniform. We seek comment on the necessary steps for providers and PSAPs to support
integrated IMS-based communications and the time that this process is likely to take.
9.
With over 6,800 PSAPs in the United States, spanning a wide range of sizes and
resources, individual PSAPs are likely to have highly varying timetables for developing the technical and
operational capability to handle incoming texts in the short term, as well as texts and other media in the
longer-term implementation of NG911. While there are significant public safety benefits to enabling the
public to send texts and other media to 911 in areas where PSAPs are capable of receiving and processing
them, we seek to avoid imposing unnecessary costs on providers to implement NG911 in areas where
PSAPs have not yet achieved such capability. For this reason, we seek comment on whether PSAPs
should demonstrate a threshold level of technical NG911 capability as a precondition to any obligation by
providers to deliver text or other media to PSAPs and whether such demonstration should be at the state
or regional level. We also seek comment on potential state or local regulatory barriers to NG911
deployment and whether states should demonstrate that they have adopted legal or regulatory measures to
eliminate such barriers to facilitate NG911 deployment.
10.
Given that text-to-911 and other NG911 capabilities will likely not be simultaneously
deployed nationwide, consumers may be uncertain where non-voice communication with 911 is available.
Even where text-to-911 or other NG911 applications are available, the specific capabilities and
operational characteristics of these applications may vary. We therefore seek comment on how to best
educate consumers about the availability and limitations of text-to-911 and other NG911 solutions,
particularly during the transition from legacy 911 to full implementation of NG911, without imposing an
undue burden on providers.
11.
As noted above, adding text and other media capabilities to our 911 system promises to
bring significant benefits for people with disabilities. In this regard, we seek comment on the relationship
between this proceeding and our ongoing implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications
and Video Accessibility Act of 2010,4 which, among other things, sets goals for achieving equal access to
emergency services for people with disabilities "as a part of the migration to a national Internet protocol-
enabled emergency network." 5 We believe that the transition to NG911 and the implementation of the
CVAA can be achieved through development of common text-to-911 and multimedia-to-911 solutions
that serve both objectives. In this Notice, therefore, we seek comment on the potential for coordinating
the two proceedings to promote broader and more rapid NG911 deployment.
12.
Throughout this Notice, we seek comment to further strengthen our record on these
important aspects of the evolution towards NG911 systems and capabilities. In particular, we seek
detailed data that quantifies the benefits that text-to-911 and other NG911 applications will bring to the
public and to emergency responders, while also quantifying the costs to providers, PSAPs, and
consumers. We emphasize the importance of comments being detailed, specific, and supported by data
where appropriate. We intend to confer particular weight on arguments and estimates that are supported
by data or are otherwise well documented.

II.

BACKGROUND

13.
In this section, we review the procedural history leading up to this Notice. We also
provide technical background information classifying the likely technical options for text-to-911, and we
recap the record on those options that the Commission received in response to the Notice of Inquiry.


4 Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-260, 124 Stat. 2751
(CVAA) (amending sections 3, 255, 303, 503, 330, 710, and 713 of the Communications Act, and adding sections
615c and 715-19, codified at 47 U.S.C. 153, 225, 303, 330, 503, 610, 613, 615c, 616-20).
5 47 U.S.C. 615c(a).
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A.

Procedural History

14.
In December 2010, as recommended in the National Broadband Plan, the Commission
released a Notice of Inquiry on NG911, which initiated a comprehensive proceeding to address how
NG911 can enable the public to obtain emergency assistance by means of advanced communications
technologies beyond traditional voice-centric devices.6 The Notice of Inquiry sought comment on a
number of issues related to the deployment of NG911 networks, including: (1) NG911 capabilities and
applications; (2) NG911 network architecture; and (3) the proper roles of the FCC, other federal agencies,
and state, tribal, and local governments.7
15.
In the last several years, there have been other important efforts to address the need for a
transition to an NG911 network. In the New and Emerging Technologies 911 Improvement Act of 2008,
Congress tasked the National E9-1-1 Implementation Coordination Office (ICO) with developing "a
national plan for migrating to a national [Internet Protocol] IP-enabled emergency network capable of
receiving and responding to all citizen-activated emergency communications and improving information
sharing among all emergency response entities."8 The Department of Commerce's National
Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Department of Transportation's
(DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) jointly manage ICO and released its
migration plan in September 2009.9
16.
In March 2010, the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) released a
handbook to serve as a guide for public safety personnel and government officials responsible for
ensuring that federal, state, and local 911 laws and regulations effectively enable the implementation of
NG911 systems.10 Specifically, the NENA Handbook provides an overview of key policy, regulatory,
and legislative issues that need to be considered to enable the transition to NG911. The NENA Handbook
states that "it is critical that state regulatory bodies and the FCC take timely and carefully scrutinized
action to analyze and update existing 9-1-1, PSTN, and IP rules and regulations to ensure they optimize 9-
1-1 governing authority choices for E9-1-1 and NG9-1-1 and foster competition by establishing a
competitively neutral marketplace."11
17.
3GPP has also published a report on the use of Non-Voice Emergency Services
(NOVES) that provides a general description of perceived needs.12 In addition, ATIS has created its own
Interim Non-voice Emergency Services (INES) Incubator.13 The ATIS INES Incubator "provides the


6 See Notice of Inquiry, 25 FCC Rcd 17869.
7 See Notice of Inquiry, 25 FCC Rcd 17869 at 31, 44, 65.
8 New and Emerging Technologies 911 Improvement Act of 2008, 47 U.S.C. 615a1, (2008) (NET 911 Act).
9 ICO, A National Plan for Migrating to IP-Enabled 9-1-1 Systems, 1-3 (ICO Plan).
10 NENA, Next Generation 9-1-1 Transition Policy Implementation Handbook, A Guide for Identifying and
Implementing Policies To Enable NG9-1-1
, at 1 2 (Mar. 2010), available at
http://www.nena.org/sites/default/files/NG911%20Transition%20Policy%20Implementation%20Handbook_FINAL.
pdf (last visited Aug. 11, 2011) (NENA NG9-1-1 Transition Handbook).
11 Notice of Inquiry, 25 FCC Rcd at 17872-73 8 (quoting NENA NG9-1-1 Transition Handbook at 12).
12 3GPP, Study on Non-Voice Emergency Services (Release 11), Technical Report 22.871, Version 11.2.0, June 2011
available at http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/Specs/html-info/GanttChart-Level-2.htm (last accessed Aug. 12, 2011) (3GPP
NOVES Study).
13 See ATIS, INES Interim Non-Voice Emergency Services, available at www.atis.org/ines (last visited Aug. 12,
2011). See also ATIS Incubator Solutions Program, available at http://www.atis.org/incubator.asp (last visited Aug.
8, 2011) (ATIS INES Incubator).
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industry with a `fast-track' process for resolving technical and operating issues" and serves as "an
alternative approach toward solutions development."14
18.
On October 8, 2010, the President signed the CVAA into law.15 As directed by the
CVAA, the Chairman established the Emergency Access Advisory Committee (EAAC) for the purpose of
achieving equal access to emergency services by individuals with disabilities as part of our nation's
migration to NG911.16 The EAAC is composed of state and local government representatives responsible
for emergency management and emergency responder representatives, national organizations representing
people with disabilities and senior citizens, communications equipment manufacturers, service providers,
and subject matter experts.17 The CVAA directed the EAAC to conduct a national survey of people with
disabilities and then to make recommendations on the most effective and efficient technologies and
methods to enable NG911 access.18 The EAAC conducted its survey from March 16, 2011, to April 25,
2011, and received over 3,000 completed responses. On July 21, 2011, the EAAC submitted the report
on the completed survey to the Commission.19 The EAAC will make its recommendations to the
Commission in December 2011, which the Commission is then empowered to implement by regulation.20
19.
In addition, other federal agencies have initiated efforts to address access to 911 in an
Internet-enabled environment for people with disabilities. On March 17, 2010, the United States Access
Board proposed draft guidelines for real-time text functionality for adoption by federal agencies as part of
its efforts to update guidelines on Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.21 In a separate proceeding, the
Department of Justice is currently reviewing comments received in response to an Advanced Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on NG911 access to emergency services by people with disabilities.22
Current DOJ regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) require direct and equal access
to telephone emergency services for people with disabilities who use TTYs.23 In its ANPRM, DOJ notes


14 See ATIS INES Incubator at 1, available at http://www.atis.org/incubator.shtml (last visited Aug. 16, 2011).
15 See CVAA, supra note 4.
16 47 U.S.C. 615c. See Emergency Access Advisory Committee Announcement of Members, Public Notice, DA
10-2318 (CGB Dec. 7, 2010). (EAAC Members Announcement PN).
17 See EAAC Members Announcement PN.
18 47 U.S.C. 615c (c).
19 EAAC, Report on Emergency Calling for Persons with Disabilities Survey Review and Analysis 2011, July 21,
2011, at 3, available at http://transition.fcc.gov/cgb/dro/EAAC/EAAC-REPORT.pdf (last visited Aug. 12, 2011)
(EAAC Report).
20 47 U.S.C. 615c(g) (providing that "[t]he Commission shall have the authority to promulgate regulations to
implement the recommendations proposed by the [EAAC], as well as any other regulations, technical standards,
protocols, and procedures as are necessary to achieve reliable, interoperable communication that ensures access by
individuals with disabilities to an Internet protocol-enabled emergency network, where achievable and technically
feasible").
21 See Draft Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines, U.S. Access Board,
available at http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/refresh/draft-rule.htm at 902 (last accessed Aug. 15 2011)
published at 75 Fed. Reg. 13457 (Mar. 22, 2010) (Access Board Draft).
22 See Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services; Accessibility of Next
Generation 9-1-1, 75 Fed. Reg. 43446 (Jul. 26, 2010).
23 A TTY, also called a "text telephone," and sometimes "telecommunications device for the deaf," is a text device
that employs graphic communication in the transmission of coded signals through a wire or radio communication
system. See Telecommunications Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech Disabilities and the Americans
(continued....)
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that many individuals with disabilities are now relying on IP-based and digital wireless devices instead of
TTYs as their primary mode of telecommunications "and that 9-1-1 call-taking centers are shifting from
existing traditional telephone emergency services to new IP-enabled NG 9-1-1 services."24 The ANPRM
addresses two objectives: (1) to identify and remove accessibility barriers for people with disabilities and
who attempt to use personal digital or telecommunications devices to directly interact with PSAPs in
voice, sign language, or text; and (2) to enhance the ability of PSAPs to incorporate essential accessibility
elements into their IP-based system in a coordinated and effective manner.25 Finally, in compliance with
the NET 911 Act, the ICO's national plan for migrating to an IP-enabled emergency network explored
various solutions for providing enhanced 911 access to people with disabilities.26
20.
In March 2011, the Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council's
(CSRIC) Working Group 4B (CSRIC 4B) released a report entitled "Transition to Next Generation 9-1-
1."27 CSRIC is a Federal Advisory Committee that was tasked with providing guidance and expertise on
the nation's communications infrastructure and public safety communications.28 Notably, the CSRIC 4B
Report highlighted that "the FCC must establish clear rules for accomplishing the transition to NG9-1-
1"29 and that "[i]f SMS has a role as an interim non-voice service used to contact a PSAP, how it is
deployed... will need to be resolved by the FCC."30
21.
On August 30, 2011, the Transportation Safety Advancement Group (TSAG) released a
report summarizing information that experts in law enforcement, fire-rescue, emergency medical services
(EMS), and transportation operations would like to receive as end users of NG911 systems.31 The report
provides insight into the cultural, organizational, and operational environments of these organizations.
(Continued from previous page)


with Disabilities Act, Report and Order and Request for Comments, 6 FCC Rcd 4657 at 4657 1 n.1 (1991) (First
TRS Report and Order
).
24 ANPRM 75 Fed. Reg. 43446 at 43448.
25 See id.
26 NET 9-1-1 Act (requiring the ICO to include within its national plan, the identification of solutions and steps to
implement those solutions for providing 9-1-1 access to people with disabilities, and to consult with representatives
of the disability community, as well as other interested stakeholders in doing so); 47 U.S.C. 942(d); ICO Plan at 1-
3, 1-11, 2-3, 4-11, 6-2, 6-6.
27 CSRIC 4B, Transition to Next Generation 9-1-1, Final Report, Mar. 14, 2011, available at
http://transition.fcc.gov/pshs/docs/csric/CSRIC-WG4B-Final-Report.pdf (last accessed August 8, 2011) (CSRIC 4B
Report).
28 CSRIC was originally chartered in March 2007, and in March 2009, the Commission renewed CSRIC's charter
through March 18, 2011. See 74 Fed. Reg. 11721-11722 (Mar. 19, 2009). The Commission first renewed CSRIC's
charter pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act. See 5 U.S.C. Appendix 2. The Commission recently
renewed CSRIC's charter again, through March 18, 2013. See FCC Recharters the Communications, Security,
Reliability, and Interoperability Council; Seeks Nominations by April 22, 2011, Public Notice, 26 FCC Rcd 4031
(Mar. 22, 2011) (CSRIC Renewal PN).
29 CSRIC 4B Report at 144.
30 Id.
31 TSAG, Next Generation 9-1-1 What's Next Forum, Report from Law Enforcement, Fire-Rescue, Emergency
Medical Services and Transportation Operations Stakeholder Panels
(Aug. 2011), available at http://www.tsag-
its.org/docs/2011/08/NG9-1-1%20WN%20Report%20-%20August%2030,%202011.pdf (last visited Sept. 14,
2011).
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B.

Technical Background

22.
In the Notice of Inquiry, we distinguished between use of "primary" and "secondary"
media types to communicate with PSAPs.32 In brief, primary media types are those that are used to
initiate a call or communications session with the PSAP, while secondary media types are those that are
used to provide additional information to the PSAP after the call or session has been established. In the
current E911 system, voice and TTY-based text are the only primary media that are widely available, and
secondary media, such as photos and video, are not available.
23.
In addition, while we focus in this Notice on enabling consumers to deliver text and other
non-voice media to PSAPs, we note that the adoption of NG911 technology will also provide PSAPs with
new tools to process and analyze this information. In the Notice of Inquiry, we cited the potential for
NG911 to accommodate a full range of specialized devices and functionalities that would enable PSAPs
to combine multiple streams of information in real time to fashion responses to particular emergency
scenarios.33 Examples of such devices and functionalities include environmental sensors capable of
detecting chemicals, highway cameras, security cameras, alarms, gunshot sensors, personal medical
devices, and telematics in vehicles or on consumer devices. For example, in a traffic accident, NG911
would not only enable the PSAP to receive the 911 call for help from the caller seeking assistance, but
also would enable it to correlate the call with 911 calls from others at or near the scene and combine the
information with video from nearby traffic cameras to assess the impact on traffic and identify the first
responders that could reach the scene the fastest. In addition, if any vehicles in the accident had
automatic collision notification systems, the PSAP would receive additional information regarding the
severity of the crash that could help determine the likely medical needs of accident victims and the
appropriate emergency medical response. Similarly, in a 911 call scenario reporting a crime such as a
robbery or assault, NG911 would enable the caller to send important visual information such as a photo of
the suspect or a vehicle involved in the crime, and would enable first responders to correlate this
information with other sources, such as nearby security cameras, gunshot sensors, or alarm systems, and
to quickly access relevant databases that could help identify the suspect or the suspect's vehicle.
24.
In this Notice, we primarily focus on developing text-based mechanisms that would serve
as new primary media types for contacting a PSAP, supplementing voice calling capability and also
supplementing or replacing TTY-based text. We consider photos and video as secondary media that may
be used to augment a voice or text call. We recognize that this to some degree oversimplifies the
potential media combinations that NG911 will ultimately support, ranging from single-medium
communications (i.e., voice-only or text-only) to multi-media "calls" that may encompass combinations
of interactive and stored media, including interactive voice, message-based and real-time text, photos, and
both stored (previously recorded) and live video. However, for purposes of this Notice, we focus on text
as a primary media type and photos and video as secondary media types because in early NG911
deployments, primary communication between a caller and a PSAP is most likely to be voice-only or
text-only and the availability of secondary media may differ based on caller device capabilities, PSAP and
ESInet capabilities, and PSAP operational choices.
25.
Based on the comments we received in response to the Notice of Inquiry, we can
distinguish between a number of technical options for providing text-based and, in some cases, visual
information (photos, video) to the PSAP. We briefly summarize these approaches below. We note that
these options are not exclusive (i.e., a mobile device may support more than one option, either as an
interim measure, or over the longer term). For purposes of this Notice, we use the term "caller" to refer to
the originator of the 911 communication, whether based on a traditional voice call, TTY call, or text


32 See Notice of Inquiry, 25 FCC Rcd at 17883 39-40.
33 See id.
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message. We also discuss (1) mechanisms for providing caller location, both for routing and dispatch; (2)
the ability of a caller to know whether his or her text message has been received by the PSAP; and (3) the
possibility of establishing a session that permits the caller to conduct a conversation with the call taker.
26.
TTY. With a TTY,34 a person with a hearing or speech disability can use a special text
telephone to directly contact the PSAP, where the call taker uses a similar device to receive and transmit
text. TTYs have a keyboard and allow people to type their telephone conversations. This two-way typing
communication can occur with the person with the disability and the PSAP call taker reading each other's
responses on a small LED or backlit LCD screen.35 The disabilities community considers TTY an
antiquated technology with technical and functional limitations, including its slow speed and half duplex
mode; the inability of TTY tones to travel well using IP audio compression, transmission, and packet loss
repair techniques without introducing text errors; and its Baudot text encoding standard used in the United
States that does not include all of the characters used in modern text communication. Consequently, it is
difficult for users to communicate URLs or email addresses, for example.36
27.
Text-to-Voice TTY-based telecommunications relay service (TRS). A TRS system is a
telephone service that allows persons with hearing or speech disabilities, or who are deaf-blind, to place
and receive telephone calls. 37 With traditional TRS, a person with a communications disability uses a
TTY to make a call through a communications assistant (CA), who is located at a relay center. To make a
relay call, a TTY user calls a TRS relay center and types the number of the person he or she wishes to
call, including 911. The CA then makes the call to the receiving party and relays the call back and forth
between the parties by speaking what a text user types and typing what a voice telephone user speaks.38


34 See supra note 23; see also 47 C.F.R. 64.601(22). TTY is sometimes called a "TDD" or "telecommunications
device for the deaf," even though TTY has superseded the term "TDD." For CMRS providers subject to the E911
requirements of section 20.18, see 47 C.F.R. 20.18(c) (concerning "TTY Access to 911 Services.").
35 There are also more complex communication methods using TTYs, such as Voice Carry Over and Hearing Carry
Over. Computer software technology, involving the use of an external or internal modem, is available to allow
personal computers to have TTY characteristics. See Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services, "TTY
Overview," available at
http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=eohhs2terminal&L=6&L0=Home&L1=Consumer&L2=Disability+Services&L3=Se
rvices+by+Type+of+Disability&L4=Deaf%2c+Late-
Deafened%2c+and+Hard+of+Hearing&L5=Assistive+Technology+and+Hearing+Ear+Dogs&sid=Eeohhs2&b=ter
minalcontent&f=mcdhh_c_at_tty&csid=Eeohhs2, (noting that "some manufacturers have designed modems with
TTY, FAX, and other data capabilities" while other "manufacturers have developed specific computer software or
keyboards with built-in TTY capability.") (last visited Aug. 16, 2011).
36 See Telecommunications Access Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC), Trace R&D Center
University of Wisconsin-Madison, and The Technology Access Program (TAP) Gallaudet University, Proposal R1
for Implementation of Real-Time Text Across Platforms, December 2008, available at
http://trace.wisc.edu/docs/2008-RTT-Proposal/Proposal-R1-Dec10-2008.pdf (last visited Aug. 15, 2011).
37 Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) directed the Commission to create a nationwide
TRS program, to ensure that people who are "deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or who ha[ve] a speech disability
[would be able] to engage in communication by wire or radio with one or more individuals, in a manner that is
functionally equivalent to the ability of a hearing individual who does not have a speech disability to communicate
using voice communication services by wire or radio." 47 U.S.C. 225(a)(3), as amended by the CVAA, Pub. L.
111-260, Sec. 103(a).
38 See Telecommunications Relay Services and Speech-to-Speech Services for Individuals with Hearing and Speech
Disabilities
, Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration, and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 19 FCC Rcd
12475, 12479, 3 n.18 (2004) (describing how a traditional TRS call works). Although when first enacted, the
ADA only permitted TRS calls between TTY users and voice telephone callers, the introduction of multiple forms
(continued....)
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28.
SMS-based. In SMS-based systems, the caller uses a mobile phone to send a short text
message to the destination, which is typically either another mobile phone or an Internet-connected
receiver. SMS messages are usually limited to 160 characters, although many modern handsets support
concatenated messages that exceed this limit. Almost all existing mobile phones support SMS, except
that non-service initialized (NSI) devices currently do not permit a caller to send an SMS message. SMS
messages do not contain any information about the caller's location and do not identify the cell tower that
received the SMS message from the caller's handset. SMS messages are delivered through an SMS
gateway that relays the messages when capacity is available. Thus, SMS messages could in some
circumstances be delayed, or even occasionally lost, when there is network congestion. Senders of SMS
messages also may not receive confirmation that their message was delivered.39 More importantly, the
sender may not receive an error message if the message was not delivered. SMS also does not support
two-way real-time conversation, although SMS messages have identifiers that can allow users to
exchange messages in a conversation-like manner.40
29.
IP-based messaging. There are at least three IP-based messaging mechanisms. However,
not all of the IP-based messaging mechanisms are based on Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), which can
be offered as part of the Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem (IMS).41 We provide a brief description
of the three IP-based messaging mechanisms below.

SIP-based pager-mode. In this mode, the mobile or stationary device uses SIP MESSAGE
method to send text or Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) attachments,
including photos, to a SIP user agent. Due to the messaging method employed, this method is
often referred to as pager-mode, in contrast to session mode, which uses Message Session
Relay Protocol (MSRP). Pager-mode requires an end-to-end IP connection between the
originator and the PSAP, and either the originator or the SIP proxy may insert caller location
using the SIP Geolocation header field. SIP responses allow the originator to determine
whether the message has been delivered to the recipient. The SIP Call-ID may be used to
maintain a conversation.42

Message Session Relay Protocol (MSRP). MSRP establishes a session between the message
(Continued from previous page)


of relay services, including video relay services (using sign language interpreters) and speech-to-speech services
(enabling someone with a speech disability to have his or her speech repeated by a CA) led Congress, in the CVAA,
to authorize TRS calls between and among different types of relay services. Accordingly, TTY callers now may use
this service to make calls to people with disabilities who may use a different type of relay service, even it this means
the use of two different CAs on a single call. See 47 U.S.C. 225(a)(3), as amended by section 103(a) of the
CVAA.
39 While delivery of SMS messages can be affected by network congestion, as explained in further detail below,
SMS messages consume far less bandwidth than voice calls and therefore are typically more likely to be delivered in
times of heavy congestion than voice calls. See infra, paras. 40 and 62.
40 See, e.g., TIA/EIA-637-A (MESSAGE_ID).
41 SIP is "an application-layer control (signaling) protocol for creating, modifying, and terminating sessions with
one or more participants. These sessions include Internet telephone calls, multimedia distribution, and multimedia
conferences." See IETF RFC 3261, SIP: Session Initiation Protocol. IMS allows wireless operators to offer
multimedia services on SIP-based platforms. See 3GPP, Technical Specification 23.228, IP Multimedia Subsystem
(IMS); Stage 2,
version 10.2.0, September 2010, Section 4.0 "IP multimedia subsystem concepts - General."
42 See NENA, Detailed Functional and Interface Specification for the NENA i3 Solution Stage 3, NENA 08-003
Version 1
, 4.1.9, available at http://www.nena.org/sites/default/files/08-
003%20Detailed%20Functional%20and%20Interface%20Specification%20for%20the%20NENA%20i3%20Solutio
n%20-%20Stage%203_1.pdf (last visited Aug. 11, 2011) (NENA i3 Solution).
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sender and the receiver that allows the exchange of a series of related instant messages.43
Typically, MSRP sessions are set up via SIP, similar to an audio or video session. As with
SIP pager-mode, MSRP exchanges complete instant messages; however, MSRP imposes less
of a burden on the signaling infrastructure.

Other IP-based message-based protocols. We note that there are other proprietary and
standards-based Internet text messaging protocols, such as Extensible Messaging and
Presence Protocol (XMPP).44 However, it appears unlikely that a PSAP would be able to
support all Internet text messaging protocols; thus, we believe that proprietary protocols are
likely to be converted to one of the options above or to XMPP.
30.
Real-Time Text (RTT). In RTT, individually-typed characters or groups of characters are
transmitted as separate media packets, using the same basic protocol as audio and video sessions.45 This
means that with RTT, unlike SMS or IP-based messaging, the recipient sees each character or word in the
message almost immediately after the sender types it. RTT sessions can be established along with audio
and video sessions and typically use SIP for session signaling.
31.
The table below compares some of the core technical characteristics of the options
discussed above.46

TTY

SMS-based

IP-based messaging

Real-time text

(RTT)
Delivery to PSAP
Voiceband
SIP MESSAGE
SIP MESSAGE or
RTP payload
modem
MSRP
Text
Only upper
160 characters of
Any amount of text
Any amount of
case letters,
plain text (some
text
numbers,
may allow longer
limited
text)
punctuation
Photos, videos in
No
No
Yes
No
same message?
Real-time audio and
No
No
Yes
Yes
video in same
session?
Real-time text
Yes
No
No
Yes
Full-duplex
No
Limited
Yes
Yes
conversation (both


43 See Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), The Message Session Relay Protocol, (September 2007) available at
http://tools.ietf.org/pdf/rfc4975.pdf (last visited Aug. 12, 2011).
44 XMPP is an open technology for real-time communication, which powers a wide range of applications including
instant messaging, presence, multi-party chat, voice and video calls, collaboration, lightweight middleware, content
syndication, and generalized routing of XML data. See XMPP Standards Foundation, available at
http://xmpp.org/about-xmpp (last visited Aug. 16, 2011).
45 See IETF, RTP Payload for Real-Time Text Conversation, (June 2005), available at
http://tools.ietf.org/pdf/rfc4103.pdf (last visited Aug. 12, 2011).
46 For a similar analysis, see Telecommunications Access Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC),
Trace R&D Center University of Wisconsin-Madison, and The Technology Access Program (TAP) Gallaudet
University, Proposal R1 for Implementation of Real-Time Text Across Platforms, December 2008, available at
http://trace.wisc.edu/docs/2008-RTT-Proposal/Proposal-R1-Dec10-2008.pdf (last visited August 15, 2011).
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sides can send
messages at the
same time)
Location
Yes, like voice
Maybe (cell tower;
Yes
Yes, via SIP
information
call
may require
signaling
cellular system
changes)
End-to-end
No
No (may provide
Yes
Loss detection and
message reliability
some confirmation
redundancy
and delivery
for delivery to
confirmation
SMSC)
Message delay
Minimal
Variable seconds
Almost always <
Almost always <
to minutes
500 ms
100 ms
Authentication and
None
Limited (relies on
Messages can be
SRTP
message integrity
caller ID)
cryptographically
signed
Conversation
Like voice call
Only based on
Yes
Yes
(session)
caller ID
32.
We seek comment on whether our description of texting methods and their capabilities in
the above discussion is accurate and complete. Are there additional technical options that are likely to be
available in the next few years? Are there additional key characteristics that the Commission should
consider in evaluating these alternative technologies?

III.

DISCUSSION

33.
Based on our analysis of information submitted in response to the Notice of Inquiry, we
find that additional information is needed on the following issues related to text-to-911 and multimedia
NG911 applications, and we therefore seek comment on these issues. First, what role, if any, should the
Commission play in facilitating the short-term deployment of text-to-911 using existing infrastructure?
Second, what role, if any, should the Commission play in facilitating the long-term deployment of non-
voice emergency messaging services, including IP-based messaging and RTT, as well as multimedia
applications that support delivery of voice, text, photos, video, and other data? Third, as the transition to
NG911 occurs, what efforts are needed to educate the public and minimize consumer confusion, and what
role, if any, should the Commission play in such efforts? Underlying all three of these issues is the
question of whether the benefits of any potential Commission action to consumers and to public safety
will substantially outweigh the associated costs. While acknowledging the potential difficulty of
quantifying benefits and burdens, we need to determine whether those benefits outweigh the costs that
enabling text-to-911 and other NG911 services impose on providers and PSAPs. Fourth, we seek
comment on how best to coordinate this proceeding with our implementation of the CVAA and the
recommendations of the EAAC. Fifth and finally, we consider the Commission's legal authority to take
the regulatory and non-regulatory actions discussed in this Notice based on the record that develops on
the issues described herein.

A.

Facilitating the Short-Term Deployment of Text-to-911

34.
In the Notice of Inquiry, the Commission highlighted the popularity and ubiquity of text
messaging and the increasing likelihood that consumers will expect to be able to text to 911 during an
emergency.47 Indeed, consumers send billions of SMS messages per day48and more than two-thirds of


47 Notice of Inquiry at 41.
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mobile phone users have used text messaging.49 At the same time, many consumers are acquiring more
advanced mobile devices (e.g., 3G and 4G handsets) that enable them to send texts using "over the top"
software applications that they install on their phones and computers. Hence, any discussion about
possible short-term deployment of text-to-911 must consider the feasibility of both SMS and currently
available software applications (or software applications that could be developed relatively quickly) as
interim platforms for text-to-911 until providers deploy more advanced NG911 technologies based on SIP
and RTT. In deciding what role, if any, the Commission should play in such an interim deployment, we
seek to maximize the benefits to consumers while also considering the burden on providers. We therefore
seek comment on the expected benefits of facilitating NG911 deployment, the results of any ongoing
trials and standards activities involving SMS and software applications, and the relative merits of using
various approaches to achieve those benefits. When evaluating submitted comments, we intend to place
more weight on the estimated impacts that are supported by hard data or are otherwise well-documented.
1.

Expected Benefits of Text-to-911 Availability

35.
Although quantifying the benefits of short-term deployment of text-to-911 may be
difficult, we need to determine whether such a deployment will significantly benefit consumers and
public safety. On this issue, responses to the Notice of Inquiry were divided. Several commenters argue
that PSAPs and service providers should support SMS-based text-to-911 on an interim basis.50
Conversely, a number of commenters highlight the disadvantages of using SMS for emergency
communications and argue that supporting SMS as an interim approach would undermine and divert
resources from efforts to develop more comprehensive long-term solutions. These commenters urge the
Commission to support standards-setting bodies that are working to develop a uniform approach for the
delivery of NOVES.51 No comments were received on application-based approaches to text-to-911.
Accordingly, we seek further comment on the benefits of using SMS and software applications for
emergency communications, particularly with respect to improving 911 accessibility for people with
disabilities, meeting consumer expectations, providing PSAPS with valuable additional information that
they can in turn share with first responders on the ground, and increasing reliability and resiliency of 911
networks.
36.
Accessibility of 911. The ability to text to 911 in the short term could substantially
improve accessibility to 911 services for people with disabilities. In recent years, people with hearing and
speech disabilities have increasingly migrated away from specialized legacy devices such as TTYs and
towards more widely available forms of text communications because of the ease of access, availability,
(Continued from previous page)


48 According to CTIA, U.S. wireless subscribers sent approximately 187.7 billion SMS messages in December 2010,
or approximately 5.6 billion SMS messages per day, and a total of 2.1 trillion during the 2010 calendar year. See
CTIA - The Wireless Association, Wireless Quick Facts, available at
http://www.ctia.org/advocacy/research/index.cfm/aid/10323 (last visited Aug 12, 2011).
49 According to recent research, as of April 2011, approximately 234 million Americans (ages 13 and older) used a
mobile device, and of that group, 68.8 percent used text messaging. See comScore, comScore Reports April 2011
U.S. Mobile Subscriber Market Share (press release), June 3, 2011, available at
http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2011/6/comScore_Reports_April_2011_U.S._Mobile_Subs
criber_Market_Share (last viewed Sept. 1, 2011).
50 See Intrado Comments at 13; Intrado Reply Comments at 1-4; RERC-TA Comments at 2, 5; Rave Mobile Safety
Comments at 2; L.R. Kimball Comments at 3-7; TCS Comments at 5-7.
51 See 4G Americas, Texting to 9-1-1: Examining the Design and Limitations of SMS (October 2010) available at
http://www.4gamericas.org/documents/SMS%20to%20911%20White%20Paper%20Final%20October%202010.pdf
(4G Americas Texting to 9-1-1 White Paper); T-Mobile Comments at 10-11; T-Mobile Reply Comments at 1;
AT&T Comments at 11-13; AT&T Reply Comments at 13; ATIS Comments at 6.
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and practicability of text-capable communications devices. This migration is most apparent in the
declining use of telecommunications relay service (TRS)52 over the PSTN, where the average monthly
usage for TTY-voice based relay service dropped 87% between 2000 and 2010.53 Moreover, as noted in
the NOI, the ICO Plan found that "[t]he biggest gap between the technologies used for daily
communication and those that can access 9-1-1 services is that for the deaf and people with hearing or
speech impairments."54 In the EAAC's survey, in which respondents were primarily drawn from people
with disabilities, 48.1% of respondents stated that they would prefer to use text messaging to contact
911.55
37.
Developing text-to-911 capability in the short term could also provide benefits by making
911 accessible to consumers in the so-called "silent call" scenario (i.e., in situations where the caller
needs to contact the PSAP silently or surreptitiously because placing a voice call could put the caller in
danger). Commonly cited examples of the silent call scenario include burglaries, home invasions,
kidnappings, and hostage situations where a crime is in progress and the caller does not want to attract the
perpetrator's attention.
38.
Toward that end, we seek more information on the benefits and associated costs of
facilitating short-term text-to-911 solutions that can quickly improve the accessibility of the 911 system.
To what extent can such short-term solutions assist individuals with hearing or speech disabilities? How
frequently do people in emergencies encounter a silent call scenario where inability to send a text
message to 911 could compromise the caller's safety? Can SMS provide significant accessibility benefits
in these situations even if it does not offer real-time connectivity or enable the caller to send photos or
videos, unlike some longer-term solutions under development? How, if at all, will receipt of texts allow
PSAPs to better communicate information about an emergency situation to first responders on the
ground? What, if any, costs will PSAPs incur to implement short-term text-to-911 solutions? Are there
capacity limits on PSAPs' ability to accept texts to 911? With respect to interim text-to-911 solutions
based on software applications, these may only be available on some mobile devices and may require
additional steps by the user, both to install the application and to send the 911 text message. Is this a
worthwhile trade-off to allow for earlier access to such capabilities than might otherwise be available if
we were to wait for device replacement and fully-integrated NG911 services?


52 TRS is a "telephone transmission service[] that provide[s] the ability for an individual who is deaf, hard of
hearing, deaf-blind, or who has a speech disability to engage in communication by wire or radio with one or more
individuals, in a manner that is functionally equivalent to the ability of a hearing individual who does not have a
speech disability to communicate using voice communication services by wire or radio." 47 U.S.C. 225(a)(3).
For traditional TRS over the PSTN, an individual uses a TTY to communicate with a third party over the PSTN
through a communications assistant.
53 The TRS Fund administrator, National Exchange Carrier Association, reported in its TRS Monthly Fund Reports
that an average monthly usage of approximately 4 million minutes per month in 2000 dropped to an average of
approximately 500,000 minutes per month in 2010. See http://www.r-l-s-a.com/TRS/Reports.htm (last visited Sept.
1, 2011).
54 ICO Plan at 6-6.
55 See EAAC Report, at 22-23, available at http://transition.fcc.gov/cgb/dro/EAAC/EAAC-REPORT.pdf.
Specifically, the EAAC survey showed that, of the 3,149 survey takers, 2,682 or 85% responded as follows: 45.7%
of the respondents would like to be able to use RTT; 45.1% would like to be able to use SMS; 43.7% would like to
be able to use email; 31.1% would like to be able to use Instant Messaging (IM) (a sentence at a time); 30.2% would
like to be able to use a web page that lets people communicate in text directly to 9-1-1; 10.8% would like to be able
to use TTY. See id. at 23 and Graph (depicting survey results). The participants in the survey were primarily people
with hearing, vision, cognitive, and/or developmental disabilities.
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39.
Consumer expectations. Another potential benefit of implementing text-to-911 in the
short term is that it could help meet rapidly changing consumer expectations regarding the desired
capabilities of the 911 system. According to the Pew Center, more than 7 out of 10 cell phone users send
or receive text messages.56 With the increased use of text messaging, consumers could expect that their
use of SMS extends to 911. We seek comment on whether promoting or requiring short-term text-to-
911solutions accurately reflects current and evolving consumer expectations and the needs of PSAPs and
first responders. Does the rapid growth in the popularity of SMS messaging generate consumer
expectations that SMS will support 911 texting? We seek information regarding how many people have
attempted to text to 911 during emergencies but failed. Have there been instances where the ability to
send a text message to 911 could have made a significant difference in the ability of first responders to
assist the caller or the speed of the response? We also seek information that quantifies the impact that
incorrect consumer expectations about the ability to text to 911 may have on the health and safety of the
public.
40.
Improved information for PSAPs. As we have noted above, in addition to improving
communications between consumers and PSAPs, NG911 has the potential to enhance the ability of
PSAPs and first responders to assess and respond to emergencies in real-time based on the texts, photos,
and videos that consumers send to them, combined with information gathered and correlated from other
sources.57 In this regard, what benefits, if any, could the short-term deployment of text-to-911 (which
would not include the capability to transmit photos or video) provide PSAPs and first responders? For
example, could texts to 911 provide additional information to assess the nature and severity of an
emergency, help apprehend criminal suspects, speed emergency response, reduce the need to dispatch
multiple types of emergency response (e.g., sending police, fire, and emergency medical personnel to a
scene because the nature of the emergency is undetermined), or make it easier to screen potentially
fraudulent or malicious calls? How do such benefits compare to the cost of short-term deployment of
text-to-911? Would short-term implementation of text-to-911 increase the volume of 911 traffic or the
time and resources required for PSAPs to process information as compared to handling voice calls? If so,
are PSAPs equipped to handle such increases? If not, what do PSAPs need to do to prepare and what
resources do they require?
41.
Improved reliability and resiliency. In large-scale disasters, circuit-switched landline and
mobile networks may become overloaded, making it more difficult to place a 911 voice call. As landline
and mobile networks migrate from circuit-switched to IP-based packet-switched technology, the risk of
overload or congestion may dissipate, but in the interim, enabling SMS and IP-based text messages to 911
could be beneficial because text consumes far less bandwidth than voice and may use different spectrum
resources or traffic channels. Thus, people in disaster areas may still be able to send text messages to 911
even if they cannot place a voice call.58 Similarly, with improved technology, PSAPs may be able to filter
text messages by incident, so that they spend less time with voice callers who report the same incident.
We seek comment on the prospective impact of text messaging on PSAP operations and emergency
response during large-scale disasters, with particular emphasis on experiences of overload-induced 911


56 Pew Internet and American Life Project, The Rise of Apps Culture, Sept. 15, 2010, available at
http://pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2010/PIP_Nielsen%20Apps%20Report.pdf (noting that 72% of users
send or receive text messages) (last visited Aug. 12, 2011).
57 See para. 24, infra.
58 See Marguerite Reardon, Why cell phone networks are a weak link in a crisis, Cnet.com, Aug. 2, 2007, available
at
http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9754096-7.html (last visited Aug. 12, 2011).
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failures.59 For example, there have been news reports that cell phone service, including the ability to
reach 911, was impaired immediately after the August 23, 2011 East Coast earthquake, while SMS and
email did not experience service disruptions.60
2.

Ongoing Text-to-911 Trials

42.
To date, there have been only a small number of SMS-to-911 trials in the United States,
although a number of jurisdictions are reportedly considering trials or near-term implementations.61 In
2009, Intrado and i wireless, a T-Mobile affiliate, initiated an SMS-to-911 trial in Black Hawk County,
Iowa. In this trial, only Black Hawk County residents who subscribed to i wireless were able to make use
of the text-to-911 service. Text messages sent in the trial did not carry location information, so users
were prompted to enter their zip codes before the text message was forwarded to the PSAP. Despite the
limited nature of the trial, county representatives have credited text-to-911 with positive outcomes in
several emergency situations.62 On the other hand, AT&T contends that publicity about the Black Hawk
County trial resulted in confusion that "spread throughout the country" regarding where text-to-911 was
available.63
43.
In August 2010, the Marion County, Florida, Sheriff's Office developed an in-house text
message to 911 system.64 Named "ADD IT NOW," the program enables the Sheriff's Office
Communications Center to receive urgent text messages on a dedicated screen that uses a yellow indicator
light to signal incoming texts.65 The Sheriff's Office has advertised the availability of the number and has
encouraged local citizens to add the number to their phone directories. The Sheriff's Office reports that


59 In Section III.B, infra, we also seek comment on whether 911 calls should be given priority in major emergencies
that may generate network congestion.
60 See Cecilia Kang and and Ylan Q. Mui, Cellphone service falls short after earthquake, Washington Post, August
23, 2011, available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/cellphone-service-falls-short-after-
earthquake/2011/08/23/gIQAnl52ZJ_story.html (last accessed on Aug. 30, 2011).
61 See, e.g., Jerome Burdi, 911 System to Go Digital in Palm Beach County, Sun Sentinel, Feb. 17, 2011, available
at
http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2011-02-17/news/fl-pbc-digital-911-20110217_1_text-messages-dispatch-system-
cell-phone (last visited Aug. 12, 2011); Jeremy Gray, Photos, Texting, Videos On Horizon for Alabama's Future
Emergency 911 Calls
, The Birmingham News, Jul. 18, 2011, available at
http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2011/07/photos_texting_on_horizon_for.html (last visited Aug. 12, 2011). In addition,
some jurisdictions have deployed email alerting systems and SMS-based text to non-emergency N-1-1 numbers,
such as 311. See, e.g., Arlington County, Virginia, Arlington Alert, available at
https://www.arlingtonalert.com/index.php?CCheck=1; Fran Spielman, 311 Inquiries Can Now Be Texted, Chicago
Sun-Times, Apr. 27, 2011, available at http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/5056565-418/311-inquiries-can-
now-be-texted.html.
62 Jimmy Isaac, Longview's 911 Purchase Keeps Texting Capability Two Years Out, Longview News-Journal, July
17, 2011, available at
http://www.emergencycallworx.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=140:longviews-911-system-
purchase-keeps-texting-capability-two-years-out&catid=38:news&Itemid=266 (last accessed on Aug. 16, 2011).
63 AT&T Comments at 16.
64 Marion County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Launches New Text Messaging; Add It Now to Your Cell Phone Contact
List: (352) 351-9111
(press release), May 20, 2010, available at
http://www.marionso.com/mediarelease.php?id=10065.
65 Andy Fillmore, Silent Savior: 911 Now Has Text Line, Ocala.com, Aug. 11, 2010, available at
http://www.ocala.com/article/20100811/articles/100819945.
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the system cost $1,000 to develop and costs approximately $50 per month to maintain.66 The system does
not convey location information.
44.
On August 3, 2011, the City of Durham, North Carolina, announced an SMS-to-911 trial
in partnership with Intrado and Verizon Wireless.67 According to Durham, the trial is specifically
designed for two types of emergency scenarios: emergency help requests from people with disabilities
and from people not wanting someone to hear them make a 911 call.68 When receiving a text, the
Durham PSAP will not be able to automatically determine the caller's location.69 To ensure that
consumers are aware of this limitation, the city is making efforts to educate the public that they must
include location information when sending an SMS-to-911.70 Durham has scheduled the trial to conclude
on January 31, 2012, and will restrict the trial to Verizon Wireless customers in areas served by the
Durham PSAP.
45.
In June 2011, Cassidian Communications announced the successful completion of a
"simulation" SMS-to-911 trial in Harris County, Texas, involving the Greater Harris County backup
PSAP. According to Cassidian, "[t]he testing during the trial utilized automatic location identification
(ALI) capabilities allowing for the call takers to identify the location of the caller... Many operational
implementation and procedure related elements remain to be discussed and ultimately implemented... It
is anticipated that the technology will be available to the deaf and hard of hearing population in the GHC
9-1-1 territory within a year [after June 20, 2011] and subsequently will be offered to the rest of the
population."71 Unlike the Black Hawk County and Durham trials, this trial did not involve members of
the public.
46.
Several European countries, including Estonia, Iceland,72 Luxembourg, Sweden, and the
United Kingdom offer emergency SMS services or are planning to offer such services in the near future.73
In all of these countries, the SMS message does not automatically include location information, which the
sender of the SMS message is expected to provide manually. The Swedish SMS system, however, is


66 Id.
67 City of Durham, NC, Durham 911 Center Launches Texting Trial for Emergency Help, Aug. 3, 2011, available at
http://www.durhamnc.gov/news/NewsDisplay.cfm?vNewsID=2343 (last visited Aug. 8, 2011).
68 City of Durham, NC, 911 Emergency Communications, Durham 911 Center Texting Trial for Emergency Help
Frequency Asked Questions
, available at http://www.durhamnc.gov/Departments/911/pdf/911_texting_trial_faq.pdf.
69 Id.
70 Id.
71 Cassidian Communications, Cassidian Communications and Greater Harris County 9-1-1 Emergency Network
Text Messaging to 9-1-1 Trial a Success, Jun. 20, 2011, available at
http://www.cassidiancommunications.com/news-events/766-cassidian-communications-and-greater-harris-county-9-
1-1-emergency-network-text-messaging-to-9-1-1-trial-a-success- (last visited Aug. 12, 2011).
72 National Center on Emergency Communication in Health [Iceland], SMS in Emergency Communication, Sept.
11, 2009, available at http://www.kokom.no/kokomsoek/publikasjonar/Rapportar/SMS_in_EC_2009.pdf (Iceland
Report).
73 Many of these countries offer unique emergency SMS services. For example, Iceland has only one PSAP due to
its small size, Finland routes SMS messages to a single PSAP, and Sweden routes SMS messages to two of its
eighteen PSAPs for redundancy.
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capable of determining cell-tower location.74 In all of these countries, the SMS service is primarily
directed towards people with disabilities and requires users to register in advance of using the service.75
Additionally, after the SMS PSAP receives and processes a text message, it forwards the necessary
information to the appropriate voice PSAP. We seek comment on the above-described text-to-911 trials
and on text-to-911 services offered in these countries. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the
various approaches to text-to-911? What lessons could the United States draw from the international
examples?
47.
Standards. We seek comment on any standards-development activities by industry or
standards-setting bodies that may play a role in the short-term deployment of text-to-911 services based
on SMS or software applications. We also seek comment on whether there are any additional text-to-911
trials or standards efforts that have been conducted thus far or that are contemplated in the near future.
We request that commenters provide the Commission with any relevant data that has been gathered from
these trials and standards-setting efforts, including the number of individuals who sent text messages to
911 during the trials, whether PSAPs could locate those callers, and the effectiveness of texting as a
means of communicating with PSAPs.
3.

Approaches Based on SMS and Existing Infrastructure

48.
In the Notice of Inquiry, the Commission sought comment on a number of issues related
to SMS-to-911. The Notice of Inquiry recognized that SMS is not a synchronous messaging service and
therefore does not provide a means for the sender to know whether and when his or her message has
reached its destination.76 It also noted that because each SMS message is independent of its predecessors
and successors, messages within the same logical conversation may not be routed to the same destination
or in the proper sequence.77 Further, the Notice of Inquiry referenced concerns about whether the
recipient of an SMS message could reliably and accurately determine the sender's geographic location.78
49.
Comments. Wireless providers and some industry standards bodies are generally opposed
to adopting or requiring SMS-to-911 as an interim solution. Many wireless providers argue that SMS is
unreliable and should not be used for emergency communications. AT&T contends that "SMS suffers
from significant limitations that make it both dangerous and infeasible to rely on for emergency
communications," because there is no guarantee of delivery for SMS messages and no acknowledgment
provided to the sender.79 AT&T characterizes SMS as "a best-effort, store-and-forward service [making]
it unreliable and prone to unacceptable delays for purposes of emergency communications."80 T-Mobile
and Verizon similarly argue that SMS lacks important functionalities and reliability that are needed for a
viable emergency communications service.81 Verizon argues that the interests of PSAPs, consumers, and
service providers "would be better served by focusing on incorporating RTT and more advanced


74 See European Emergency Number Association, SMS 112 in Sweden, Feb. 11, 2010, available at
http://www.eena.org/ressource/static/files/SMS_112_Systembeskrivning_EN_pdf20101102.pdf?_mfb=1294735740
46442485803. (Sweden Report) (last visited Sept. 21, 2011).
75 Sweden Report.
76 See Notice of Inquiry at 25 FCC Rcd 17883-84 41.
77 Id.
78 Id. at 42.
79 AT&T Comments at 11-12.
80 AT&T Comments at 12.
81 T-Mobile Reply Comments at 3; Verizon Reply Comments at 5.
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messaging technologies into IP-based platforms and into the wireless industry's deployment of 4G LTE
technology."82 ATIS notes that current SMS standards do not support automated routing to the PSAP or
automated location information, which are critical to emergency communications.83 Further, ATIS argues
that because of "the higher probability of SMS-to-911 message failure, liability protection for SMS-to-
911 services must be far stronger than that currently provided for voice calls."84
50.
Public safety commenters express similar concerns about SMS-to-911. NENA states that
"[t]oday, SMS lacks many of the characteristics needed to support quality emergency communications."85
NENA therefore "does not advocate the use of SMS as a means to access 9-1-1 systems."86 APCO notes
that "there are a number of Quality of Service concerns with the use of SMS to 911."87 Wichita-
Wilbarger states that "SMS messaging is distinctly unsuitable for communications with emergency
services [because] SMS messaging does not allow for real-time communication [which] raises the
possibility of miscommunication with the PSAP."88
51.
However, some 911 technology and software providers support the use of SMS as an
interim solution for emergency communications and contend that there are ways to overcome some of its
technical limitations. TCS states that "based on existing public expectations both from current SMS users
and members of specialized communities, it is generally accepted that the introduction of SMS to 911 is
inevitable."89 TCS also notes that "SMS to 9-1-1 communication can be controlled so that a Dispatcher
receives information that is timely, dependable, and adequate enough to make a professional dispatch
decision."90 Moreover, TCS states that it has "demonstrated in its laboratory and in limited field
experiments that SMS emergency service can be provided reliably and in the near term."91 TSAG
maintains that "under certain emergency settings, SMS messaging represents an important (at times only)
alternative to voice communications [and] public expectations suggest NG911 systems be configured to
accept and manage SMS based emergency communications, notwithstanding the technical and
operational `challenges'."92 Intrado maintains that "SMS is a viable, reliable, interim solution for
situations in which those who are in emergencies are not in a position to place a voice call to 9-1-1."93
The ATIS INES Incubator is considering several interim solutions for text-to-911 and divides these
solutions into two groups, "consumer to PSAP" and "consumer to relay services to PSAP."94 Among the
"consumer to PSAP" solutions that the ATIS INES Incubator is considering are: emergency voice call


82 Verizon Reply Comments at 5.
83 ATIS Comments at 5.
84 Id. at 9.
85 NENA Comments at 14.
86 Id.
87 APCO Comments at 2.
88 Wichita-Wilbarger Comments at 4.
89 TCS Comments at 5.
90 TCS Reply Comments at 3-4.
91 TCS Comments at 6.
92 TSAG Comments at 1.
93 Intrado Comments 13.
94 ATIS Sept. 8, 2011 Ex Parte at 10.
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then SMS, emergency voice then web chat, instant messaging, RTT direct to PSAP, RTT converted to
TTY, TTY emulation, video ASL, and SMS direct to PSAP.95 Among the "consumer to relay services to
PSAP" solutions that the ATIS INES Incubator is considering are: IP relay service, video relay service,
national SMS relay, national RTT relay, and home PSAP relay.96
52.
L.R. Kimball (Kimball) "supports the development of a SMS to 911 solution" and
believes that many of the limitations cited by other parties can be resolved by "[s]electing a different
point of interconnection between the SMS system and 911."97 According to Kimball, such limitations are
the "consequence of the selected point-of-interconnection (POI) between the SMS system and 911,
namely, at the store-and-forward service," however, selecting a different POI "may permit many of these
problems to be resolved and, if implemented properly, should not seriously or significantly impact the
operation of the existing SMS system." Specifically, Kimball argues that "a store-and-forward function
need not exist between the SMS originator and [a] PSAP, provided a suitable POI can be found ahead of
the store-and-forward function."98 Further, according to Kimball, specific elements of the telephone
industry standard Signaling System 7 (SS7) network can provide "an effective and convenient POI for
interconnecting SMS systems with a new 911-specific SMS service" and many mobile telephone switches
allow for the design of "several possible mechanisms that can be used to separate SMS to 911 messages
from normal SMS processing."99 Consequently, Kimball contends that "with SMS to 911 messages
separated from the SMS system, it becomes possible to implement a dedicated SMS to 911 [Signaling
Control Point (SCP)] [that] can address most, or even all, of the technical objections to a SMS to 911
service and can do so without impacting the SMS store-and-forward functions that are in widespread use
today."100 An SMS to 911 SCP can perform functions such as "gateway and protocol conversion
functions from SS7 to NG911, including signaling and media conversion"; "assigning a `session
identifier,' so that successive SMS messages (from the same phone) reach the same dispatcher via the
NG911 network"; "providing acknowledgement or negative delivery text messages back to the originator
of the emergency text message"; and "querying the wireless carrier's position determining system in an
attempt to locate the originator's location."101
53.
Discussion. The record indicates that SMS-to-911 has a number of technical limitations
that affect its ability to support reliable emergency communications. SMS is essentially a store-and-
forward messaging service that is not designed to provide immediate or reliable message delivery; does
not support two-way real-time communication; does not provide the sender's location information; and
does not support the delivery of other media such as photos, video, and data. All of these factors appear
to make SMS inappropriate as a long-term text-to-911 solution and warrant caution in encouraging it as a
short-term solution. At the same time, SMS-to-911 offers certain significant potential benefits as an
interim solution. It can be deployed relatively quickly, consumers have already embraced the technology,


95 Id.
96 Id.
97 L.R. Kimball Comments at 4.
98 Id.
99 Id. at 5. According to L.R. Kimball, "if the mobile switch itself is not able to perform this 911 SMS routing
function, at least one commercial vendor of STP products claims to be able to route SMS to 911 messages
differently than non-911 messages in one of its [Signaling Transport Point of the SS7 network] products," enabling
them "to direct SMS to 911 messages to the SMS to 911 [Signaling Control Point of the SS7 network], while
forwarding non-911 messages through the standard SMS processes." Id. at 5-6.
100 Id. at 5-6.
101 Id. at 6.
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and the vast majority of wireless providers and mobile devices support SMS. Moreover, the trials in other
countries that we described above indicate that SMS can supplement voice-based 911 services. In
addition, some commenters have suggested that it is possible to overcome or mitigate some of the
technical limitations of SMS at a reasonable cost to providers, PSAPs, and consumers.
54.
Balancing these considerations, we believe that PSAPs, providers, and vendors should
have the option to implement SMS-to-911 as a short-term alternative. We seek comment on this view and
on whether the benefits of leveraging SMS-to-911 on an interim basis outweigh the limitations of SMS.
We also encourage SMS-to-911 trials by interested parties to develop improved information about the
strengths and limitations of this approach, and we request that participants in ongoing and future trials
(existing and future) submit their trial data and findings in this proceeding.
55.
We also seek comment on the feasibility of overcoming or mitigating SMS technical
limitations at a reasonable cost to providers, PSAPs, and consumers. Specifically, we seek comment on
Kimball's proposal regarding selecting a different point of interconnection between the SMS system and
911. How technically feasible is this solution, and on what percentage of mobile switching infrastructure
could it work? Kimball notes that "there is no business or regulatory driver to implement a SMS to 911
interconnection [and] implementation and maintenance would be an additional cost to providers and there
is no process in place to recoup those expenditures."102 We seek comment on the costs of implementation
of this proposal, including ongoing maintenance and operation costs. We also seek comment on any
activities by standards-setting bodies that may play a role in the short-term deployment of SMS-based
text-to-911 services. Intrado argues that any text-to-911 "solution should use the digits 9-1-1."103 We
seek comment on whether a national short code for SMS-to-911 should be designated by the
Commission, a standards-setting body, or some other entity. If so, how should this short code be
designated and implemented?
56.
Further, one limitation that most commenters recognized is the inability of SMS to
provide accurate location information for routing or PSAP dispatch purposes. To overcome this
limitation, would it be technologically feasible for the recipient of an emergency SMS, such as the ALI
database provider, to query for the location using the phone number provided, assuming that it can
identify the originating provider? Have such techniques been tested experimentally? If this is feasible,
could such a query work for all SMS messages or would it only be available for certain classes of
messages (e.g., only for messages sent while the user is not roaming or for domestic customers)? Are
there other limitations? If there are such limitations, is there data to quantify the fraction of SMS
messages or users likely to be affected, extrapolating from non-emergency use of SMS? What costs
would be associated with such a solution? How much time would separately checking the ALI database
to determine the location of an individual texting to 911 add to response time?
4.

Approaches Based on Software Applications

57.
As noted above, many consumers are acquiring more advanced mobile devices (e.g., 3G
and 4G handsets) that enable them to install applications on their phones, including applications to send
text messages without using SMS or MMS, sometimes referred to as "over the top." We seek comment
on the feasibility of using general texting or 911-specific applications to support a transitional non-voice
NG911 system that would allow consumers to send text and other non-voice media to PSAPs. Such a
system would consist of two components: (1) one or more databases that describe where text-to-911
capabilities are available and how to reach the appropriate PSAP; and (2) one or more software
applications for smartphone operating systems. Providers and third parties, including but not limited to


102 Id. at 6-7.
103 See Intrado Sept. 12, 2011 Ex Parte at 17.
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systems vendors that currently provide services and equipment to PSAPs, could develop such
applications. The application would obtain location information, including cell tower identity, from
smartphone operating systems and would rely on standard IP connectivity to deliver a message to the
right destination based on a location database. The database would map approximate location data to a
PSAP or ESInet IP address or indicate that text service is not available for that location.
58.
This system architecture has several potential benefits, including the fact that it could be
rolled out in a relatively short period of time and that it would not require any major provider network or
mobile handset upgrades. We seek comment on the costs and timeframe for deploying such a system.
How would such a system be structured to reduce the time to deployment, minimize the effort required by
providers, and maximize the operational reliability of the system? We also seek comment on whether it
would be possible for this system to support other media besides text, including voice, video, images, and
data. Could the system be made compliant to existing and emerging standards? Would PSAPs need to
have access to broadband IP connectivity or should the system allow for translation of text messages (e.g.,
to TTY-based messaging)? Would PSAPs need to install any additional software or hardware? If so,
what specific costs would be associated with such installation? Is it possible for an application to
automatically detect whether a PSAP is capable of receiving only text or also other advanced media types,
such as images? How would an entity or entities be selected to build and maintain the national
database(s) of where text-to-911 applications work and what costs are associated with creating and
maintaining a database? Who should bear those costs? What entities would provide the smartphone
application? Should there be a process whereby applications are certified in some way? If so, what entity
should perform this certification?
59.
Under this system, only users of smartphones would be able to install the applications
that would enable them to send text messages to 911. How, if at all, should the Commission address this
issue? Could the system outlined above be adapted to handle SMS messages after translation to a SIP-
based message format? Are there prototypes or alternatives of application-based NG911 systems that the
Commission should consider as models? Are there any activities by standards-setting bodies that may
play a role in the short-term deployment of text-to-911 services based on software applications?

B.

911 Prioritization in Major Emergencies
60.
A critical feature of public safety is the ability of persons in need of assistance to have
reliable access to emergency services, especially during times of major disasters such as large-scale
natural and man-made disasters. The August 23, 2011 East Coast earthquake and Hurricane Irene
demonstrated that concentrated demands on the capacity of commercial communications networks during
and immediately after emergencies can hinder the ability of consumers to make voice calls. This, in turn,
could jeopardize consumers' ability to contact 911, potentially leaving 911 callers without the assistance
they need.104 We seek comment on how best to address this concern in both legacy networks and the
emerging broadband networks that will support NG911.
61.
One way to enhance consumers' ability to contact 911 in the wake of a disaster is to
prioritize 911 traffic over non-911 traffic.105 Accordingly, we seek comment on whether GSM and


104 See Section III.A.1, para 34, supra.
105 Since initially requiring 911 capabilities for wireless service, the Commission has previously considered but has
not adopted requirements for 911 call prioritization. See generally Service Rules for the 698-746, 747-762 and 777-
792 MHZ Bands, Second Report and Order, WT Docket No. 06-150; CC Docket No. 94-102, WT Docket No. 01-
309, WT Docket No. 03-264, WT Docket No. 06-169; PS Docket No. 06-229; WT Docket No. 96-86; WT Docket
No. 07-166, 22 FCC Rcd 15289, 15442 428 (2007) (stating that a Network Sharing Agreement must "recognize
that emergency 911 calls from commercial users ... play a critical role in safeguarding public safety and should be
accorded some level of priority"); Development of Operational, Technical and Spectrum Requirements for Meeting
(continued....)
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CDMA networks are able to support prioritization of 911 calls. If so, are wireless providers currently
prioritizing 911 calls to their respective radio access networks (both for GSM and CDMA networks)?
What are the costs of incorporating 911 prioritization technology, to the extent it exists, into these
networks? What are the qualitative and quantitative benefits of doing so? Are 911 prioritization
technologies for GSM or CDMA networks used outside of the United States today, and if so, where and
what has been the experience with these technologies, including with respect to their reliability? If not,
can anything be done to improve them to support 911 use? Are there similar concerns about network
congestion inhibiting 911 calls on wireline networks? If so, do providers prioritize wireline 911 calls, or
should they? What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing so? Would prioritizing 911 calls
during and after a major emergency limit the ability of consumers to complete non-911 calls that serve a
socially important purpose, such as calls to confirm the safety or whereabouts of family members?
62.
Another way to improve consumers' ability to reach 911 in the wake of a disaster is to
encourage users to limit their use of the network so that calls to 911 are more likely to go through. Could
legacy service providers take preparatory or preventive measures to mitigate congestion and thereby
increase the likelihood that consumers are able to contact 911 during major disasters? Are there best
practices that providers or others could encourage consumers to follow to mitigate congestion after major
disasters? Would the network protocols and systems used for Wireless Priority Services (WPS) be
suitable for prioritizing 911 calls, and if so, would any adjustments be needed?
63.
As discussed above, after the East Coast earthquake on August 23, 2011, many
consumers were unable to make voice calls, but they could send text messages.106 To what degree would
the deployment of text-to-911 capability improve the ability of consumers to reach 911 during a major
disaster by reducing network congestion? What are the relative costs and benefits of short-term
deployment of this capability through retrofitting of legacy networks versus developing text-to-911, as
well as the priority mechanisms discussed above, as basic components of emerging and future broadband
networks? We seek comment on these issues and ask commenters to address any other significant
considerations with respect to industry standards and practices, including any evolving trends and
industry initiatives addressing the avoidance or mitigation of 911 service disruptions during major
disasters.
64.
We also seek comment on the potential for prioritization of 911 traffic in existing and
future mobile broadband networks. For example, Long Term Evolution (LTE) provides mechanisms for
prioritizing traffic through capabilities such as Allocation Retention Priority (ARP), which assigns fifteen
levels of priority. We seek comment on whether these capabilities and/or other LTE and IMS capabilities
can support prioritization for 911 calls. We seek comment on the technical feasibility, potential benefits,
and costs of doing so. Do wireless providers intend to prioritize 911 calls on LTE or IMS networks? Are
they incorporating this technology into their commercial networks today? What costs are associated with
incorporating such technology into LTE or IMS networks, and what are the qualitative and quantitative
(Continued from previous page)


Federal, State and Local Public Safety Agency Communication Requirements through the Year 2010,
Establishment of Rules and Requirements For Priority Access Service, WT Docket No. 96-86, Second Report and
Order
, 15 FCC Rcd 16720, 16724 8 n.28 (2000) (noting the matter of "integrat[ing] or otherwise reconcil[ing] the
911 system with a priority access system"); Revision of the Commission's Rules to Ensure Compatibility with
Enhanced 911 Emergency Calling Systems, CC Docket No. 94-102, Report and Order and Further Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking,
11 FCC Rcd 18676, 18735-36 117-19 (1996) (E911First Report and Order) (encouraging
the wireless industry and public safety organizations "to continue working to resolve the technical and other issues
associated with 911 call priority, and its relationship to national security and emergency preparedness needs").
106 See e.g., Samantha Murphy, Quake Makes Cellphone Connections Shaky, MSNBC.com (Aug. 23, 2011),
available at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44247128/ns/technology_and_science-wireless/t/quake-makes-
cellphone-connections-shaky/ (last visited Aug. 29, 2011). See also discussion at para. 41 supra.
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benefits of doing so? Would PSAPs need to make any changes to their facilities to ensure appropriate
prioritization of 911 calls delivered over LTE or IMS? If so, what costs would be associated with such
changes? What NG911 standards are being developed for LTE or IMS technologies and networks, if any,
that would reduce the risk of network congestion? Should standards-setting bodies consider additional
standards to address this matter? Should broadband networks be configured to support prioritization of
911 calls? If so, how can that be done cost effectively?
65.
We note that in the Open Internet Order, the Commission specifically stated that nothing
in our Open Internet rules "supersedes any obligation or authorization a provider of broadband Internet
access service may have to address the needs of emergency communications or law enforcement, public
safety, or national security authorities, consistent with or as permitted by applicable law, or limits the
provider's ability to do so."107 We believe that to the extent the 911 prioritization alternatives considered
here would apply to broadband Internet access service providers, they fall within this provision.108 We
seek comment on this view. In addition, in the Open Internet Order, we declined to adopt a requirement
that network managers provide public safety users with advance changes in network management
practices that could affect emergency services, but we "encourage[d] broadband providers to be mindful
of the potential impact on emergency services when implementing network management practices, and to
coordinate major changes with providers of emergency services when appropriate."109 Would the same
approach be appropriate in the context of 911 prioritization?
66.
Are there any other legal issues involved in prioritizing 911 traffic? For example, to the
extent a 911 call is carried by a provider subject to section 202(a), would prioritization of a 911 call be
considered "discrimination," and if so, would it be considered a reasonable form of discrimination?110
What other legal issues, if any, would need to be considered and addressed?
67.
Further, with respect to legacy networks and emerging broadband networks, we seek
comment on how service providers and public safety officials would manage and coordinate prioritization
of 911 traffic in emergency situations. What role should service providers and public safety officials play
in determining the need for and scope of prioritization in mobile wireless networks? Should 911
prioritization be implemented temporarily based on the specific conditions of the emergency, or should it
be implemented on a permanent basis? If prioritization were temporary, who should determine when to
initiate it and when to terminate it?

C.

Facilitating the Long-Term Deployment of NG911 Text and Multimedia
Applications

68.
In deciding what role, if any, the Commission should play in the long-term deployment of
NG911 text and multimedia alternatives, we seek to maximize the benefits to consumers from any action


107 Preserving the Open Internet, GN Docket No. 09-191, Report and Order, 25 FCC Rcd 17905, 17962-64, 107-
110 (adopted Dec. 21, 2010, approved by OMB Sept. 9, 2011, to be codified at 47 C.F.R. Pt. 8) (Open Internet
Order
). We also said that that the safety and security rule should be tailored to avoid the possibility of broadband
providers using their discretion to mask improper practices.
108 With respect to wireless broadband providers, the Open Internet rules do not prohibit prioritization. See id. at
17958-61. For wireless broadband providers, therefore, the prioritization alternatives considered here are consistent
with the Open Internet rules.
109 Id., 110 n.335.
110 47 U.S.C. 202(a) ("It shall be unlawful for any common carrier to make any unjust or unreasonable
discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services for or in connection with like
communication service, directly or indirectly, by any means or device, or to make or give any undue or unreasonable
preference or advantage to any particular person, class of persons, or locality . . . .").
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we would take while taking into consideration the costs of compliance for providers and PSAPs. We
therefore seek comment on the expected benefits of facilitating that deployment, the results of any
ongoing trials and on the activities of standards-setting bodies involving texting services and multimedia
applications (including data, photos, and video), and the relative merits of using various technical
approaches to achieve those benefits. As in our prior evaluation of short-term alternatives, when
evaluating the record with respect to long-term alternatives, we intend to place significantly more weight
on the estimated impacts that are supported by hard data or are otherwise well-documented.
1.

Expected Benefits of Availability of NG911 Text and Multimedia
Applications

69.
Although quantifying the benefits of a long-term deployment of texting and multimedia
applications for emergency communications may be difficult, we need to determine whether such
deployment will significantly benefit consumers. Therefore, as in the case of short-term alternatives, we
seek more information on the benefits of long-term NG911 applications, particularly with respect to
improving 911 accessibility for people with disabilities, meeting consumer expectations, providing
PSAPs with valuable additional information, and increasing reliability and resiliency.
70.
Accessibility of 911. Long-term NG911 applications based on based on SIP and RTT
also have the potential to provide substantially improved accessibility to 911 services for people with
disabilities, as well as to provide an alternative means for non-disabled people to access 911 when voice
access is unavailable or could pose risks to the caller, for example in a silent call scenario. This finding is
supported by EAAC survey data showing that 48.1% of respondents drawn primarily from the disabilities
community would prefer to use text messaging to contact 911.111 Further, as noted in the Notice of
Inquiry
, the ICO Plan found that "[t]he biggest gap between the technologies used for daily
communication and those that can access 9-1-1 services is that for the deaf and people with hearing or
speech impairments."112 In addition, to the extent that long-term alternatives support not only text, but
also video and multimedia applications, they could enhance accessibility for people with disabilities who
rely on media other than text to communicate.
71.
We therefore seek more information on the benefits and associated costs of facilitating
advanced text-to-911 and multimedia services, such as those based on SIP and RTT, to improve the
accessibility of the 911 system. How do these benefits and costs compare to the benefits and costs of the
short-term solutions discussed earlier? To what extent can advanced text and multimedia services assist
individuals with hearing or speech disabilities or those who are deaf-blind? What benefits are created by
the ability of these services to offer real-time connectivity or to enable the caller to send photos, videos, or
data? To what degree will improvements in accessibility associated with text and multimedia services be
limited to people with advanced mobile devices? If so limited, what are the likely consequences for
people with disabilities who may not be able to afford smartphones that provide such capabilities?
72.
Consumer expectations. SIP-based text-to-911 capable of supporting RTT could help
ensure that the 911 system meets consumer expectations regarding the ability to make multimedia
transmissions to PSAPs in a next-generation environment. We therefore seek comment on whether
promoting or requiring delivery of text and multimedia communications accurately reflects current and
evolving consumer expectations and the needs of PSAPs and first responders. We seek information
regarding how many people have attempted to send multimedia applications (including data, photos, or
video) to 911 during emergencies but failed. Have there been instances where the ability to send
multimedia applications to 911 could have made a significant difference in the ability of first responders


111 EAAC Report at 22.
112 ICO Plan at 6-6.
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to assist the caller or the speed of the response? We also seek information that quantifies the impact that
incorrect consumer expectations about the ability to send multimedia applications to 911 may have on the
health and safety of the public.
73.
Improved information for PSAPs. Long-term NG911 alternatives founded on SIP-based
standards will not only support text-to-911, but also will support multimedia sessions that combine voice,
text, photo, and video capability. Such multimedia applications will provide PSAPs and first responders
with valuable additional information to assess the nature and severity of an emergency and determine the
appropriate response. PSAPs and first responders may use such additional information to speed their
response or determine the type of response required (e.g., whether to dispatch police, fire, or EMT units).
For example, as noted above, in a traffic accident, NG911 would not only enable the PSAP to receive the
911 call for help from the caller seeking assistance, but also would enable it to correlate the call with 911
calls from others at or near the scene and combine the information with video from nearby traffic cameras
to assess the impact on traffic and identify the first responders that could reach the scene the fastest. In
addition, if any vehicles in the accident had automatic collision notification systems, the PSAP would
receive additional information regarding the severity of the crash that could help determine the likely
medical needs of accident victims and the appropriate emergency medical response.113 In some cases,
enhanced information could lead to quicker apprehension of criminal suspects or could facilitate
screening of potentially fraudulent or malicious 911 calls. For example, the PSAP could ask a caller to
take a picture or video of the scene of an alleged incident to verify that the caller is indeed close to the
scene.114 In the Technical Background section, we explained that NG911 technologies also include a
number of multimedia applications, which are broader than just person-to-person text and messaging
services.115 Are there any steps the FCC should take now to encourage further development of those
technologies?
74.
We seek comment on the benefits of providing additional information to PSAPs,
particularly if supported by data, for example on the incidence of fraudulent calls, or descriptions of
emergency incidents where multimedia information could have been helpful. We also seek comment on
the benefits of supporting video communications for people with disabilities who have come to rely on
this mode of communication on a daily basis, such as persons who use American Sign Language. Finally,
we seek comment on whether PSAPs are equipped to handle an increased volume of data from
multimedia applications. How will PSAPs process and sort through such information? What additional
resources, if any, will they need to be able to do so?
75.
Improved reliability and resiliency. IP-based messaging services could contribute to
improved reliability and resiliency of emergency response networks because they generally consume less
bandwidth than voice calls and may use different spectrum resources or traffic channels. This may enable
people in disaster areas to send text messages to 911 even if they cannot place a voice call.116 Similarly,
as 911 network technology migrates from circuit-switched to packet-switched networks with improved
technology, PSAPs will have more tools to filter text messages by incident, so that they can spend less


113 See supra sec II.B., para. 23.
114 Recently, there have been a number of incidents of a practice called "swatting," where malicious callers have
falsely reported an armed hostage taking. See, e.g, Shawn Boburg, 'Swatting' a high-tech trend in 911 hoaxes,
Northjersey.com, available at http://www.northjersey.com/news/126473378__Swatting__a_high-
tech_trend_in_911_hoaxes.html (last visited Aug. 12, 2011).
115 See supra sec. II.B., para. 24.
116 See Marguerite Reardon, Why cell phone networks are a weak link in a crisis, Cnet.com, Aug. 2, 2007, available
at
http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-9754096-7.html (last visited Aug. 12, 2011).
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time with multiple callers reporting the same incident. For example, IP-based text and multimedia could
be combined with other technologies such as device-to-device communication (e.g., automatic crash
detection) to process information more efficiently. We seek comment on the impact of IP-based
messaging solutions on PSAP operations and emergency response during large-scale disasters. How do
the benefits and costs compare to the benefits and costs of short-term text-to-911 solutions discussed
earlier?
2.

Standards Development for NG911 Applications

76.
Standards. We also seek comment on ongoing activities of standards-setting bodies
regarding deployment of IP-based text and multimedia emergency services for next generation networks.
In the Notice of Inquiry, the Commission noted that "[w]hile the basic components of identification,
location lookup, and call routing are present in all NG911 proposals, there have been at least three
different proposed approaches for how to implement these elements in specific networks."117 The three
proposals noted by the Commission were the ATIS `Considerations for an Emergency Services Next
Generation Network (ES-NGN)'; the NENA architecture based on Internet Engineering Task Force
(IETF) protocols; `NENA Functional and Interface Standards for Next Generation 9-1-1 Version 1.0 (i3)';
and the 3rd Generation Partnership Project architecture; `IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) Emergency
Sessions.118
77.
NENA has noted that NENA and 3GPP119 requirements must be aligned to make NG911
available.120 We seek comment on whether such alignment is necessary and, if so, how much time is
needed to effectuate an alignment. What benefits would such alignment provide? The 3GPP architecture
is compatible with NENA's i2 architecture.121 While NENA's i2 permits VoIP providers to send 911
voice calls and location information to PSAPs, 3GPP extends the i2 solution to include text and video.
We seek comment on whether aligning 3GPP with NENA's i3 requirements would result in substantive
changes to NENA specifications, 3GPP specifications, or both. What costs, if any, are associated with
aligning NENA and 3GPP requirements? We also seek comment on whether it would be necessary to
align these requirements and specifications with ATIS' proposals. Can protocol gateways be used to
connect i3 systems to, for example, 3GPP IMS systems? What functionality would these gateways need
to support? Do these gateways pose potential scaling or reliability problems? Are there any technical
specifications or requirements needed to further the development of the more advanced devices and
functionalities that are broader than just person-to-person text and messaging services?122


117 Notice of Inquiry, 25 FCC Rcd 17878 n. 54.
118 Id.
119 3GPP, IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) Emergency Sessions, Technical Specification 23.167, version 11.1.0,
March 2011, available at http://www.3gpp.org/ftp/Specs/html-info/23167.htm (last visited Aug. 12, 2011).
120 NENA i3 Solution at 2.5.
121 See NENA Interim VoIP Architecture for Enhanced 9-1-1 Services (i2), Technical Standard 08-001, August
2010, available at http://www.nena.org/sites/default/files/20100811_08-001%20v2.pdf (visited September 1, 2011).
According to the Executive Summary, "Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is poised to become the predominant
technology used in the telecommunications industry. As the public adopts VoIP, E9-1-1 calls will increasingly
originate from VoIP users. Some VoIP telecommunications service provider networks, however, are not natively
compatible with the existing E9-1-1 infrastructure. This document outlines an architecture to connect emergency
callers in the IP domain with Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) supported by the existing E9-1-1 network
infrastructure. This interim step in the migration towards end-to-end IP networks is referred to as i2."
122 See supra sec. II.B., para. 23.
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78.
NENA has also indicated that more recent versions of its NG911 technical
specifications123 and its NG911 transition plan124 will be needed for the 3GPP/NENA alignment.125 As
noted above, 3GPP has published a report on the use of NOVES that provides a general description of
perceived needs.126 In addition, ATIS has created its INES Incubator.127 We seek comment on when
these interim and final specifications for handling NOVES are likely to be published.128 Will there be
alignment issues involving NOVES and INES? Are there additional specifications or requirements
needed to implement long-term NG911 solutions for text and multimedia? Have any additional efforts to
develop NG911 standards been conducted to implement these specifications, requirements, or solutions?
We request that commenters provide the Commission with any relevant data that has been gathered from
these efforts to develop NG911 standards.
3.

Approaches Based On IP-based Messaging or Real-Time Text

79.
As noted above, there are at least three IP-based messaging mechanisms, including SIP-
based pager-mode, MSRP, and XMPP. We also provided a description of RTT, which permits characters
to be sent when typed. Further, we described ATIS' INES Incubator program and other next generation
text-to-911 standards-setting initiatives.
80.
Comments. Wireless providers generally argue that SMS-to-911 should not be part of the
NG911 framework. Instead, providers maintain that industry should be given additional time to develop
standards for IP-based emergency services, such as NOVES. According to T-Mobile "[r]ather than
expend resources trying to make SMS work for 911, stakeholders should instead focus on next-generation
communications services that will provide better 911 access to all consumers."129 CTIA argues that "[a]
new messaging suite will provide functionality similar to and exceeding current messaging services and is
expected to be incorporated into a future release of the LTE standard." 130 According to CTIA, NOVES is
anticipated to be finalized by September 2012 as part of 3GPP Release 11.131 CTIA argues that "industry
and the Commission need to weigh the benefits of proposed interim solutions against the risk of delay to
such long term solutions for which development efforts are entering the advanced stages."132 AT&T
recommends that the Commission "encourage work by industry groups such as NENA, ATIS, and 3GPP
to develop standards for NOVES for next generation networks that include non-SMS text based
messaging options."133 Verizon states that "significant activities are under way to develop a uniform


123 See NENA i3 Solution.
124 NENA, NENA NG9-1-1 Transition Plan Considerations, Joint Information Document 77-501, Feb. 24, 2011,
available at http://www.nena.org/sites/default/files/77-501%20NG9-1-
1%20Transition%20Plan%20Considerations.pdf (last visited Aug. 12, 2011).
125 NENA, "Understanding NENA's i3 Architectural Standard for NG9-1-1," Jun. 14, 2011, available at
http://www.nena.org/sites/default/files/i3%20Explanatory%20Statement_1.pdf (last accessed Aug. 8, 2011).
126 See 3GPP NOVES Study.
127 See ATIS INES Incubator.
128 By "final" specifications, we refer to specifications that are sufficiently complete and stable to permit
implementation by service providers and PSAPs.
129 T-Mobile Reply Comments at 6.
130 CTIA Comments at 5.
131 Id.
132 Id.
133 AT&T Comments at 11.
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approach for the delivery of...NOVES...including the use of messaging for emergency services. RTT,
which will be feasible for NG911 networks and consumer equipment, is still undergoing assessment but
has been standardized by 3GPP as the optimal replacement for legacy TTY/TDD devices in 4G wireless
communications networks [and] the Commission should support and monitor these efforts, and not be
distracted by less effective interim measures."134
81.
CSRIC 4B notes that "a long term solution may be provided by...NOVES...a new
service for which requirements are being developed in the NENA Next Generation Messaging Group and
in the 3GPP SA1 group."135 According to CSRIC 4B, "The NENA Next Generation Messaging Working
Group is currently developing use cases and requirements for NOVES, and those requirements are
expected to be aligned with those in the ATIS Wireless Technology and Systems Committee (WTSC) and
3GPP SA1, which will be, at some future point, standardizing NOVES.136 Further, according to CSRIC,
"When 3GPP SA1 completes the requirements for NOVES, other 3GPP groups will determine whether
network architecture changes are needed and whether any new protocols (or changes to existing
protocols) are needed to support NOVES."137 CSRIC 4B estimates that work on NOVES industry
standards may be completed by March 2012.138
82.
Public safety commenters also have concerns about SMS-to-911 and generally support
RTT as a text-to-911 solution. APCO notes that "there are a number of Quality of Service concerns with
the use of SMS to 911" and that "RTT has the potential benefit of allowing hearing-impaired or speech-
impaired individuals to communicate directly, in real time, with an NG911 capable PSAP, rather than
having to be routed through an intermediary service."139 NENA states that "[d]ue to its more
conversational flow, Real-Time Text...is a preferred method of communication for many text users, and
particularly for individuals with disabilities."140 NENA also notes that "standards-compliant RTT should
be supported in all NG9-1-1 deployments."141
83.
Discussion. We seek comment on the timeframe in which standards are likely to be
completed for RTT or other IP-based messaging solutions, and how much additional time will be required
for providers to implement these solutions in their networks. What are the advantages and disadvantages
of RTT and other IP-based messaging solutions, and which solutions show the most potential for allowing
individuals to communicate with 911? Should the Commission play a more active role in monitoring or
facilitating the standards-setting process, or should it not act until next generation non-voice emergency
messaging standards are closer to being finalized? Should the Commission coordinate a voluntary
industry-wide timetable or establish a mandatory timetable for standardization, implementation, and roll-
out to facilitate planning by manufacturers, software vendors, and PSAPs?
4.

Approaches Based On Software Applications

84.
In our discussion of short-term alternatives, we sought comment on developing "over the


134 Verizon and Verizon Wireless Reply Comments at 5.
135 CSRIC 4B Report at 9.
136 Id. at 110.
137 Id.
138 Id.
139 APCO Comments at 4.
140 NENA Comments at 8.
141 Id.
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top" software applications that would enable consumers to send text messages and other non-voice media
to PSAPs using IP networks. 142 We specifically sought comment on the feasibility of developing a non-
voice NG911 system in the short term that would consist of two components: (1) a database or databases
that would identify where text-to-911 capabilities are available and how to reach the appropriate PSAP
and/or text answering center; and (2) one or more software applications for smartphone operating
systems. We noted that this system could be rolled out quickly and would not require any major provider
network or mobile handset upgrades.
85.
We seek comment on whether "over the top" software applications such as the one
described above have long-term as well as short-term potential to support delivery of text and other media
to 911. Are there additional software-based applications that we should consider as long-term options
even if they are not viable in the short term? We seek comment on the costs and timeframes for
deploying such applications. Could we use software-based applications to reduce the time to deployment,
minimize the effort required by and costs for providers, and maximize the operational reliability of
NG911?
86.
We also seek comment on the potential for long-term software applications to support
voice, text, video, and images, both separately and in combination. Could such applications be made
compliant to existing and emerging standards? What level of broadband IP connectivity would PSAPs
need to support multimedia applications, particularly bandwidth-intensive applications such as video?
Would PSAPs need to install any additional software or hardware? If so, how much would such
additional software or hardware cost? Would applications be capable of automatically detecting the
capability of individual PSAPs to receive particular media? To what degree would PSAPs using
software-based applications require access to regional or national databases? Who would build and
maintain such databases? How much would such databases cost and who would bear that cost? What
entities would provide the smartphone applications? Should such applications be certified, and if so, who
should perform the certification?

D.

The Commission's Role in Expediting Deployment of Text-to-911 and Other NG911
Applications

87.
In this section, we seek comment on the role the Commission should play to expedite the
development and widespread deployment of the short-term text-to-911 and long-term text and multimedia
solutions discussed above.
1.

Incentive-Based vs. Regulatory Approaches

88.
In response to the Notice of Inquiry, wireless providers generally argue that the
Commission should not adopt any text-related requirements at this time. Instead, providers maintain that
the Commission should wait until standards, such as IMS and NOVES, are more fully adopted. For
example, AT&T states "the Commission should not specify which technologies should be used in the
NG911 environment, but should allow standards to define these technologies."143 Sprint Nextel
highlights that it "supports efforts to deploy an NG911 service that will include both voice and text
capabilities" but that "there are many technical considerations that must be resolved...through standards-
setting organizations before NG911 implementation can move forward."144 On the other hand, NENA
argues that "waiting until all or most PSAPs have NG9-1-1 capabilities and all access network providers
support NG9-1-1 standards and then simultaneously enabling text support is an untenable model.


142 See supra secs. III.A., paras. 57-59.
143 AT&T Comments at 6.
144 Sprint Nextel Comments at 9.
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Consumers expect to access 9-1-1 by text now, not many years from now...It would be best, in our
opinion, for text to be enabled soon, nationwide, over a short deployment period. We believe that can be
accomplished."145
89.
We seek comment on whether there are any incentive-based approaches that the
Commission could or should adopt to encourage the rapid development of text-to-911 solutions. Should
the Commission develop best practices for deploying text-to-911 and other multimedia applications, for
example through CSRIC? Alternatively, should the Commission adopt deadlines, timetables, or uniform
network interface standard requirements? Do providers have an incentive to rapidly develop NG911
solutions if the Commission does not impose such measures? If so, what are those incentives? Are there
any actions that the Commission could take to act as a catalyst or facilitator for early operational
prototypes? Should the Commission defer additional regulatory action until standards are more
universally adopted? If so, what specific set of standards would have to be completed to trigger such
action? What degree of flexibility should the Commission afford to providers in their efforts to deploy
NG911 solutions? Which mobile devices and networks should be subject to requirements? For example,
should requirements apply only to devices capable of accessing the Internet or sold after a specific date
established by the Commission?
2.

PSAP-Based Triggers for Providers to Provide NG911 Solutions for Non-
Voice Emergency Messaging to 911

90.
In the NG911 environment, PSAPs will need certain equipment and operational
procedures in place to receive text and other media types from wireless providers.146 In response to the
Notice of Inquiry, many commenters argued that the Commission should not require wireless providers to
make investments in their networks to provide NG911 solutions until PSAPs are able to receive text and
other media.147 We seek comment on the degree to which PSAP readiness should be factored into
Commission action relating to NG911 implementation. What are the advantages and disadvantages of
waiting until PSAPs can receive text and other media?
91.
The Commission's existing E911 rules require CMRS providers to make Phase I and
Phase II service available "only if the administrator of the designated Public Safety Answering Point has
requested the services required...and is capable of receiving and utilizing the data elements associated
with the service."148 We seek comment on whether a similar process would be appropriate in the NG911
context, such that PSAPs would have to request delivery of text or other media to 911 and demonstrate
the capability to receive such traffic. If so, what specific showing should a PSAP be required to make to
establish its ability to receive text and other media types? For example, NENA states that "[a] transition


145 NENA Reply Comments at 6.
146 See T-Mobile Comments at 4; see also Verizon and Verizon Wireless Reply Comments at 12 ("NG911
deployment will be dependent on the capabilities and resources of local or regional PSAPs. Requiring that NG911
support all of the various media formats and consumer devices described in the NOI will only impose costs on
consumers and service providers, with no countervailing benefits, if PSAPs cannot handle the underlying data or
message.").
147 See Sprint Nextel Comments at 6-7 (submitting that PSAPs "are currently in the process of developing their
networks and transition strategies prior to standards being available" and that "carriers may be faced with expending
time and financial resources on transition enhancements that are not part of the final NG911 plan"); T-Mobile
Comments at 2 (asserting that "the Commission should not mandate that carriers make infrastructure or reporting
changes unless and until PSAPs are ready to integrate and use such upgrades and information"); Verizon and
Verizon Wireless Reply Comments at 12.
148 47 C.F.R. 20.18(j).
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to NG9-1-1 starts when an ESInet is deployed and one PSAP is ready to utilize NG9-1-1."149 Should
ESINet deployment be a required element of the PSAP showing? Should the PSAP demonstrate that it
supports IP-based message routing (e.g., by advertising its geographic coverage region via a national,
state-wide or regional LoST server?150
a.

State or Regional Approaches

92.
With over 6,800 PSAPs in the United States, spanning a wide range of sizes and
resources, individual PSAPs are likely to have highly varying timetables for developing the technical and
operational capability to handle text as well as other media. Therefore, while there is significant benefit
to having providers provide text-to-911 to individual PSAPs that are capable of receiving it,
implementing this approach at the individual PSAP level could impose inefficiencies and burdensome
costs on providers. Our experience with deployment of E911 on a PSAP-by-PSAP basis is instructive in
this regard, as it resulted in providers frequently implementing E911 capability in areas where PSAPs
were not yet E911-capable. For this reason, we seek comment on whether we should assess PSAP
NG911 readiness at the state or regional level rather than the individual PSAP level. What are the
advantages and disadvantages of such an approach?
93.
We envision that state and regional entities will play a significant role in the deployment
of NG911. The ICO Plan states that a successful transition will depend on a high level of coordination,
cooperation, and planning among the state, regional, and local 911 authorities.151 NENA notes that "state
and local public safety agencies and 9-1-1 authorities must begin to take a hard look at the cost savings
that could be realized through regionalization of non-PSAP NG911 components such as ESInets."152
NENA also highlights that "each state will need to coordinate the deployment of ESInets statewide" and
"explicitly include appropriate tools and mechanisms to ensure that future upgrades can be deployed
state-wide in a small number of years."153 NENA envisions that state transition plans would "provide for
seamless interoperability between legacy networks and NG9-1-1 networks."154
94.
Sprint Nextel contends that "[c]oordinated implementation...will be even more essential
to NG911 deployment, since the NG911 system will be based on a system of [ESInets] deployed at the
local state level."155 T-Mobile argues that "the Commission should ensure that there is at least a
substantial level of regional coordination with respect to the conversion to, and implementation of,


149 NENA Comments at 25.
150 LoST (Location-to-Service Translation) protocol is used for an end system, such as an IP-enabled phone, to
contact a local directory server. The server maps the caller's civic or geospatial coordinates and the emergency
service identifier to the SIP URL of a PSAP or emergency services routing proxy (ESRP), using an internal database
that contains the service regions of each ESRP or PSAP. The database may be derived from a geographic
information system (GIS). The call is routed to the ESRP thus identified, which may in turn use the location
information, again using LoST, to find another proxy closer to the PSAP serving the caller's location. This process
repeats until the caller signaling request reaches the correct PSAP. LoST also provides the end system with
information on the emergency services and dial strings, such as 911, available at its current location. See T. Hardie
et al., Internet Engineering Task Force, LoST: A Location-to-Service Translation Protocol, RFC 5222 (Aug. 2008)
(describing the LoST protocol). See Notice of Inquiry, 25 FCC Rcd at17878 n.51.
151 ICO Plan at Section 3-1.
152 NENA Comments at 27.
153 Id. at 24.
154 Id. at 24-25.
155 Sprint Nextel Comments at 7.
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NG911 systems." Absent such coordination, T-Mobile contends, interoperability benefits will be lost,
and NG911 implementation costs for providers may be substantially higher if providers have to
simultaneously support legacy 911 systems and upgraded NG911 systems in the same region.156
95.
We seek comment on steps the Commission could take to facilitate such a coordinated
approach. Specifically, we seek comment on whether the Commission should require PSAPs to
demonstrate a specified level of technical NG911 capability at the statewide or regional level as a
precondition to providers being subject to any Commission requirement to deliver text or other media to
PSAPs in the state or region. What are the advantages and disadvantages of such an approach? For
example, should the Commission refrain from requiring wireless providers to support delivery of text or
other media to 911 in a given state or region until the state or region meets certain conditions, such as the
deployment of an ESInet? If we adopted a state or regional approach and the deployment of an ESInet
served as the trigger, what would happen if not all PSAPs in the state or region were upgraded to link to
the ESInet? Should the state or region be required to meet other technical conditions?
96.
We also seek comment on any legal or regulatory barriers that may exist at the state or
local level that could hinder the deployment of NG911. A number of commenters contend that outdated
state regulations have hampered the deployment of NG911 networks. For example, NENA asserts that
"[m]any existing laws, regulations and tariffs make specific reference to older technologies or system
capabilities which may inadvertently inhibit the migration to NG9-1-1."157 According to NENA,
examples include:

Provisions that require specific technology components for E911 service delivery that are not
necessarily the same for NG911.

Regulations that "assume the existence of legacy components," such as the selective router,
which may impede the transition to "NG9-1-1 deployments."158 For example, NENA refers to
current Commission rules requiring "the delivery of wireless and voice over IP (VoIP) 9-1-1
`calls' over the `wireline E9-1-1 network.'"159

State regulations, laws, or tariffs that currently do not allow 911 authorities or new 911 SSPs to
receive relevant routing, location, and other related 911 information in the possession of the
incumbent SSPs at reasonable rates and terms.

Existing 911 service arrangements and tariffs that inhibit new entrants from making similar
competitive services available on a component-by-component basis, where technically and
operationally feasible.160

In some states, liability protection for 911 service providers may be provided only through the
tariff of a Local Exchange Carrier (LEC) rather than via statute. In such cases, if a LEC
withdraws its tariff or NG911 services fall outside the scope of the tariff, providers of NG911


156 T-Mobile Comments at 6.
157 Id. at 28.
158 Id. at 24.
159 See NENA NG9-1-1 Transition Handbook, at 11 (asserting that it could be argued the Commission's definition
of "wireline E9-1-1 network" does not "clearly include the routing of 9-1-1 calls via an IP-based NG9-1-1 system.").
See, e.g., 47 C.F.R. 9.5.
160 See NENA NG9-1-1 Transition Handbook, at 12; see also NENA Reply Comments at 13-14 (concerning
"[r]equirements that states are imposing for the regulatory status of 9-1-1 service providers.").
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services, and possibly PSAPs as well, will not receive liability protection.161
97.
States are also concerned about outdated regulations that may hinder the deployment of
NG911 networks. The Public Safety Communications Office (PSCO) of the California Technology
Agency notes that it is "currently exploring state and local barriers and will seek to remove them" and
"recommend[s] that the FCC do the same at the federal level."162 The Texas 9-1-1 Agencies request that
the Commission address interconnection disputes and the registration and certification of NG911 SSPs.163
The Ohio PUC supports "a dual state-federal regulatory framework for NG911 in which the FCC
establishes broad, national objectives, standards and benchmarks, but leaves coordinating the
implementation and transition to the states."164
98.
Providers and 911 SSPs are similarly concerned about regulatory obstacles that may
hinder NG911 development. Dash asserts that "requirements for CLECs to purchase 9-1-1 or CAMA
trunks any time the CLEC seeks to deploy interconnection facilities.... imposes burdens on the PSAPs
because [PSAPs] have to conduct interoperability testing on each trunk and otherwise be prepared to
receive 9-1-1 calls from those trunks regardless of whether the CLEC is actually using them."165 In
Dash's view, "this discriminatory behavior" results in CLECs being "bound to the ILEC's outdated
model."166 Dash argues that "CLECs, VoIP providers and other competitive service providers should be
permitted to use...new 9-1-1 solutions and not be required to purchase services that they would not absent
regulatory or monopoly mandates."167 AT&T contends that "[s]tate laws and regulations governing the
types of devices and `calls' allowed to access the NG911 network will also require modifications" in the
following areas: (1) determining "the eligible use of NG911 funds"; (2) ensuring that requirements do not
mandate "technology components for E911 service delivery that are incompatible with NG911 service";
and (3) ensuring that laws and regulations are "functional, standards-based, and performance-based
without reference to any specific proprietary technology, manufacturer, or service provider." 168 Further,
L.R. Kimball maintains that "[r]evisions to or the elimination of older laws and tariffs would be necessary
in order to require interconnections."169 Moreover, L.R. Kimball argues for "overhaul" of "the 911
regulatory environments at both the federal and state level ... to promote competition."170 L.R. Kimball
also observes that "[t]here are currently no regulations in place to drive carriers to implement a SMS to


161 See NENA NG9-1-1 Transition Handbook, at 21-22.
162 PSCO California Technology Agency Comments at 16.
163 See Texas 9-1-1 Agencies Comments at 2 & nn. 2, 4 (referring to the necessity of interim steps and recent "time-
consuming state and federal arbitration and court proceedings involving Intrado, AT&T, Verizon, and others on the
potential use of IP selective routers") See id. at n. 4 (citing Commission and federal court proceedings); see also id.
at 17.
164 Ohio PUC Comments at 13.
165 Dash Comments at 5-6.
166 Id. at 6.
167 Id.; see also Level 3 Comments at 3 & n.1 (similarly addressing the negative impact of "non-public `commercial'
agreements" and "unilateral tariffs," e.g, regarding interconnection issues).
168 AT&T Comments at 10.
169 L.R. Kimball Comments at 19-20 (also arguing for the need to incentivize "negotiations between incumbent 911
SSPs and competitive 911 SSPs").
170 Id.
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911 interconnection."171
99.
In light of these concerns, we seek comment on whether as a precondition to Commission
action, states should be required to demonstrate that they have adopted appropriate or removed outmoded
legal or regulatory measures to facilitate NG911 deployment, such as deregulation of legacy 911
interconnection arrangements and enactment of liability protection for NG911 providers and service
providers. Would this approach incentivize states to eliminate outdated laws and regulations? Are there
other steps that we should take to encourage the elimination or mitigation of state and local regulatory
barriers to NG911?
100.
We also seek comment on what statutory or regulatory changes, if any, would be
necessary for the Commission, other federal agencies, states, tribes, or localities to facilitate and oversee
the deployment of NG911 networks. Are there specific FCC regulations that the Commission should
eliminate or modify to facilitate the deployment of NG911 networks? What specific actions can the
Commission take that would incentivize states and localities to eliminate outdated regulations that hinder
the deployment of NG911 networks?
b.

Advanced Regional 911 Centers

101.
AT&T contends that consumer confusion occurred during previous deployment of basic
911 and E911 service and is equally likely with respect to the deployment of NG911. AT&T describes
the launch of basic 911 service as having been "accompanied with significant consumer confusion
regarding whether or not there was access to a particular service in a particular area."172 AT&T also
contends that widespread publicity concerning the Black Hawk County, Iowa, text-to-911 trial caused
confusion elsewhere in the country regarding the availability of text-to-911.173 AT&T warns that if "the
Commission fails to establish clear direction for a standardized design for non-voice emergency
communications, the result will be a patchwork implementation of non-voice emergency capabilities and
additional consumer confusion."174
102.
NENA has noted the need for additional technical requirements to address this issue,
stating that "while all [NG911] PSAPs must handle all media, a legacy PSAP behind [an ESInet-to-legacy
PSAP gateway] would only handle voice media and TTY. There is no mechanism by which a caller could
discover what media the PSAP supports. This will be covered in a future edition of [the NENA i3
Solution
]."175 We invite comment on the amount of time that will be required for the issuance of such
requirements, as well as their adequacy for avoiding caller confusion.
103.
AT&T states that use of the aforementioned "gateways to interwork [ESInets] with
legacy PSAPs will only further complicate implementation of NG911."176 Instead, AT&T proposes
building "regional entities to handle non-voice emergency services media types when the local PSAP
cannot." 177 The regional centers would "support NG911 capabilities so that every PSAP need not be


171 Id. at 7.
172 AT&T Comments at 27.
173 Id. at 15-16.
174 Id. at 15.
175 NENA i3 Solution at Sections 2.5 and 5.6.1 (same quote in both sections).
176 AT&T Comments at 29.
177 Id. at 29.
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updated before certain advanced services can be supported." 178 According to AT&T, "[n]ot only will this
[approach] ensure interoperability, but it will also limit the capital outlay required to deliver NG911
services, thereby accelerating deployment." 179 We seek comment on AT&T's proposal. In particular, we
seek comment on the costs and practicability of AT&T's proposed regional PSAP approach relative to the
upgrading of individual PSAPs. Would the AT&T approach reduce the amount of capital outlay required
as compared to upgrading individual PSAPs? Would it enable more rapid deployment of NG911? How
long would it take to implement AT&T's approach? Are there benefits to co-locating a regional center
with a PSAP that is already being upgraded to NG911? Are there benefits to co-locating a regional center
with another location that already supports some NG911capabilities, such as a TRS or VRS center? We
also seek comment on the specific protocol interfaces and functionality that should be in place at the
advanced 911 centers before providers are required to provide text and other media types to these call
centers. AT&T also states that the Commission should limit "advanced functionality in NG911 systems
until a baseline network" of the regional centers exists.180 Should the Commission go so far as to limit
advanced functionality in such circumstances or in any other circumstances?

E.

Consumer Education and Disclosure Mechanisms

104.
The Notice of Inquiry sought comment on how to educate and prepare consumers for
disparate PSAP capabilities in an NG911 environment.181 Commenters generally agreed that NG911
applications such as text-to-911 will not be deployed uniformly and that a nationwide education effort
will therefore be needed during the transition.182 Motorola warns that while "the transition to NG911 is
underway, misinformation and confusion about the deployment details are likely to spread" and maintains
that an ongoing "comprehensive and multifaceted public education effort" that is "keyed to the actual
deployment of new services" will be key to helping civilians understand the capabilities and limitations of
the NG911 system."183 NENA urges that "left unchecked, this confusion could lead consumers to waste
time texting 9-1-1 or leave unused other means of communications at their disposal, wasting precious
seconds in an emergency."184
1.

Expected Benefits

105.
Even using the most optimistic assumptions about the deployment of NG911,
consumers are unlikely to have access to text or other NG911 applications everywhere in the United
States at the same time. Access to these applications will vary depending on the consumer's location, and
even in areas where NG911 is deployed, specific applications may vary locally or regionally depending
on the PSAP's policies for accepting text or multimedia messages. In addition, technical factors such as
variations in the capabilities of different caller handsets may lead to non-uniform access. At the same
time, as NG911 deployment occurs in certain communities or regions, consumers elsewhere are likely to
learn through the media, social networking, and other sources that text, photos, and video to 911 are
available in some places, which may lead consumers to be uncertain or confused about availability of
these capabilities in the consumer's own community.


178 Id.
179 Id.
180 AT&T Comments at 29.
181 See Notice of Inquiry, 25 FCC Rcd at 17894 78.
182 T-Mobile Comments at 7; AT&T Comments at 30, 33; Motorola Solutions Comments at 14.
183 Motorola Solutions Comments at 14.
184 NENA Comments at 15.
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106.
Given the significant risk of consumer uncertainty and confusion, there are clear benefits
to be gained from providing the public with accurate and up-to-date information about the availability or
non-availability of NG911 applications in their home communities and in other locations where they may
travel. For example, if the public is not adequately informed about the availability or non-availability of
text-to-911 in specific areas, consumers could put themselves at risk by attempting to send text messages
to the local PSAP and being unaware that the text has not been received. In deciding how the
Commission can most effectively minimize consumer confusion throughout the transition to NG911, we
seek to maximize the benefits to consumers from any action we would take while taking into
consideration the burden of compliance to providers. We therefore seek comment on the expected
benefits and costs of implementing various approaches to consumer education and implementing
disclosure mechanisms. We also ask whether there are any contractual issues that might deter consumers
from texting or sending photos or video to 911. How many subscribers would face additional charges for
sending texts, photos, or video to PSAPs from their mobile devices? Could such additional charges in
some cases deter them from doing so? If so, should providers, the Commission, or others develop
practices to address this situation?
2.

Approaches for Education and Disclosure

107.
Commenters agree that there is a significant need for a nationwide education effort while
text-to-911 is being rolled out.185 We seek comment on the types of educational programs that should be
created to abate and prevent consumer confusion as text-to-911 services are deployed in the short term.
Are there lessons that we can draw from educational efforts that were conducted during the deployment of
basic 911 or E911 service? Have other countries developed text-to-911 education programs? Can current
911 educational programs be adapted to help individuals understand text-to-911?186 Should educational
programs differ depending upon the group that is being targeted, such as the disabilities community or
non-English speakers? How should educational programs evolve as text-to-911 services become more
prevalent? Would any of the educational approaches that the FCC used in the past, such as the campaign
to inform purchasers of wireless microphones of the need to clear the 700 MHz band for public safety
purposes, be useful here?187
108.
We also seek comment on the appropriate role for the Commission and for other
government and private sector entities in any public education effort. Motorola notes that "[e]ntities at
the local, state, and federal levels all need to be thinking about how to disseminate accurate information to
the public" and suggests that "beyond formal education efforts, providers of next generation
communications services need to clearly communicate to their users any limitations with respect" to 911
service access.188 Qualcomm suggests that federal agencies, including the FCC and DHS, in conjunction
with state and local governments, take responsibility for consumer education.189 The State of California


185 T-Mobile Comments at 7; AT&T Comments at 30, 33; Motorola Solutions Comments at 14.
186 See, e.g., current educational websites, available at http://www.know911.org (a joint effort of the National 9-1-1
Education Coalition to promote 911 education and awareness); http://www.know911.org/message-guidelines/
("Know Your Cell Well"); http://www.nena.org/education/911-education-resources;
http://www.nena.org/sites/default/files/Making_911_All_Parts.pdf at 3 ("Things Teens Need to Know - 911 is not as
cool as you are."); http://www.il911info.org/challenge/work.pdf (including the NENA education page addressing
teens) (all sites last visited Aug. 16, 2011).
187 Revisions to Rules Authorizing the Operation of Low Power Auxiliary Stations in the 698-806 MHz Band, WT
Docket No. 08-166, WT Docket No. 08-167, ET Docket No. 10-24, Report and Order and Further Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking, 25 FCC Rcd 643 (2010).
188 Motorola Solutions Comments at 14.
189 Qualcomm Comments at 10-11.
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suggests that the Commission should take a role in education akin to its role in the digital television
transition by creating a national public information campaign.190 More specifically, NENA suggests "the
FCC should collaborate with industry and media partners and public safety to educate consumers about
the current and ongoing limitations of SMS for emergency communications."191 TSAG, however,
comments that education "begins with a nationally recognized institution, driving a baseline national
program...supportive of state and local efforts" but leadership "should reside in states and [be] delivered
through regional and local NG911 organizations and institutions."192 Wichita-Wilbarger believes the
Commission should not "require states to specifically designate an organization to be responsible for the
statewide organizing, planning or implementing of NG9-1-1."193 We seek further comment on what
entities should be involved in educational programs. What role should the Commission play? What role
can other federal agencies, state and local entities, and those in the public and private sectors play?
Where would the Commission or other federal agencies obtain funding for consumer education efforts?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of various approaches to consumer education? How can the
Commission and other federal agencies support local agencies and the media as they work to educate their
communities? What are the best methods of educating consumers about the availability or non-
availability of NG911 applications in their communities? Should we require providers to disclose
limitations on the availability of NG911 applications? If so, should we require such notice at the physical
point-of-sale, online, in bill inserts, or elsewhere? Could providers leverage existing marketing and
billing practices to provide notice to consumers on a cost-effective basis?
109.
Aside from educational programs, could other resources be developed to help individuals
learn about where text-to-911 services are and are not available? For instance, what is the feasibility of
developing a consumer-focused map or website showing such availability, possibly building on the PSAP
database that the Commission maintains or on other sources? Could local availability information be
built into text-to-911 applications themselves, so that the application would automatically indicate
whether text-to-911 is available at the caller's current location? What would the cost be of developing
such resources initially and of updating them as the availability of text-to-911 expands to new areas?
Could information be provided in bills sent to consumers and instructional materials included with new
mobile devices to increase awareness?194
110.
Finally, despite educational programs and resources, some individuals will likely attempt
to send text messages to 911 in locations where text-to-911 is not supported. AT&T notes that "there is a
chance that a failed non-voice emergency call could result in no immediate feedback."195 This could put
consumers at risk if they were unaware that an emergency text did not go through or were uninformed
about alternative means of reaching the PSAP. To mitigate such risk, we believe that in situations where
a consumer attempts to text 911 in a location where text-to-911 is not available, the consumer should
receive an automatic error message or similar disclosure that includes information on how to contact the
PSAP (e.g., a message directing the consumer to dial a 911 voice call). We seek comment on this
approach, including what methods are necessary to ensure that such disclosure is accessible to people
with different types of disabilities. What currently happens when consumers attempt to send SMS or


190 PSCO California Technology Agency Comments at 17.
191 NENA Comments at 15.
192 TSAG Comments at 4.
193 Wichita-Wilbarger 9-1-1 District Comments at 7.
194 Many instructional booklets for mobile devices already describe the use of 911 on mobile devices, as well as, for
example, limitations on the ability to locate such devices during an emergency call.
195 AT&T Comments at 27.
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other text-based messages to 911? Do wireless providers send an error message in response? If so, what
information does the error message convey? Is it technically feasible for all providers to provide such
error messages to consumers? What would the cost be to implement this capability across all providers
and regions? Should error messages contain certain standardized information? What role, if any, should
the Commission play in developing best practices, model responses, or requirements for the provision of
standardized error messages?

F.

Overlap with CVAA and EAAC

111.
In October 2010, Congress enacted the CVAA, which amends the Communications Act
and imposes a variety of new obligations on service providers, equipment manufacturers, and the
Commission that relate to providing access to communications services for people with disabilities.196
Section 106 of the CVAA requires the Commission to take certain steps "[f]or the purpose of achieving
equal access to emergency services by individuals with disabilities, as a part of the migration to a national
Internet protocol-enabled emergency network."197 Specifically, Section 106 requires the Chairman,
within 60 days after enactment of the Act, to establish the EAAC.198 Within one year of its establishment,
the EAAC must: (1) conduct a national survey of individuals with disabilities to determine the most
effective and efficient technologies and methods by which to enable emergency access; and (2) submit to
the Commission recommendations to implement such technologies and methods.199 Section 106 grants
the Commission "the authority to promulgate regulations to implement the recommendations proposed by
the Advisory Committee, as well as any other regulations, technical standards, protocols, and procedures
as are necessary to achieve reliable, interoperable communication that ensures access by individuals with
disabilities to an Internet protocol-enabled emergency network, where achievable and technically
feasible."200
112.
As required by the CVAA, the Chairman established the EAAC in December 2010, 60
days after enactment of the statute.201 The EAAC is composed of state and local government
representatives responsible for emergency management and emergency responder representatives,
national organizations representing people with disabilities and senior citizens, communications
equipment manufacturers, service providers, federal agency representatives responsible for
implementation of the NG911 system, and subject matter experts.202 Section 106(c) of the CVAA
specifically requires the EAAC to provide recommendations to the Commission:
(1) with respect to what actions are necessary as a part of the migration to a national Internet
protocol-enabled network to achieve reliable, interoperable communication transmitted over such
network that will ensure access to emergency services by individuals with disabilities;
(2) for protocols, technical capabilities, and technical requirements to ensure reliability and
interoperability necessary to ensure access to emergency services by people with disabilities;
(3) for the establishment of technical standards for use by public safety answering points,


196 CVAA, see supra note 4.
197 47 U.S.C. 615c.
198 Id. 615c(a).
199 Id. 615c(c).
200 Id. 615c(g).
201 See EAAC Members Announcement PN.
202 Id.
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designated default answering points, and local emergency authorities;
(4) for relevant technical standards and requirements for communication devices and equipment
and technologies to enable the use of reliable emergency access;
(5) for procedures to be followed by IP-enabled network providers to ensure that such providers
do not install features, functions, or capabilities that would conflict with technical standards;
(6) for deadlines by which providers of interconnected and non-interconnected VoIP services and
manufacturers of equipment used for such services shall achieve the actions required in
paragraphs (1) through (5), where achievable, and for the possible phase out of the use of current-
generation TTY technology to the extent that this technology is replaced with more effective and
efficient technologies and methods to enable access to emergency services by individuals with
disabilities; and
(7) for the establishment of rules to update the Commission's rules with respect to 9-1-1 services
and E-911 services (as defined in section 158(e)(4) of the National Telecommunications and
Information Administration Organization Act (47 U.S.C. 942(e)(4))), for users of
telecommunications relay services as new technologies and methods for providing such relay
services are adopted by providers of such relay services;
(8) that take into account what is technically and economically feasible.203
Since its establishment, the EAAC has met on a monthly basis and has conducted the required survey of
people with disabilities, which was released in July 2011.204 In December 2011, one year after its
establishment, the EAAC will submit its recommendations to the Commission on the NG911 accessibility
issues set forth above. The CVAA then empowers the Commission to implement the EAAC's
recommendations by regulation, to the extent such recommendations are achievable and technically and
economically feasible.205
113.
There is considerable overlap between the NG911 text and multimedia capabilities
discussed in this Notice and the NG911 accessibility issues being considered by the EAAC in its
implementation of the CVAA. As we have observed in our discussion of potential benefits earlier in this
Notice, adding text and multimedia applications to the 911 system can provide significant benefits to both
people with disabilities and non-disabled people. Moreover, we believe it is important to encourage to the
fullest extent possible the development of common text-to-911 and multimedia-to-911 solutions that
serve both the broad goals of NG911 and the NG911 accessibility goals of the CVAA. By focusing on
developing common solutions rather than developing specialized technologies solely for use by people
with disabilities, we are more likely to be able to spread the cost of such technology across all network
users and providers and to generate economies of scale that lower such costs. We seek comment on this
approach. Will the development of common text-to-911 and multimedia-to-911 solutions benefit both
people with disabilities and non-disabled people and lead to greater cost efficiencies? Are there
limitations to this approach, such as instances where people with disabilities may still require
development of more specialized technology to meet their emergency accessibility needs?
114.
In light of the overlapping issues, we also seek comment on the relationship between this
proceeding and our implementation of the CVAA and the work of the EAAC. Should we incorporate the
EAAC's recommendations into the record in this proceeding? Would coordinating or combining the two


203 47 U.S.C. 615c(c).
204 EAAC Report at 3.
205 47 U.S.C. 615c(g).
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proceedings promote broader and more rapid NG911 deployment?

G.

Legal Authority

115.
Background. In the Notice of Inquiry, the Commission recognized that "[s]tate, Tribal,
and local governments are the primary administrators of the legacy 911 system and are responsible for
establishing and designating PSAPs or appropriate default answering points, purchasing customer
premises equipment, retaining and training PSAP personnel, and purchasing 911 network services."206
Nevertheless, the Commission noted that "[c]ertain communications technologies . . . necessitated the
adoption of a uniform national approach" and sought comment on whether there should be some level of
federal oversight for the transition to NG911.207 Further, the Commission sought comment "on the extent
of the FCC's jurisdiction to oversee the transition to NG911, since PSAPs, service providers, consumer
device manufacturers, and software developers will all be involved."208 The Commission also invited
comment on the role that other federal agencies, such as ICO, should play in the transition to NG911.
116.
Comments. Several commenters encourage the Commission to implement a uniform
national approach.209 Other commenters, however, assert that the Commission's authority over certain
providers, such as broadband access providers, is still undetermined and will require further clarification
or legislation.210 For instance, CTIA states that "some of these providers of current and future
application-based communications services are not FCC licensees and thus fall outside the FCC's
regulatory jurisdiction entirely."211 CTIA argues that while the CVAA gives the Commission some
regulatory power to enact the recommendations of the EAAC, "it does not give the Commission plenary
authority over electronic messaging and video conferencing services"and "the limits of the Commission's
authority under the [CVAA] are unclear."212
117.
Discussion. Since 1996, the Commission has exercised authority under Title III of the
Communications Act to require CMRS providers, as spectrum licensees, to implement basic 911 and
E911 services.213 This authority includes as a fundamental and pervasive element of the Commission's


206 Notice of Inquiry, 25 FCC Rcd at 17895-96 83.
207 Id.
208 Id. at 17896 85.
209 PSCO California Technology Agency Comments at 6; PUC of Ohio at 6 (supporting a framework in which the
FCC establishes national objectives, standards, and benchmarks but leaves coordinating, implementing, and
transitioning to the states); Texas 9-1-1 Agencies at 16 (asserting that "the FCC and regulators will need to fill gaps
and promote compliance via regulations as needed," but "the FCC should not needlessly seek to disturb the
coordinated and cooperative public safety structural framework among federal, state, regional, and local
governments recognized under federal law and provided for under applicable state laws"); Motorola at 15-16
("Coordinated governance at the state and Federal levels will help to ensure that NG911 deployments proceed in an
interoperable, standards-based manner.")
210 See AT&T Comments at 35-36; L.R. Kimball Comments at 6-7 (asserting that legislation is required to
implement a SMS to 911 interconnection); CTIA Comments at 7-9.
211 CTIA Comments at 8.
212 Id. at 9.
213 See See E911 First Report and Order, 11 FCC Rcd at 18676, 18679 5, 10 (1996) (relying on sections 301 and
303(r) to impose E911 rules that "[save] lives and property" on wireless providers); Revision of the Commission's
Rules to Ensure Compatibility with Enhanced 911 Emergency Calling Systems, CC Docket No. 94-102, Fourth
Memorandum Opinion and Order
, 15 FCC Rcd 17442, 17445 6 (2000) (relying on sections 301, 303(r), and 151
to promulgate E911 rule revisions). Moreover, Congress, in expanding the Commission's obligations to implement
(continued....)
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licensing authority the power and obligation to condition its licensing actions on compliance with
requirements that the Commission deems consistent with the public interest, convenience, and
necessity.214 Existing E911 requirements for wireless service providers clearly further the public interest
in ways directly connected to the Commission's mandate in Section 151 to "promot[e] safety of life and
property through the use of wire and radio communication."215 Similarly, the options we consider in this
proceeding to facilitate availability of text-to-911 and other NG911 capabilities to consumers would fall
within our broad Title III authority over spectrum licensees as requirements that serve the public interest,
convenience, and necessity by, for example "promoting safety of life and property."216 Therefore, we
believe that we have well-established legal authority under Sections 151, 301, and 303(r) and other Title
III provisions to take the regulatory and non-regulatory measures described herein that would apply to
users of spectrum. We seek comment on this analysis.
118.
We also believe that the CVAA confers authority with respect to implementation of text-
to-911 and other NG911 features to the extent that such implementation serves the statutory goal of
"achieving equal access to emergency services for people with disabilities, as a part of the migration to a
national Internet protocol-enabled emergency network."217 As noted in the previous section, the CVAA
authorizes the Commission to promulgate regulations to "ensure the accessibility, usability, and
compatibility of advanced communications services and the equipment used for advanced
communications services by individuals with disabilities"218 and to do what is necessary to "achieve
reliable, interoperable communication that ensures access by individuals with disabilities to an Internet
protocol-enabled emergency network, where achievable and technically feasible."219 The CVAA defines
"advanced communications services" to include electronic messaging service, defined as a "service that
(Continued from previous page)


911/E911 obligations on at least two occasions, has implicitly recognized and endorsed the Commission's prior
exercise of its Title III authority in promulgating the earlier 911/E911 regulations. See New and Emerging
Technologies Improvement Act of 2008, P.L. 110-283, 122 Stat. 2620 (2008) (codifying the Commission's E911
requirements for VoIP services and authorizing the Commission to amend these requirements); Wireless
Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999, P.L. 106-81, 113 Stat. 1286 (establishing 9-1-1 as the national
emergency number and requiring Commission to provide for appropriate transition periods where 9-1-1 not yet
utilized).
214 See, e.g., 47 U.S.C. 301 (authorizing the Commission to issue licenses for use of radio spectrum), 307(a)
(stating that Commission shall grant licenses "if public convenience, interest, or necessity will be served thereby,
subject to the limitations of [the Communications Act]"). 309(j)(3) (requiring the Commission to design and
conduct competitive bidding systems for issuance of licenses to promote the purposes of section 1 of the Act and
specified statutory objectives, including "the development and rapid deployment of new technologies, products, and
services for the benefit of the public, including those residing in rural areas), and 316(a)(1) (authorizing the
Commission to modify station licenses "if in the judgment of the Commission such action will promote the public
interest, convenience, and necessity"); see also 303(r) (authorizing the Commission to act as necessary to carry out
provisions of the Communications Act).
215 47 U.S.C. 151. The Commission has previously required network changes and handset improvements to
provide E911 features in the effort to improve the nation's 911 infrastructure, thus furthering the "safety of life and
property" objectives of section 1. See, e.g., E911 First Report and Order, 11 FCC Rcd at 18681-82, 18683-84 8,
10.
216 47 U.S.C. 151. We note that our authority under Title III extends to all spectrum licensees, not just providers
of CMRS.
217 47 U.S.C. 615c.
218 47 U.S.C. 617(e)(1)(A).
219 Id. 615c(g).
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provides real-time or near real-time non-voice messages in text form between individuals over
communications networks."220 The CVAA also includes in the definition of "advanced communications
services" "interconnected VoIP service" and "non-interconnected VoIP service."221 The CVAA's
mandate to ensure "the accessibility, usability, and compatibility" of this broad category of advanced
communications services provides generous authority to cover many of the actions we consider in this
proceeding, including, for example, requiring 911 capabilities for text-based communications services.
We seek comment on this reading of the CVAA and whether there are any limitations to the scope of this
authority relevant to our proposals in this proceeding.
119.
Furthermore, we believe that the Commission would also have the ancillary authority to
regulate certain entities over which (or over whose actions at issue) we may not have express regulatory
authority. Under Section 4(i) of the Communications Act and the judicial precedent recognizing the
Commission's ancillary authority,222 the Commission is empowered to impose requirements when it lacks
specifically enumerated authority, provided its actions fall within the agency's general grant of
jurisdiction over "interstate and foreign communication by wire or radio"223 and the regulation is
reasonably necessary to effectuate the Commission's responsibilities under the Act and rules promulgated
pursuant to the Commission's express authority. Applying this principle to the NG911 context, it appears
that the successful application of text-to-911 and other multimedia NG911 requirements to
communications providers pursuant to the direct mandates of Title III or the CVAA may require that we
impose certain requirements on broadband access providers, System Service Providers (SSPs), network
operators, and other entities involved in the provision of broadband Internet access and other network
services. For instance , a CMRS provider may be unable to provide text-to-911 without adjustments to
the database management and call routing services currently provided by the SSP. In addition, a non-
interconnected VoIP provider may need the cooperation of the operator of the broadband network over
which the text to 911 travels to identify the user's location. In such instances, we would have ancillary
authority to impose rules on entities that fall under our subject matter jurisdiction as necessary to ensure
that Title III licensees, entities subject to our authority under the CVAA, and other entities subject to
direct statutory authority can fulfill their new NG911 obligations. Similarly, we may also decide,


220 47 U.S.C. 153(1)(C), (19).
221 47 U.S.C. 153(1)(A) and (B) respectively. The CVAA further includes "interoperable video conferencing
service" in the definition of "advanced communications services." See id. 153(1)(D).
222 See, e.g., 47 U.S.C. 154(i) (authorizing the Commission to "perform any and all acts, make such rules and
regulations, and issue such orders, not inconsistent with this Act, as may be necessary in the execution of its
functions"); United States v. Southwestern Cable Co., 392 U.S. 157, 178 (1968) (recognizing that the Commission
may exercise authority that is "reasonably ancillary to the effective performance of [its] various responsibilities");
United States v. Midwest Video Corp., 406 U.S. 649 (1972) (upholding the Commission's regulation of cable
television under the agency's ancillary jurisdictional authority, where regulations promoted long-established
statutory goals of broadcast regulation); Computer and Commc'ns Indust. Ass'n v. FCC, 693 F.2d 198 (D.C. Cir.
1982) (upholding the Commission's regulation of enhanced services and customer premises equipment pursuant to
ancillary authority, where regulations were deemed necessary to assure reasonable rates for wire communications
services);.American Library Association v. FCC, 406 F.3d 689 (D.C. Cir. 2005) (recognizing the Commission's
ancillary jurisdiction where: (1) the Commission's general jurisdictional grant under Title I covers the subject of the
regulations and (2) the regulations are reasonably ancillary to the Commission's effective performance of its
statutorily mandated responsibilities").
223 47 U.S.C. 152(a). Note that while the Commission's ancillary jurisdiction is bounded by, inter alia, this
general jurisdictional grant of authority over providers of "interstate and foreign communication by wire or radio,"
the Act defines such communications very broadly to include not only the transmission of signals, sounds and the
like, but also "all instrumentalities, facilities, apparatus, and services ... incidental to such transmission." 47 U.S.C.
153(40), (59) (setting forth the definitions of "Radio communication" and "Wire communication").
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pursuant to our direct, express mandate under the CVAA, that individuals with disabilities must have
access to an IP-enabled emergency network that allows them to send text and other multimedia
information to the PSAP, without further delay. In this case, we would also have ancillary authority to
require action that has broader effects on the non-disabled community, should it be infeasible at this time,
for technical or other reasons,224 for providers to tailor implementation of their CVAA obligations only to
individuals with disabilities. We seek comment on this analysis. We also ask commenters to address
other potentially relevant sources of authority.
120.
A number of commenters note that liability protection will need to be expanded to
include all entities that participate in the NG911 environment.225 The Commission recognizes that
existing sources of liability protection will possibly need to be updated to accommodate the range of
parties, services, and devices that will be involved in the provisioning of NG911 services. The primary
basis for liability protection related to the provisioning of NG911 services stems from section 201 of the
New and Emerging Technologies 911 Improvement Act (Net 911 Act).226 Under this section, a "wireless
carrier, IP-enabled voice service provider, or other emergency communications provider ... shall have"
the same liability protection as a local exchange carrier under federal and state law.227 We seek comment
on whether the NET 911 Act's extension of liability protection embraces the full range of technologies
and service providers that will be involved in the provisioning of NG911 services. We also seek
comment on whether the Commission has the authority to extend liability protection to entities involved
in the provisioning of NG911 services or whether Congressional action is necessary.

IV.

PROCEDURAL MATTERS

A.

Ex Parte Presentations

121.
The proceeding initiated by this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking shall be treated as a
"permit-but-disclose" proceeding in accordance with the Commission's ex parte rules.228 Persons making
ex parte presentations must file a copy of any written presentation or a memorandum summarizing any
oral presentation within two business days after the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to
the Sunshine period applies). Persons making oral ex parte presentations are reminded that memoranda
summarizing the presentation must: (1) list all persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting
at which the ex parte presentation was made; and (2) summarize all data presented and arguments made
during the presentation. If the presentation consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data or
arguments already reflected in the presenter's written comments, memoranda, or other filings in the
proceeding, the presenter may provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior comments,
memoranda, or other filings (specifying the relevant page and/or paragraph numbers where such data or
arguments can be found) in lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given
to Commission staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex parte presentations and must
be filed consistent with rule 1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by rule 1.49(f) or for which the
Commission has made available a method of electronic filing, written ex parte presentations and


224 For instance, there may not be technology available that is capable of distinguishing readily whether or not a 911
"call" is being placed by an individual with a disability.
225 See TCS Comments at 17; PlantCML Comments at 3; Sprint Nextel Comments at 8; L3 Comments at 25; VON
Coalition Comments at 5; NENA Comments at 31; CTIA Comments at 10-11; AT&T Comments at 25-26; L.R.
Kimball Comments at 20-21; Motorola Comments at 12-13; Bandwidth.com Reply Comments at 7.
226 See 47 U.S.C. 615a.
227 Id.
228 47 C.F.R. 1.1200 et seq.
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memoranda summarizing oral ex parte presentations, and all attachments thereto, must be filed through
the electronic comment filing system available for that proceeding and must be filed in their native format
(e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize themselves with
the Commission's ex parte rules.

B.

Comment Filing Procedures

122.
Pursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission's rules, 47 CFR 1.415, 1.419,
interested parties may file comments and reply comments in response to this Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking on or before the dates indicated on the first page of this document. Comments may be filed
using the Commission's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents
in Rulemaking Proceedings
, 63 FR 24121 (1998).

Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the
ECFS: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/.

Paper Filers: Parties that choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each filing.
If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers
must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number.
Filings can be sent by hand or messenger delivery, by commercial overnight courier, or by first-
class or overnight U.S. Postal Service mail. All filings must be addressed to the Commission's
Secretary, Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission.

All hand-delivered or messenger-delivered paper filings for the Commission's Secretary
must be delivered to FCC Headquarters at 445 12th St., SW, Room TW-A325,
Washington, DC 20554. The filing hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. All hand deliveries
must be held together with rubber bands or fasteners. Any envelopes and boxes must be
disposed of before entering the building.

Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority
Mail) must be sent to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743.

U.S. Postal Service first-class, Express, and Priority mail must be addressed to 445 12th
Street, SW, Washington DC 20554.

C.

Accessible Formats

123.
To request materials in accessible formats for people with disabilities (braille, large print,
electronic files, audio format), send an e-mail to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer & Governmental
Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty).

D.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

124.
As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, see 5 U.S.C. 604, the
Commission has prepared an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant
economic impact on small entities of the policies and rules addressed in this document. The IRFA is set
forth in the Appendix. Written public comments are requested on the IRFA. These comments must be
filed in accordance with the same filing deadlines as comments filed in response to this Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking as set forth on the first page of this document and have a separate and distinct
heading designating them as responses to the IRFA.

E.

Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis

125.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking contains proposed new information collection
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requirements. The Commission, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, invites the
general public and OMB to comment on the information collection requirements contained in this
document, as required by Paperwork Reduction Act. In addition, pursuant to the Small Business
Paperwork Relief Act of 2002,229 we seek specific comment on how we might "further reduce the
information collection burden for small business concerns with fewer than 25 employees."230

V.

ORDERING CLAUSES

126.
IT IS ORDERED, pursuant to Sections 1, 2, 4(i), 7, 201, 222, 251(e), 301, 302, 303, 307,
308, 309, 310, 319, and 332, of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 152,
154(i), 157, 201, 222, 251(e), 301, 302, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 319, and 332; Section 706 of the
Telecommunications Act of 1996, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 1302; Section 4 of the Wireless
Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999, as amended by the New and Emerging Technologies 911
Improvement Act of 2008, 47 U.S.C. 615a; and Sections 104 and 106 of the Twenty-First Century
Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, 47 U.S.C. 615c, 617, that this Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking is hereby ADOPTED.
127.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Commission's Consumer and Governmental
Affairs Bureau, Reference Information Center, SHALL SEND a copy of this Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking, including the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of
the Small Business Administration.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Marlene H. Dortch
Secretary


229 Pub. L. No. 107-198.
230 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(4).
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APPENDIX

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

1. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended (RFA),231 the Commission
has prepared this present Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant
economic impact of the proposal described in the attached Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on small
entities. Written public comments are requested on this IRFA. Comments must be identified as
responses to the IRFA and must be filed by the deadlines for comments in the Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking. The Commission will send a copy of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, including this
IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA).232 In addition,
the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be published in the Federal
Register.233

A.

Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rules

2.
In the Notice, we address the potential regulatory implications of implementing possible
short-term methods for sending text messages to 911. We do so because of the widespread availability
and increasing use of text in communications systems and because many of the emerging IP-based
mechanisms for delivering text also have the capability, with relatively minor technical adjustment, to
also support delivery of photos, videos, and other data. We seek comment on what role, if any, the
Commission should play to facilitate and, if necessary, accelerate the implementation of text-to-911
capabilities by providers in the short term. We explore the full range of options for the Commission,
including both non-regulatory and regulatory approaches, and seek to adopt the least burdensome
approach that would achieve the desired result. We also recognize that we must carefully assess the costs
and benefits of different regulatory options to determine the Commission's proper role.
3.
We also explore the potential for using SMS as an interim solution for text-based
communication to 911, given the near-universal availability and consumer familiarity with SMS. The
responses to our December 2010 Notice of Inquiry in this proceeding234 identify a number of possible
limitations when using SMS for emergency communications, but some commenters also contended that
these limitations could be surmounted by appropriate engineering approaches. We also examine other
short-term options that would rely on software applications capable of delivering text over the existing IP-
based infrastructure. We examine the potential costs and benefits of both SMS-based and software-based
interim approaches as compared to developing more comprehensive text-to-911 solutions over the longer
term that will provide more reliable real-time communications and can also support delivery of photos
and video.
4.
Next, we examine whether we should prioritize 911 traffic to ensure that people in need
of assistance have reliable access to emergency services, especially during times of serious emergencies
such as large-scale natural and manmade disasters. The August 23, 2011 East Coast earthquake and
Hurricane Irene have been recent reminders that concentrated demands on the capacity of commercial
communications networks during and immediately after emergencies can hinder the ability of consumers


231 See 5 U.S.C. 603. The RFA, see 5 U.S.C. 601 612, has been amended by the Small Business Regulatory
Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), Pub. L. No. 104-121, Title II, 110 Stat. 857 (1996).
232 See 5 U.S.C. 603(a).
233 See 5 U.S.C. 603(a).
234 In the Matter of Framework for Next Generation 911 Deployment, PS Docket No. 10-255, Notice of Inquiry, 25
FCC Rcd 17869 (2010) (Notice of Inquiry).
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to make voice calls, which in turn can jeopardize their ability to contact 911. We seek comment on how
best to address this concern in both legacy networks and the emerging broadband networks that will
support NG911, including options for prioritizing 911 traffic.
5.
We take into consideration the potential regulatory implications of the long-term
implementation of NG911, with particular focus on IP-based alternatives for delivering text, photos,
videos, and other data to 911 that would leverage the increasing percentage of mobile devices that have
the ability to access the Internet and would meet consumer expectations for the ways that they typically
communicate.
6.
We also address the potential regulatory implications of finding the path towards
integration and standardization of IP-based text-to-911 as commercial providers migrate to all-IP
networks and as 911 authorities deploy Emergency Services IP networks (ESInets) that will enable
PSAPs to receive the full range of IP-based traffic, including voice, text, photos, video, and data. In this
all-IP environment, text-to-911 is one of several non-voice services that will be supported by "native" IP
communications end-to-end solutions, such as the Internet Multimedia Subsystem (IMS).235 However,
providers may have varying timetables for developing the capacity to deliver IMS communications to
PSAPs. PSAP deployment of ESINets is also likely to be non-uniform. We seek comment on the
necessary steps for providers and PSAPs to support integrated IMS-based communications and the time
that this process is likely to take.
7.
With over 6,800 PSAPs in the United States, spanning a wide range of sizes and
resources, individual PSAPs are likely to have highly varying timetables for developing the technical and
operational capability to handle incoming texts in the short term, as well as texts and other media in the
longer-term implementation of NG911. While there are significant public safety benefits to enabling the
public to send texts and other media to 911 in areas where PSAPs are capable of receiving and processing
them, we seek to avoid imposing unnecessary costs on providers to implement NG911 in areas where
PSAPs have not yet achieved such capability. For this reason, we examine whether PSAPs should
demonstrate a threshold level of technical NG911 capability as a precondition to any obligation by
providers to deliver text or other media to PSAPs and whether such demonstration should be at the state
or regional level. We also seek comment on potential state or local regulatory barriers to NG911
deployment and whether states should demonstrate that they have adopted legal or regulatory measures to
eliminate such barriers to facilitate NG911 deployment.
8.
Given that text-to-911 and other NG911 capabilities will likely not be simultaneously
deployed nationwide, consumers may be uncertain where non-voice communication with 911 is available.
Even where text-to-911 or other NG911 applications are available, the specific capabilities and
operational characteristics of these applications may vary. We therefore address how to best educate
consumers about the availability and limitations of text-to-911 and other NG911 solutions, particularly
during the transition from legacy 911 to full implementation of NG911, without imposing an undue
burden on providers.

B.

Legal Basis

9.
The legal basis for any action that may be taken pursuant to this Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking is contained in Sections 1, 2, 4(i), 7, 201, 222, 251(e), 301, 302, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310,
319, and 332, of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 154(i), 157, 201,
222, 251(e), 301, 302, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 319, and 332, Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act
of 1996, as amended, 47 U.S.C. 1302, Section 4 of the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act
of 1999, as amended by the New and Emerging Technologies 911 Improvement Act of 2008, 47 U.S.C.


235 See infra, note 41 (referencing 3GPP, IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) Emergency Sessions).
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615a, and Sections 104 and 106 of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility
Act of 2010, 47 U.S.C. 615c, 617.

C.

Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the Proposed
Rules Would Apply

10.
The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of and, where feasible, an estimate of
the number of small entities that may be affected by the proposed rules.236 The RFA generally defines the
term "small entity" as having the same meaning as the terms "small business," "small organization," and
"small governmental jurisdiction."237 In addition, the term "small business" has the same meaning as the
term "small business concern" under the Small Business Act.238 A small business concern is one which:
(1) is independently owned and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) satisfies any
additional criteria established by the Small Business Administration (SBA).239
11.
Small Businesses, Small Organizations, and Small Governmental Jurisdictions. Our
action may, over time, affect small entities that are not easily categorized at present. We therefore
describe here, at the outset, three comprehensive, statutory small entity size standards.240 First,
nationwide, there are a total of approximately 27.5 million small businesses, according to the SBA.241 In
addition, a "small organization" is generally "any not-for-profit enterprise which is independently owned
and operated and is not dominant in its field."242 Nationwide, as of 2007, there were approximately
1,621,315 small organizations.243 Finally, the term "small governmental jurisdiction" is defined generally
as "governments of cities, towns, townships, villages, school districts, or special districts, with a
population of less than fifty thousand."244 Census Bureau data for 2011 indicate that there were 89,476
local governmental jurisdictions in the United States.245 We estimate that, of this total, as many as 88,506
entities may qualify as "small governmental jurisdictions."246 Thus, we estimate that most governmental
jurisdictions are small.


236 5 U.S.C. 603(b)(3), 604(a)(3).
237 5 U.S.C. 601(6).
238 5 U.S.C. 601(3) (incorporating by reference the definition of "small business concern" in the Small Business
Act, 15 U.S.C. 632). Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 601(3), the statutory definition of a small business applies "unless an
agency, after consultation with the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration and after opportunity
for public comment, establishes one or more definitions of such terms which are appropriate to the activities of the
agency and publishes such definitions(s) in the Federal Register."
239 15 U.S.C. 632.
240 See 5 U.S.C. 601(3)(6).
241 See SBA, Office of Advocacy, "Frequently Asked Questions," web.sba.gov/faqs (last visited May 6,2011;
figures are from 2009).
242 5 U.S.C. 601(4).
243 INDEPENDENT SECTOR, THE NEW NONPROFIT ALMANAC & DESK REFERENCE (2010).
244 5 U.S.C. 601(5).
245 U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES: 2011, Table 427 (2007).
246 The 2007 U.S Census data for small governmental organizations are not presented based on the size of the
population in each such organization. There were 89,476 small governmental organizations in 2007. If we assume
that county, municipal, townships, and school district organizations are more likely than larger governmental
organizations to have populations of 50,000 or less, the total of these organizations is 52,125. If we make the same
assumption about special districts, and also assume that special districts are different from county, municipal,
(continued....)
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1.

Telecommunications Service Entities

a. Wireless Telecommunications Service Providers
12.
Pursuant to 47 C.F.R. 20.18(a), the Commission's 911 service requirements are only
applicable to Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) "[providers], excluding mobile satellite service
operators, to the extent that they: (1) Offer real-time, two way switched voice service that is
interconnected with the public switched network; and (2) Utilize an in-network switching facility that
enables the provider to reuse frequencies and accomplish seamless hand-offs of subscriber calls. These
requirements are applicable to entities that offer voice service to consumers by purchasing airtime or
capacity at wholesale rates from CMRS licensees."
13.
Below, for those services subject to auctions, we note that, as a general matter, the
number of winning bidders that qualify as small businesses at the close of an auction does not necessarily
represent the number of small businesses currently in service. Also, the Commission does not generally
track subsequent business size unless, in the context of assignments or transfers, unjust enrichment issues
are implicated.
14.
Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite). Since 2007, the Census Bureau
has placed wireless firms within this new, broad, economic census category.247 Prior to that time, such
firms were within the now-superseded categories of "Paging" and "Cellular and Other Wireless
Telecommunications."248 Under the present and prior categories, the SBA has deemed a wireless business
to be small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.249 For the category of Wireless Telecommunications
Carriers (except Satellite), Census data for 2007, which supersede data contained in the 2002 Census,
show that there were 1,383 firms that operated that year.250 Of those 1,383, 1,368 had fewer than 100
employees, and 15 firms had more than 100 employees. Thus under this category and the associated
small business size standard, the majority of firms can be considered small.
15.
Wireless Service Providers. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for
wireless firms within the two broad economic census categories of "Paging" and "Cellular and Other
Wireless Telecommunications." Under both categories, the SBA deems a wireless business to be small if
it has 1,500 or fewer employees. For the census category of Paging, Census Bureau data for 2002 show
that there were 807 firms in this category that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 804 firms had
employment of 999 or fewer, and three firms had employment of 1,000 or more. Thus, under this
(Continued from previous page)


township, and school districts, in 2007 there were 37,381 special districts. Therefore, of the 89,476 small
governmental organizations documented in 2007, as many as 89,506 may be considered small under the applicable
standard. This data may overestimate the number of such organizations that have a population of 50,000 or less.
U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES 2011, Tables 427, 426 ( Data
cited therein are from 2007).
247 U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 NAICS Definitions, "517210 Wireless Telecommunications Categories (Except
Satellite)"; http://www.census.gov/naics/2007/def/ND517210.HTM#N517210.
248 U.S. Census Bureau, 2002 NAICS Definitions, "517211 Paging";
http://www.census.gov/epcd/naics02/def/NDEF517.HTM.; U.S. Census Bureau, 2002 NAICS Definitions, "517212
Cellular and Other Wireless Telecommunications"; http://www.census.gov/epcd/naics02/def/NDEF517.HTM.
249 13 C.F.R. 121.201, NAICS code 517210 (2007 NAICS). The now-superseded, pre-2007 C.F.R. citations were
13 C.F.R. 121.201, NAICS codes 517211 and 517212 (referring to the 2002 NAICS).
250 U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 Economic Census, Sector 51, 2007 NAICS code 517210 (rel. Oct. 20, 2009),
http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-fds_name=EC0700A1&-_skip=700&;-
ds_name=EC0751SSSZ5&-_lang=en.
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category and associated small business size standard, the majority of firms can be considered small. For
the census category of Cellular and Other Wireless Telecommunications, Census Bureau data for 2002
show that there were 1,397 firms in this category that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 1,378
firms had employment of 999 or fewer, and 19 firms had employment of 1,000 or more. Thus, under this
second category and size standard, the majority of firms can, again, be considered small.
16.
Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (Incumbent LECs). Neither the Commission nor the
SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for incumbent local exchange services.
The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the category Wired Telecommunications Carriers.
Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.251 Census Bureau
data for 2007, which now supersede data from the 2002 Census, show that there were 3,188 firms in this
category that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 3,144 had employment of 999 or fewer, and 44
firms had had employment of 1000 or more. According to Commission data, 1,307 carriers reported that
they were incumbent local exchange service providers.252 Of these 1,307 carriers, an estimated 1,006
have 1,500 or fewer employees and 301 have more than 1,500 employees.253 Consequently, the
Commission estimates that most providers of local exchange service are small entities that may be
affected by the rules and policies proposed in the Notice. Thus under this category and the associated
small business size standard, the majority of these incumbent local exchange service providers can be
considered small.254
17.
A Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (Competitive LECs), Competitive Access
Providers (CAPs), Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and Other Local Service Providers. Neither the
Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard specifically for these service
providers. The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the category Wired Telecommunications
Carriers. Under that size standard, such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.255 Census
Bureau data for 2007, which now supersede data from the 2002 Census, show that there were 3,188 firms
in this category that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 3,144 had employment of 999 or fewer,
and 44 firms had employment of 1,000 or more. Thus under this category and the associated small
business size standard, the majority of these Competitive LECs, CAPs, Shared-Tenant Service Providers,
and Other Local Service Providers can be considered small entities.256 According to Commission data,
1,442 carriers reported that they were engaged in the provision of either competitive local exchange
services or competitive access provider services.257 Of these 1,442 carriers, an estimated 1,256 have
1,500 or fewer employees, and 186 have more than 1,500 employees.258 In addition, 17 carriers have
reported that they are Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and all 17 are estimated to have 1,500 or fewer


251 13 C.F.R. 121.201, NAICS code 517110.
252 See Trends in Telephone Service, Federal Communications Commission, Wireline Competition Bureau, Industry
Analysis and Technology Division at Table 5.3 (Sept. 2010) (Trends in Telephone Service).
253 See id.
254 See http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-fds_name=EC0700A1&-geo_id=&-_skip=600&;-
ds_name=EC0751SSSZ5&-_lang=en.
255 13 C.F.R. 121.201, NAICS code 517110.
256 See http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-fds_name=EC0700A1&-geo_id=&-_skip=600&;-
ds_name=EC0751SSSZ5&-_lang=en.
257 See Trends in Telephone Service at Table 5.3.
258 See id.
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employees.259 In addition, 72 carriers have reported that they are Other Local Service Providers.260 Of
the 72, 70 have 1,500 or fewer employees, and two have more than 1,500 employees.261 Consequently,
the Commission estimates that most providers of competitive local exchange service, competitive access
providers, Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and Other Local Service Providers are small entities that
may be affected by rules adopted pursuant to the Notice.
18.
Broadband Personal Communications Service. The broadband personal communications
services (PCS) spectrum is divided into six frequency blocks designated A through F, and the
Commission has held auctions for each block. The Commission initially defined a "small business" for
C- and F-Block licenses as an entity that has average gross revenues of $40 million or less in the three
previous calendar years.262 For F-Block licenses, an additional small business size standard for "very
small business" was added and is defined as an entity that, together with its affiliates, has average gross
revenues of not more than $15 million for the preceding three calendar years.263 These small business size
standards, in the context of broadband PCS auctions, have been approved by the SBA.264 No small
businesses within the SBA-approved small business size standards bid successfully for licenses in Blocks
A and B. There were 90 winning bidders that claimed small business status in the first two C-Block
auctions. A total of 93 bidders that claimed small business status won approximately 40 percent of the
1,479 licenses in the first auction for the D, E, and F Blocks.265 On April 15, 1999, the Commission
completed the reauction of 347 C-, D-, E-, and F-Block licenses in Auction No. 22.266 Of the 57 winning
bidders in that auction, 48 claimed small business status and won 277 licenses.
19.
On January 26, 2001, the Commission completed the auction of 422 C and F Block
Broadband PCS licenses in Auction No. 35. Of the 35 winning bidders in that auction, 29 claimed small
business status.267 Subsequent events concerning Auction 35, including judicial and agency
determinations, resulted in a total of 163 C and F Block licenses being available for grant. On February
15, 2005, the Commission completed an auction of 242 C-, D-, E-, and F-Block licenses in Auction No.
58. Of the 24 winning bidders in that auction, 16 claimed small business status and won 156 licenses.268


259 See id.
260 See id.
261 See id.
262 See Amendment of Parts 20 and 24 of the Commission's Rules Broadband PCS Competitive Bidding and the
Commercial Mobile Radio Service Spectrum Cap; Amendment of the Commission's Cellular/PCS Cross-Ownership
Rule
; WT Docket No. 96-59, GN Docket No. 90-314, Report and Order, 11 FCC Rcd 7824, 785052, paras. 5760
(1996) ("PCS Report and Order"); see also 47 C.F.R. 24.720(b).
263 See PCS Report and Order, 11 FCC Rcd at 7852, para. 60.
264 See Alvarez Letter 1998.
265 See Broadband PCS, D, E and F Block Auction Closes, Public Notice, Doc. No. 89838 (rel. Jan. 14, 1997).
266 See C, D, E, and F Block Broadband PCS Auction Closes, Public Notice, 14 FCC Rcd 6688 (WTB 1999).
Before Auction No. 22, the Commission established a very small standard for the C Block to match the standard
used for F Block. Amendment of the Commission's Rules Regarding Installment Payment Financing for Personal
Communications Services (PCS) Licensees
, WT Docket No. 97-82, Fourth Report and Order, 13 FCC Rcd 15743,
15768, para. 46 (1998).
267 See C and F Block Broadband PCS Auction Closes; Winning Bidders Announced, Public Notice, 16 FCC Rcd
2339 (2001).
268 See Broadband PCS Spectrum Auction Closes; Winning Bidders Announced for Auction No. 58, Public Notice,
20 FCC Rcd 3703 (2005).
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On May 21, 2007, the Commission completed an auction of 33 licenses in the A, C, and F Blocks in
Auction No. 71.269 Of the 12 winning bidders in that auction, five claimed small business status and won
18 licenses.270 On August 20, 2008, the Commission completed the auction of 20 C-, D-, E-, and F-Block
Broadband PCS licenses in Auction No. 78.271 Of the eight winning bidders for Broadband PCS licenses
in that auction, six claimed small business status and won 14 licenses.272
20.
Narrowband Personal Communications Services. To date, the Commission has
conducted two auctions of narrowband personal communications services (PCS) licenses. For purposes
of the two auctions that have already been held, "small businesses" were entities with average gross
revenues for the prior three calendar years of $40 million or less. Through these auctions, the
Commission has awarded a total of 41 licenses, out of which 11 were obtained by small businesses. To
ensure meaningful participation of small business entities in future auctions, the Commission has adopted
a two-tiered small business size standard in the Narrowband PCS Second Report and Order.273 A "small
business" is an entity that, together with affiliates and controlling interests, has average gross revenues for
the three preceding years of not more than $40 million. A "very small business" is an entity that, together
with affiliates and controlling interests, has average gross revenues for the three preceding years of not
more than $15 million. The SBA has approved these small business size standards.274
21.
Specialized Mobile Radio. The Commission awards "small entity" bidding credits in
auctions for Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) geographic area licenses in the 800 MHz and 900 MHz
bands to firms that had revenues of no more than $15 million in each of the three previous calendar
years.275 The Commission awards "very small entity" bidding credits to firms that had revenues of no
more than $3 million in each of the three previous calendar years.276 The SBA has approved these small
business size standards for the 900 MHz Service.277 The Commission has held auctions for geographic
area licenses in the 800 MHz and 900 MHz bands. The 900 MHz SMR was completed in 1996. Sixty
bidders claiming that they qualified as small businesses under the $15 million size standard won 263
geographic area licenses in the 900 MHz SMR band. The Commission conducted the 800 MHz SMR
auction for the upper 200 channels in 1997. Ten bidders claiming that they qualified as small businesses
under the $15 million size standard won 38 geographic area licenses for the upper 200 channels in the 800


269 See Auction of Broadband PCS Spectrum Licenses Closes; Winning Bidders Announced for Auction No. 71,
Public Notice, 22 FCC Rcd 9247 (2007).
270 Id.
271 See Auction of AWS-1 and Broadband PCS Licenses Closes; Winning Bidders Announced for Auction 78, Public
Notice, 23 FCC Rcd 12749 (WTB 2008).
272 Id.
273 Amendment of the Commission's Rules to Establish New Personal Communications Services, Narrowband PCS,
GEN Docket No. 90-314, ET Docket No. 92-100, PP Docket No. 93-253, Second Report and Order and Second
Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 15 FCC Rcd 10456 (2000).
274 See Letter to Amy Zoslov, Chief, Auctions and Industry Analysis Division, Wireless Telecommunications
Bureau, FCC, from Aida Alvarez, Administrator, SBA (Dec. 2, 1998).
275 47 C.F.R. 90.814(b)(1).
276 Id.
277 See Letter to Thomas Sugrue, Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Federal Communications
Commission, from Aida Alvarez, Administrator, Small Business Administration, dated August 10, 1999.
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MHz SMR band.278 The Commission conducted a second auction for the 800 MHz band in 2002 and
included 23 BEA licenses. One bidder claiming small business status won five licenses.279
22.
The Commission conducted an auction of the 1,050 800 MHz SMR geographic area
licenses for the General Category channels in 2000. Eleven bidders won 108 geographic area licenses for
the General Category channels in the 800 MHz SMR band qualified as small businesses under the $15
million size standard.280 In an auction completed in 2000, the Commission awarded a total of 2,800
Economic Area licenses in the lower 80 channels of the 800 MHz SMR service.281 Of the 22 winning
bidders, 19 claimed "small business" status and won 129 licenses. Thus, combining all three auctions, 40
winning bidders for geographic licenses in the 800 MHz SMR band claimed status as small business.
23.
In addition, there are numerous incumbent site-by-site SMR licensees and licensees with
extended implementation authorizations in the 800 and 900 MHz bands. We do not know how many
firms provide 800 MHz or 900 MHz geographic area SMR pursuant to extended implementation
authorizations nor how many of these providers have annual revenues of no more than $15 million. One
firm has over $15 million in revenues. In addition, we do not know how many of these firms have 1,500
or fewer employees.282 We assume, for purposes of this analysis, that all of the remaining existing
extended implementation authorizations are held by small entities, as that small business size standard is
approved by the SBA.
24.
AWS Services (17101755 MHz and 21102155 MHz bands (AWS-1); 19151920 MHz,
19952000 MHz, 20202025 MHz and 21752180 MHz bands (AWS-2); 21552175 MHz band (AWS-
3))
. For the AWS-1 bands, the Commission has defined a "small business" as an entity with average
annual gross revenues for the preceding three years not exceeding $40 million and a "very small
business" as an entity with average annual gross revenues for the preceding three years not exceeding $15
million.283 In 2006, the Commission conducted its first auction of AWS-1 licenses.284 In that auction, 31
winning bidders identified themselves as very small businesses.285 Twenty-six of the winning bidders
identified themselves as small businesses.286 In a subsequent 2008 auction, the Commission offered 35


278 See "Correction to Public Notice DA 96-586 `FCC Announces Winning Bidders in the Auction of 1020 Licenses
to Provide 900 MHz SMR in Major Trading Areas,'" Public Notice, 18 FCC Rcd 18367 (WTB 1996).
279 See "Multi-Radio Service Auction Closes," Public Notice, 17 FCC Rcd 1446 (WTB 2002).
280 See "800 MHz Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) Service General Category (851-854 MHz) and Upper Band
(861-865 MHz) Auction Closes; Winning Bidders Announced," Public Notice, 15 FCC Rcd 17162 (2000).
281 See, "800 MHz SMR Service Lower 80 Channels Auction Closes; Winning Bidders Announced," Public Notice,
16 FCC Rcd 1736 (2000).
282 See generally 13 C.F.R. 121.201, NAICS code 517210.
283 See Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 1.7 GHz and 2.1 GHz Bands, Report and Order, 18
FCC Rcd 25,162, App. B (2003), modified by Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services In the 1.7 GHz and 2.1
GHz Bands, Order on Reconsideration, 20 FCC Rcd 14,058, App. C (2005).
284 See "Auction of Advanced Wireless Services Licenses Scheduled for June 29, 2006; Notice and Filing
Requirements, Minimum Opening Bids, Upfront Payments and Other Procedures for Auction No. 66," AU Docket
No. 06-30, Public Notice, 21 FCC Rcd 4562 (2006) ("Auction 66 Procedures Public Notice").
285 See "Auction of Advanced Wireless Services Licenses Closes; Winning Bidders Announced for Auction No.
66," Public Notice, 21 FCC Rcd 10,521 (2006) ("Auction 66 Closing Public Notice").
286 See id.
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AWS-1 licenses.287 Four winning bidders identified themselves as very small businesses, and three of the
winning bidders identified themselves as small businesses.288 Although we do not know for certain which
entities are likely to participate in an auction of AWS-2 and AWS-3 spectrum, we note that the AWS-1
bands are comparable to those used for cellular service and personal communications service. The
Commission has not yet adopted size standards for the AWS-2 or AWS-3 bands but has proposed to treat
both AWS-2 and AWS-3 similarly to broadband PCS service and AWS-1 service due to the comparable
capital requirements and other factors, such as issues involved in relocating incumbents and developing
markets, technologies, and services.289
25.
Rural Radiotelephone Service. The Commission has not adopted a size standard for
small businesses specific to the Rural Radiotelephone Service. A significant subset of the Rural
Radiotelephone Service is the Basic Exchange Telephone Radio System ("BETRS"). In the present
context, we will use the SBA's small business size standard applicable to Wireless Telecommunications
Carriers (except Satellite), i.e., an entity employing no more than 1,500 persons.290 There are
approximately 1,000 licensees in the Rural Radiotelephone Service, and the Commission estimates that
there are 1,000 or fewer small entity licensees in the Rural Radiotelephone Service that may be affected
by the rules and policies adopted herein.
26.
Wireless Communications Services. This service can be used for fixed, mobile,
radiolocation, and digital audio broadcasting satellite services in the 2305-2320 MHz and 2345-2360
MHz bands. The Commission defined "small business" for the wireless communications services (WCS)
auction as an entity with average gross revenues of $40 million for each of the three preceding years and a
"very small business" as an entity with average gross revenues of $15 million for each of the three
preceding years.291 The SBA has approved these definitions.292 The Commission auctioned geographic
area licenses in the WCS service. In the auction, which commenced on April 15, 1997 and closed on
April 25, 1997, there were seven bidders that won 31 licenses that qualified as very small business entities
and one bidder that won one license that qualified as a small business entity.
27.
220 MHz Radio Service Phase I Licensees. The 220 MHz service has both Phase I and
Phase II licenses. Phase I licensing was conducted by lotteries in 1992 and 1993. There are
approximately 1,515 such non-nationwide licensees and four nationwide licensees currently authorized to
operate in the 220 MHz band. The Commission has not developed a small business size standard for


287 See AWS-1 and Broadband PCS Procedures Public Notice, 23 FCC Rcd at 7499. Auction 78 also included an
auction of broadband PCS licenses.
288 See "Auction of AWS-1 and Broadband PCS Licenses Closes, Winning Bidders Announced for Auction 78,
Down Payments Due September 9, 2008, FCC Forms 601 and 602 Due September 9, 2008, Final Payments Due
September 23, 2008, Ten-Day Petition to Deny Period," Public Notice, 23 FCC Rcd 12,749 (2008).
289 Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 19151920 MHz, 19952000 MHz, 20202025 MHz and
21752180 MHz Bands et al., Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 19 FCC Rcd 19,263, App. B (2005); Service Rules
for Advanced Wireless Services in the 21552175 MHz Band, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 22 FCC Rcd 17,035,
App. (2007); Service Rules for Advanced Wireless Services in the 2155-2175 MHz Band, Further Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking
, 23 FCC Rcd 9859, App. B (2008).
290 NAICS Code 51210.
291 Amendment of the Commission's Rules to Establish Part 27, the Wireless Communications Service (WCS),
Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd 10785, 10879 194 (1997).
292 See Letter to Amy Zoslov, Chief, Auctions and Industry Analysis Division, Wireless Telecommunications
Bureau, Federal Communications Commission, from Aida Alvarez, Administrator, Small Business Administration,
dated December 2, 1998.
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small entities specifically applicable to such incumbent 220 MHz Phase I licensees. To estimate the
number of such licensees that are small businesses, the Commission applies the small business size
standard under the SBA rules. The SBA has deemed a wireless business to be small if it has 1,500 or
fewer employees.293 For this service, the SBA uses the category of Wireless Telecommunications
Carriers (except Satellite). Census data for 2007, which supersede data contained in the 2002 Census,
show that there were 1,383 firms that operated that year.294 Of those 1,383, 1,368 had fewer than 100
employees, and 15 firms had more than 100 employees. Thus under this category and the associated
small business size standard, the majority of firms can be considered small.
28.
220 MHz Radio Service Phase II Licensees. The 220 MHz service has both Phase I and
Phase II licenses. The Phase II 220 MHz service is a new service and is subject to spectrum auctions. In
the 220 MHz Third Report and Order, the Commission adopted a small business size standard for
defining "small" and "very small" businesses for purposes of determining their eligibility for special
provisions such as bidding credits and installment payments.295 This small business standard indicates
that a "small business" is an entity that, together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average
gross revenues not exceeding $15 million for the preceding three years.296 A "very small business" is
defined as an entity that, together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross revenues
that do not exceed $3 million for the preceding three years.297 The SBA has approved these small size
standards.298 Auctions of Phase II licenses commenced and closed in 1998.299 In the first auction, the
FCC auctioned 908 licenses in three different-sized geographic areas: three nationwide licenses, 30
Regional Economic Area Group (EAG) Licenses, and 875 Economic Area (EA) Licenses. Of the 908
licenses auctioned, 693 were sold.300 Thirty-nine small businesses won 373 licenses in the first 220 MHz
auction. A second auction included 225 licenses: 216 EA licenses and 9 EAG licenses. Fourteen
companies claiming small business status won 158 licenses.301 A third auction included four licenses: 2
BEA licenses and 2 EAG licenses in the 220 MHz Service. No small or very small business won any of
these licenses.302 In 2007, the Commission conducted a fourth auction of the 220 MHz licenses.303 The


293 13 C.F.R. 121.201, NAICS code 517210 (2007 NAICS). The now-superseded, pre-2007 C.F.R. citations were
13 C.F.R. 121.201, NAICS codes 517211 and 517212 (referring to the 2002 NAICS).
294 U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 Economic Census, Sector 51, 2007 NAICS code 517210 (rel. Oct. 20, 2009),
http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-fds_name=EC0700A1&-_skip=700&;-
ds_name=EC0751SSSZ5&-_lang=en.
295 Amendment of Part 90 of the Commission's Rules to Provide For the Use of the 220-222 MHz Band by the
Private Land Mobile Radio Service, Third Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd 10943, 11068-70 291-295 (1997).
296 Id. at 11068 291.
297 Id.
298 See Letter to Daniel Phythyon, Chief, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Federal Communications
Commission, from Aida Alvarez, Administrator, Small Business Administration, dated January 6, 1998 (Alvarez to
Phythyon Letter 1998
).
299 See generally "220 MHz Service Auction Closes," Public Notice, 14 FCC Rcd 605 (WTB 1998).
300 See "FCC Announces It is Prepared to Grant 654 Phase II 220 MHz Licenses After Final Payment is Made,"
Public Notice, 14 FCC Rcd 1085 (WTB 1999).
301 See "Phase II 220 MHz Service Spectrum Auction Closes," Public Notice, 14 FCC Rcd 11218 (WTB 1999).
302 See "Multi-Radio Service Auction Closes," Public Notice, 17 FCC Rcd 1446 (WTB 2002).
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Commission offered bidding credits to small businesses. A bidder with attributed average annual gross
revenues that exceeded $3 million and did not exceed $15 million for the preceding three years ("small
business") received a 25 percent discount on its winning bid. A bidder with attributed average annual
gross revenues that did not exceed $3 million for the preceding three years received a 35 percent discount
on its winning bid ("very small business"). Auction 72, in which the Commission offered 94 Phase II 220
MHz Service licenses, concluded in 2007.304 In this auction, five winning bidders won a total of 76
licenses. Two winning bidders that identified themselves as very small businesses won 56 of the 76
licenses. One of the winning bidders that identified themselves as a small business won 5 of the 76
licenses.
29.
700 MHz Guard Band Licenses. In the 700 MHz Guard Band Order, the Commission
adopted size standards for "small businesses" and "very small businesses" for purposes of determining
their eligibility for special provisions such as bidding credits and installment payments.305 A small
business in this service is an entity that, together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average
gross revenues not exceeding $40 million for the preceding three years.306 Additionally, a "very small
business" is an entity that, together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross
revenues that are not more than $15 million for the preceding three years.307 SBA approval of these
definitions is not required.308 In 2000, the Commission conducted an auction of 52 Major Economic Area
("MEA") licenses.309 Of the 104 licenses auctioned, 96 licenses were sold to nine bidders. Five of these
bidders were small businesses that won a total of 26 licenses. A second auction of 700 MHz Guard Band
(Continued from previous page)


303 See "Auction of Phase II 220 MHz Service Spectrum Scheduled for June 20, 2007, Notice and Filing
Requirements, Minimum Opening Bids, Upfront Payments and Other Procedures for Auction 72, Public Notice, 22
FCC Rcd 3404 (2007).
304 See "Auction of Phase II 220 MHz Service Spectrum Licenses Closes, Winning Bidders Announced for Auction
72, Down Payments due July 18, 2007, FCC Forms 601 and 602 due July 18, 2007, Final Payments due August 1,
2007, Ten-Day Petition to Deny Period, Public Notice, 22 FCC Rcd 11573 (2007).
305 Service Rules for the 746-764 MHz Bands, and Revisions to Part 27 of the Commission's Rules, Second Report
and Order
, 15 FCC Rcd 5299 (2000). The Commission amended the service rules in 2007 but did not make
changes to small business size categories. See Service Rules for the 698-746, 747-762 and 777-792 MHz Bands,
WT Docket No. 06-150, Revision of the Commission's Rules to Ensure Compatibility with Enhanced 911
Emergency Calling Systems, CC Docket No. 94-102, Section 68.4(a) of the Commission's Rules Governing
Hearing Aid-Compatible Telephones, WT Docket No. 01-309, Biennial Regulatory Review Amendment of Parts
1, 22, 24, 27, and 90 to Streamline and Harmonize Various Rules Affecting Wireless Radio Services, WT Docket
03-264, Former Nextel Communications, Inc. Upper 700 MHz Guard Band Licenses and Revisions to Part 27 of the
Commission's Rules, WT Docket No. 06-169, Implementing a Nationwide, Broadband, Interoperable Public Safety
Network in the 700 MHz Band, PS Docket No. 06-229, Development of Operational, Technical and Spectrum
Requirements for Meeting Federal, State and Local Public Safety Communications Requirements Through the Year
2010, WT Docket No. 96-86, Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 22 FCC Rcd 8064
(2007).
306 Id. at 5343 108.
307 Id.
308 Id. at 5343 108 n.246 (for the 746-764 MHz and 776-704 MHz bands, the Commission is exempt from 15
U.S.C. 632, which requires Federal agencies to obtain Small Business Administration approval before adopting
small business size standards).
309 See "700 MHz Guard Bands Auction Closes: Winning Bidders Announced," Public Notice, 15 FCC Rcd 18026
(2000).
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licenses commenced and closed in 2001. All eight of the licenses auctioned were sold to three bidders.
One of these bidders was a small business that won a total of two licenses.310
30.
Upper 700 MHz Band Licenses. In the 700 MHz Second Report and Order, the
Commission revised its rules regarding Upper 700 MHz licenses.311 On January 24, 2008, the
Commission commenced Auction 73, which made available several licenses in the Upper 700 MHz band:
12 Regional Economic Area Grouping licenses in the C Block and one nationwide license in the D
Block.312 The auction concluded on March 18, 2008, with 3 winning bidders claiming very small
business status (those with attributable average annual gross revenues that do not exceed $15 million for
the preceding three years) and winning five licenses.
31.
Lower 700 MHz Band Licenses. The Commission previously adopted criteria for
defining three groups of small businesses for purposes of determining their eligibility for special
provisions such as bidding credits.313 The Commission defined a "small business" as an entity that,
together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross revenues not exceeding $40
million for the preceding three years.314 A "very small business" is defined as an entity that, together with
its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross revenues that are not more than $15 million for
the preceding three years.315 The lower 700 MHz Service had a third category of small business status for
Metropolitan/Rural Service Area (MSA/RSA) licenses--"entrepreneur"--which is defined as an entity
that, together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross revenues that are not more
than $3 million for the preceding three years.316 The SBA approved these small size standards.317 The
Commission conducted an auction of 740 licenses (one license in each of the 734 MSAs/RSAs and one
license in each of the six Economic Area Groupings (EAGs)) in 2002. Of the 740 licenses available for
auction, 484 licenses were won by 102 winning bidders. Seventy-two of the winning bidders claimed
small business, very small business, or entrepreneur status and won licenses.318 A second auction
commenced on May 28, 2003, closed on June 13, 2003, and included 256 licenses.319 Seventeen winning
bidders claimed small or very small business status, and nine winning bidders claimed entrepreneur
status.320 In 2005, the Commission completed an auction of 5 licenses in the Lower 700 MHz band. All
three winning bidders claimed small business status.
32.
In 2007, the Commission reexamined its rules governing the 700 MHz band in the 700
MHz Second Report and Order.321 The Commission held an auction of A, B, and E block 700 MHz


310 See "700 MHz Guard Bands Auction Closes: Winning Bidders Announced," Public Notice, 16 FCC Rcd 4590
(WTB 2001).
311 700 MHz Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd 15289.
312 See Auction of 700 MHz Band Licenses Closes, Public Notice, 23 FCC Rcd 4572 (WTB 2008).
313 See Reallocation and Service Rules for the 698746 MHz Spectrum Band (Television Channels 5259), Report
and Order
, 17 FCC Rcd 1022 (2002) ("Channels 5259 Report and Order").
314 See id., 17 FCC Rcd at 108788 172.
315 See id.
316 See id., 17 FCC Rcd at 1088 173.
317 See Alvarez Letter 1998.
318 See Lower 700 MHz Band Auction Closes, Public Notice, 17 FCC Rcd 17,272 (2002).
319 See Lower 700 MHz Band Auction Closes, Public Notice, 18 FCC Rcd 11,873 (2003).
320 See id.
321 700 MHz Second Report and Order, Second Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd 15,289, 15,359 n.434 (2007).
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licenses in 2008.322 Twenty winning bidders claimed small business status (those with attributable
average annual gross revenues that exceed $15 million and do not exceed $40 million for the preceding
three years). Thirty-three winning bidders claimed very small business status (those with attributable
average annual gross revenues that do not exceed $15 million for the preceding three years).
33.
Offshore Radiotelephone Service. This service operates on several UHF television
broadcast channels that are not used for television broadcasting in the coastal areas of states bordering the
Gulf of Mexico.323 There are presently approximately 55 licensees in this service. The Commission is
unable to estimate at this time the number of licensees that would qualify as small under the SBA's small
business size standard for the category of Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite).
Under that SBA small business size standard, a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.324
Census data for 2007, which supersede data contained in the 2002 Census, show that there were 1,383
firms that operated that year.325 Of those 1,383, 1,368 had fewer than 100 employees, and 15 firms had
more than 100 employees. Thus, under this category and the associated small business size standard, the
majority of firms can be considered small.
34.
Wireless Telephony. Wireless telephony includes cellular, personal communications
services, and specialized mobile radio telephony carriers. As noted, the SBA has developed a small
business size standard for Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite).326 Under the SBA
small business size standard, a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees.327 According to
Trends in Telephone Service data, 413 carriers reported that they were engaged in wireless telephony.328
Of these, an estimated 261 have 1,500 or fewer employees, and 152 have more than 1,500 employees.329
Therefore, more than half of these entities can be considered small.
35.
Satellite Telecommunications Providers. Two economic census categories address the
satellite industry. The first category has a small business size standard of $15 million or less in average
annual receipts, under SBA rules.330 The second has a size standard of $25 million or less in annual
receipts.331
36.
The category of Satellite Telecommunications "comprises establishments primarily
engaged in providing telecommunications services to other establishments in the telecommunications and
broadcasting industries by forwarding and receiving communications signals via a system of satellites or
reselling satellite telecommunications."332 Census Bureau data for 2007 show that 512 Satellite


322 See Auction of 700 MHz Band Licenses Closes, Public Notice, 23 FCC Rcd 4572 (2008).
323 This service is governed by Subpart I of Part 22 of the Commission's Rules. See 47 C.F.R. 22.1001-22.1037.
324 13 C.F.R. 121.201, NAICS code 517210.
325 U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 Economic Census, Sector 51, 2007 NAICS code 517210 (rel. Oct. 20, 2009),
http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-fds_name=EC0700A1&-_skip=700&;-
ds_name=EC0751SSSZ5&-_lang=en.
326 13 C.F.R. 121.201, NAICS code 517210.
327 Id.
328 TRENDS IN TELEPHONE SERVICE, tbl. 5.3.
329 Id.
330 13 C.F.R. 121.201, NAICS code 517410.
331 13 C.F.R. 121.201, NAICS code 517919.
332 U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 NAICS Definitions, "517410 Satellite Telecommunications."
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Telecommunications firms operated for that entire year.333 Of this total, 464 firms had annual receipts of
under $10 million, and 18 firms had receipts of $10 million to $24,999,999.334 Consequently, the
Commission estimates that the majority of Satellite Telecommunications firms are small entities that
might be affected by our action.
37.
The second category, "All Other Telecommunications," comprises "establishments
primarily engaged in providing specialized telecommunications services, such as satellite tracking,
communications telemetry, and radar station operation. This industry also includes establishments
primarily engaged in providing satellite terminal stations and associated facilities connected with one or
more terrestrial systems and capable of transmitting telecommunications to, and receiving
telecommunications from, satellite systems. Establishments providing Internet services or Voice over
Internet Protocol (VoIP) services via client-supplied telecommunications connections are also included in
this industry."335 For this category, Census Bureau data for 2007 show that there were a total of 2,383
firms that operated for the entire year.336 Of this total, 2,346 firms had annual receipts of under $25
million, and 37 firms had annual receipts of $25 million to $49, 999,999.337 Consequently, the
Commission estimates that the majority of All Other Telecommunications firms are small entities that
might be affected by our action.
a. Equipment Manufacturers
38.
Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communications Equipment
Manufacturing. The Census Bureau defines this category as follows: "This industry comprises
establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing radio and television broadcast and wireless
communications equipment. Examples of products made by these establishments are: transmitting and
receiving antennas, cable television equipment, GPS equipment, pagers, cellular phones, mobile
communications equipment, and radio and television studio and broadcasting equipment." The SBA has
developed a small business size standard for Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless
Communications Equipment Manufacturing, which is all firms having 750 or fewer employees.
According to Census Bureau data for 2007, there were a total of 939 establishments in this category that
operated for part or all of the entire year. Of this total, 784 had less than 500 employees, and 155 had
more than 100 employees.338 Thus, under this size standard, the majority of firms can be considered
small.
39.
Semiconductor and Related Device Manufacturing. These establishments manufacture
"computer storage devices that allow the storage and retrieval of data from a phase change, magnetic,
optical, or magnetic/optical media. The SBA has developed a small business size standard for this


333 See http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-_skip=900&-ds_name=EC0751SSSZ4&;-
_lang=en.
334 http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-_skip=900&-ds_name=EC0751SSSZ4&;-
_lang=en.
335 http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/sssd/naics/naicsrch?code=517919&search=2007%20NAICS%20Search.
336 U.S. Census, http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-_skip=900&;-
ds_name=EC0751SSSZ4&-_lang=en.
337 http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-_skip=900&-ds_name=EC0751SSSZ4&;-
_lang=en.
338 The NAICS Code for this service 334220. See 13 C.F.R 121/201. See also
http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-fds_name=EC0700A1&-geo_id=&-_skip=300&;-
ds_name=EC0731SG2&-_lang=en.
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category of manufacturing; that size standard is 500 or fewer employees storage and retrieval of data from
a phase change, magnetic, optical, or magnetic/optical media."339 According to data from the 2007 U.S.
Census, in 2007, there were 954 establishments engaged in this business. Of these, 545 had from 1 to 19
employees; 219 had from 20 to 99 employees; and 190 had 100 or more employees.340 Based on this data,
the Commission concludes that the majority of the businesses engaged in this industry are small.

D.

Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance

Requirements for Small Entities

40.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking does not adopt any recordkeeping or reporting
requirements.

E.

Steps Taken to Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities, and

Significant Alternatives Considered

41.
The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant, specifically small business
alternatives that it has considered in reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following
four alternatives (among others): "(1) the establishment of differing compliance or reporting
requirements or timetables that take into account the resources available to small entities; (2) the
clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance or reporting requirements under the rule for
small entities; (3) the use of performance, rather than design, standards; and (4) and exemption from
coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities."341
42.
Throughout the NPRM, we examine, and seek comment on, alternatives to address the
regulatory implications discussed in Part A of the IRFA. Specifically, we consider and seek comment on
alternatives such as implementing faster or slower implementation of both short-term and long-term
NG911 capabilities.
43.
The NPRM also addresses a variety of means by which the Commission can further
enhance its regulatory goal of expediting the development and widespread deployment of the short-term
text-to-911 and long-term text and multimedia solutions discussed above in Part A. These alternatives
include regulatory versus incentive-based solutions, state and/or regional approaches, federal approaches,
and other mechanisms for implementing NG911.
44.
We also discuss and seek comment on how to minimize the cost burden on small entities.
In particular, the Notice seeks detailed data that quantifies the benefits that text-to-911 and other NG911
applications will bring to the public and to emergency responders, while also quantifying the costs to
providers, PSAPS, and consumers.
45.
With regard to text-to-911, we consider various methods of achieving our goal of
implementing text-to-911 as an interim solution. These alternatives include approaches based on SMS
and existing architecture, as well as approaches based on software applications. Balancing these
considerations, we believe that PSAPs, providers, and vendors should have the option to implement SMS-
to-911 as a short-term alternative. We also further examine the software application approach and
consider a variety of possible means of implementing that solution.


339 U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 Economic Census, Industry Series: Manufacturing, "Semiconductor and Related
Device Manufacturing ," NAICS code 334413.
340 http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/IBQTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=&-_skip=300&-ds_name=EC0731I1&;-
_lang=en.
341 5 U.S.C. 603(c)(1)-(c)(4).
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46.
Regarding 911 prioritization, the NPRM examines several alternatives to implementing
911 prioritization, including solutions based on Long Term Evolution (LTE). We also seek comment on
timeframes and methods of implementation that reduce the burden on small entities. The NPRM seeks to
meet the Commission's goal of improving consumers' ability to reach 911 in the wake of a disaster in a
manner that reduces the burden on small entities.
47.
Finally, the NPRM examines a variety of means by which consumers can be educated
about the possible limitations of NG911. These alternatives included leveraging existing consumer
education programs, government approaches, and private sector approaches. The NPRM also examines
various mechanisms for informing consumers who attempt to send text messages to 911 in locations
where text-to-911 is not supported.

D.

Federal Rules that May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict with the Proposed Rules

48.
<None.>
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FCC 11-134

STATEMENT OF

CHAIRMAN JULIUS GENACHOWSKI

Re:
Facilitating the Deployment of Text-to-911 and Other Next Generation 911 Applications;
Framework for Next Generation 911 Deployment, PS Docket Nos. 11-153, 10-255
It has been less than two weeks since the 10th anniversary of 9/11; and less than a month after a
rare East Coast earthquake, and after Hurricane Irene caused major flooding and serious damage. These
events remind us of the vital importance of our mission to harness the power of communications
technology to enhance public safety and save lives, and of the need to ensure that our emergency response
systems keep pace with how people communicate.
Public safety is a priority of every member of this Commission. It has been a focus of mine since
my first day as Chairman, when I instructed the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau to conduct
a thorough review of the agency's preparedness for emergencies. Since then, working together, we have
advanced our public safety agenda on multiple fronts, and I'm proud of our accomplishments. But there
is still work to be done.
With input from the public safety community, our federal partners, and other stakeholders, we
have worked to establish an interoperability framework for a nationwide public safety broadband
network. The future of that network is in the hands of Congress, including authorizing voluntary incentive
auctions to fund the public safety network. I am hopeful that Congress will act, but I am also concerned
about further delay. Every day that passes risks not only the economic benefits of incentive auctions; it
also delays the substantial public safety benefits of the network, and increases the costs of building the
network.
An interoperable mobile broadband network for first responders is necessary to harness
communications technology for public safety, but it is not sufficient. And so we've pursued and continue
to pursue multiple initiatives.
Working with FEMA, local public safety authorities, and the wireless industry, we are launching
on an accelerated basis the Personal Localized Alerting Network. In the event of an emergency, PLAN
allows government officials to send text-like, targeted alerts to all enabled mobile devices in a geographic
area. In just a few months, PLAN will go live in New York City, and it will launch nationwide in April
2012.
We have worked with industry to develop best practices to improve the reliability of our
communications networks, and we have developed our outage reporting systems to provide situational
awareness about communications outages in emergencies. To ensure that our networks keep pace with
technological change, we've launched proceedings to consider additional steps to ensure network
reliability, including whether to expand outage reporting to the broadband networks that the public
increasingly relies on.
We have stepped up our support of restoration efforts in the wake of disasters. For example, we
sent FCC personnel to Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake to help with on-the-ground assessment of
communications infrastructure, and since the Japan earthquake in March we have been working with our
colleagues in Japan both to provide assistance and to learn lessons for the future. Here at home, Hurricane
Irene once again proved the value of our Roll Call technology units that can provide vital situational
awareness of wireless transmissions from mobile to broadcast during times of disaster.
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We continue to explore new and innovative ways to use communications technology to assist in
disaster recovery efforts. Today's report from the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau on
deployable aerial communications architecture is a promising example of such innovation.
We have increased our outreach and public education efforts to help the public understand how
they can use communications technology to prepare for and respond to disasters. Yesterday, we joined
with FEMA to release a tip sheet with recommendations for how consumers can best communicate with
public safety and family during and after disasters. We will work with other governmental entities as well
as the private sector to maximize consumer awareness of these tips and advice.
Which brings us to 9-1-1, a cornerstone of our public safety communications infrastructure. Last
month, I announced a five-step plan for accelerating the deployment of Next Generation 9-1-1. Next
Generation 9-1-1 is the emergency response system that will run on the broadband networks of the 21st
century. NG9-1-1 will add incredible value to our 9-1-1 system and all the people who rely on it.
The plan lays out the comprehensive and coordinated strategy we need to avoid patchwork
deployment and years of delay in developing NG9-1-1. The five steps are:

Develop location accuracy mechanisms for NG9-1-1;

Enable consumers to send text, photos, and videos to PSAPs;

Develop an NG9-1-1 cost-effectiveness model;

Facilitate the completion and implementation of NG9-1-1 technical standards; and

Develop a NG9-1-1 governance framework.
We are implementing this plan. In July, we launched the first step with our Order and Further
Notice on location accuracy, which sought to close the accuracy gap between mobile and landline 9-1-1
calls and to lay the groundwork for location accuracy in Next Generation 9-1-1 networks and
applications.
With the NPRM we consider today, we are moving on the second step of our action plan: to
enable consumers to send text, photos, and videos to PSAPs. Our action rests on two basic concepts.
The first concept is that in an emergency, consumers should be able to reach out for help with
whatever means of communications they are accustomed to using. When I visited DC's 9-1-1 call center
on September 9th, I asked Director Jennifer Greene about the challenges she faced. She told me that her
biggest concern is "keeping up with how the community communicates."
For an increasing number of wireless users, that means texting 9-1-1 should be available. Texting
is also important for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, who are discarding their TTYs and turning
with increasing frequency to more advanced but widely available methods of communications like
smartphones. And we shouldn't stop at texting. It is of course increasingly commonplace to take photos
or video on a mobile phone; people should be able to send that information directly to 9-1-1.
But today, if a mobile phone user attempts to send even a simple text to 9-1-1, it goes nowhere.
That's what happened to the students at Virginia Tech who texted 9-1-1 during the terrible shooting
several years ago. A tragedy during the 1990s the carjacking and murder of Jennifer Koon in New York
was significant in spurring the initial focus on NG9-1-1, and is worth recalling. During the incident,
Jennifer Koon was able to call 9-1-1 from her car phone but couldn't speak for fear of alerting her
attacker. The PSAP kept the line open in the hopes the caller would say something, but she never did and
was found dead two hours later. The ability to text 9-1-1 might have saved her life.
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We have been urging the communications and technology communities to develop ways to
implement Next Generation 9-1-1 quickly and cost-effectively. And it is encouraging that even as the 9-1-
1 community works on long-term implementation of NG9-1-1, many vendors, service providers, and
PSAPs are actively exploring and conducting trials of various text-to-9-1-1 methodologies. This
technology could provide for text-to-9-1-1 implementation within a year and at lower costs than
previously imagined.
In today's Notice, we are seeking comment on these trials and initiatives, including a text-to-9-1-
1 proposal by Neustar, which I had the opportunity to see firsthand last week; a text-to-9-1-1 proposal by
Intrado; the recently initiated SMS-to-9-1-1 trial in Durham, North Carolina; and the ATIS Interim Non-
Voice Emergency Services initiative. This is the time to focus on innovation and problem-solving. I urge
all companies, nonprofits, and research institutions in this area to develop by the end of this calendar year
proposals to accelerate deployment of text-to-9-1-1 applications. We would like testing and test data so
that we can move quickly on this national challenge. While accelerated text-to-9-1-1 methodologies may
not provide all the functionality of a fully-realized NG9-1-1 system, they could yield significant public
safety benefits while work on longer-term alternatives continues. The FCC will do its part to consider all
alternatives and move forward quickly.
In addition to empowering people to communicate with 9-1-1 in all the ways they are used to
communicating, the second concept underlying our action today is to make sure that Next Generation 9-1-
1 gives first responders critical tools they need to manage a wide range of information during an
emergency, through 21st century emergency command technology.
How might this work? Imagine a crane collapse that blocks a major city thoroughfare, causing
injuries to numerous drivers and pedestrians and structural damage to nearby buildings and utilities. With
NG9-1-1 technology, first responders in PSAPs would have access to texts, photos, and videos sent from
the scene and could combine these with information from traffic cameras, automated sensors, databases
with maps or building plans, and other sources. This would allow faster and more efficient assessment of
the scope of the emergency, the amount and severity of injuries and property damage, and the impact on
surrounding traffic and buildings. Using this real-time information, emergency managers would be able to
decide how to optimize the deployment of police, fire, and emergency medical personnel, identify the
need for any special equipment, determine the fastest routes for first responders to and from the scene,
and decide whether to send alerts or evacuation notices to people in the area.
A few years ago, this technology may have sounded like science fiction, but today it's
increasingly available for commercial purposes. Innovators are developing these technologies for first
responders from complex database access to mapping to gunshot sensors and other sensors and the
fundamental goal of today's Notice is to accelerate the development and deployment of these
technologies as part of our emergency response communications infrastructure. I'm pleased that today in
our new Technology Experience Center we will be showing demonstrations of NG911 and other public
safety-related technologies.
Let me mention one more important topic in today's Notice -- a matter highlighted by our recent
earthquake. Some wireless networks experienced congestion immediately following the earthquake,
which prevented some 9-1-1 calls from going through. Unless we address this head-on, emergency events
that result in a surge of mobile calls risk a level of congestion that can effectively block access to 9-1-1
from mobile devices during the period of congestion. That is why today's Notice considers the question
of whether and how to prioritize 9-1-1 calls on both existing and next-generation mobile networks.
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Some of the initiatives we are addressing including 9-1-1 prioritization and enabling texting-to-
9-1-1 would increase the demands on our 9-1-1 call centers. In today's Notice, we seek comment on
ways that technology can provide a solution. In many areas, innovators and researchers are tackling the
challenges of digital information overload. I call on our universities and the technology industry to help
develop cost-effective tools and processes to enable PSAPs to better manage the flow of multiple NG9-1-
1-related information streams. I have also directed our Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau to
coordinate with the Department of Defense to determine whether technologies used for situational
awareness on battlefields could have application for our first responders in the event of emergencies.
Finally, even as we seek ways to reduce the cost of NG9-1-1 development and deployment, it is
inevitable that upgrades to our 9-1-1 system will require funding. While the FCC is not a grant-making
institution, we can provide policymakers with information about the costs associated with deploying the
network infrastructure required to link PSAPs and carriers. Therefore, we are initiating the third step of
our five-step plan to develop a cost-effectiveness model -- with the cost study that the Public Safety and
Homeland Security Bureau has presented today. This important study will inform states and localities, as
well as Congress and federal agencies, about the cost implications of design choices as they plan their
NG9-1-1 networks.
While we have now taken action to implement the first three steps of our action plan, we will also
be initiating the remaining steps establishing technical standards and governance by working with our
local, state, and federal partners, public safety, and commercial and other stakeholders and through
agency action. I want to acknowledge the presence today of several leaders in this effort to make Next
Generation 9-1-1 a reality, and thank them for their work so far: Greg Riddle, the President of the
Association of Public Safety Communications Officials, or APCO, and Brian Fontes, CEO of the
National Emergency Number Association, or NENA. In short, I am committed to doing what it takes to
launch NG9-1-1 nationwide as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. This is an important national
challenge, and I encourage broad engagement as we move forward.
I thank each of my colleagues and the staff of our Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau
for their considerable and ongoing work in this area, and thank the other bureaus including our
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau and Wireless Telecommunications Bureau for their
excellent input and collaboration.
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STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER MICHAEL J. COPPS

Re:
Facilitating the Deployment of Text-to-911 and Other Next Generation 911 Applications;
Framework for Next Generation 911 Deployment, PS Docket Nos. 11-153, 10-255
Any meeting where we can vote for improved public safety communications is a good meeting in
my book. In an agenda filled with important matters, nothing trumps enhancing the safety of our citizens.
With this item today we consider a short-term plan to enable texting to 911 and a longer-term route to
include more advanced texting, pictures, and videos to 911. "Longer-term" connotes no less priority, of
course, and I know my colleagues will keep these both on the front burner.
Consumers increasingly rely on and many of them prefer texting as a primary source of
communication. Texting will become increasingly important as we harness the new tools of technology to
the requirements of a safe and secure nation. We saw again recently how quickly networks get over-taxed
and congested, so we must do everything we can to encourage the utilization of new technologies to
report emergencies and the aftermath of those emergencies. We have to get beyond thinking about critical
communications as just traditional voice and realize that consumers don't make a lot of these distinctions
among services and technologies that so often seem to fixate us and stymie us here in Washington, and
especially they don't make them when they are in trouble and need action fast. Indeed today's consumers
might rightly wonder: what's so "next generation" about texting?
In addition to responding to consumer expectations, texting is sometimes the only safe option in
cases where making a call can mean risking your life. And for the disabilities communities, texting
represents an enormous and critical opportunity to protect lives and property. These communities have
been forced to wait on the sidelines of the communications game for far too long, so I'm pleased to see
today's action as part of our larger effort to implement the landmark Twenty-first Century
Communications and Video Accessibility Act.
We're not trying to identify a silver bullet here. Texting is neither a total response nor a perfect
tool. The record so far points out that, unlike phone calls, texts can take precious more time to get to
recipients. And, importantly, they lack the automatic location information that accompanies calls to 911
and that is so important is responding to emergencies. Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) will need
time and resources to build-in the capability to receive, process and respond to texts.
I would note that texting to 911 is apparently not new to this world and is actually on its way to
becoming reality in other parts of the world, including Estonia, Iceland, and the United Kingdom. We
have an opportunity to look at the progress in these areas and incorporate lessons learned in our own
public safety strategies. I am pleased the Notice asks questions about this.
As mentioned, we also look in this item to the longer term by asking how we can enhance 911 by
making use of all the technologies that the Commission has worked so hard to encourage. With
smartphones taking pictures and video everywhere around us, it would be irresponsible not to offer first
responders all these new tools to help them respond quickly and effectively to emergencies.
We also ask if carriers should prioritize 911 calls over all other calls when networks get
overwhelmed, something we saw during the recent East Coast earthquake. I look forward to hearing
about the feasibility and the good that could come from prioritization, but we must also remember that not
all critical emergency communication is 911-bound. What we do not want is a system that would have
the unfortunate effect of preventing us from checking on our children, parents, and other loved ones
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during a time of crisis. I look forward to learning more about how we can balance these important
considerations.
Finally, I would note that there still lingers over all these initiatives to modernize 911 a question
about the proper role for us, the FCC. I, for one, believe Job Number One here is protecting the people.
We need not and should not be timid about asserting our authority in this critical area. I always look
forward to hearing stakeholder viewpoints, but I am committed to the idea that we need to go beyond
aspiration and beyond encouragement to doing everything we can to actually make this happen. Again, it
is the lives and property of our citizens that are at stake.
Today's Notice explores the full range of issues, including how to educate consumers about the
limitations of text to 911 and how to stay aware of changes in the tools available during times of
emergency. If there are other questions we should have asked and didn't, I hope commenters will queue
them up and provide responses. I am optimistic that we will find ways to address all concerns,
particularly if we develop the find of fulsome record needed to do justice to this item.
My thanks to the Chairman for his continued leadership on public safety, to my colleagues for the
concerns and knowledge they have consistently demonstrated, and to Admiral Barnett and the fine staff of
the Public Safety Bureau for making this such a good item. My thanks as well to our public safety
partners both in government and in the private sector. We will rely on your help as we move forward on a
next generation 911.
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STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER ROBERT M. McDOWELL

Re:
Facilitating the Deployment of Text-to-911 and Other Next Generation 911 Applications;
Framework for Next Generation 911 Deployment, PS Docket Nos. 11-153, 10-255
Helping to ensure the safety of the American people is a core priority for government and this
agency in particular. As our robust communications market continues to create innovations that are
literally improving the human condition across the globe, the opportunity for new technology to help save
lives has never been greater. Today, we continue our noble endeavor of exploring paths to deploy next
generation technologies for emergency communications (what we are calling "next generation" 911,
although I suspect that term will become quaint before too long). As we go forward, with our gaze fixed
on the goal of modernizing this framework, we should take extra care to avoid tripping over pragmatic
realities on the ground, such as limited legal authority, technical limitations and unfunded mandates.
Especially given today's economy, the Commission must be careful not to impose costly
requirements on industry that would, in turn, require large taxpayer financed investments by public safety
or overhauls of existing emergency communications systems. As part of this proceeding, we should
examine all potential costs. As we all recognize, today money is either unavailable or tightly managed.
Therefore, I thank the staff for preparing the white paper on 911 costs. The document is detailed and
thorough. I have no doubt that it will serve as a useful tool both internally and externally as we work
together to grapple with these complex legal, economic and technical issues.
Furthermore, I am pleased that today's notice contains questions about the Commission's legal
authority. Ensuring clear and effective communications in times of emergency is a key aspect of the
Commission's mission. At the same time, however, some providers of current and future application-
based communications services are not FCC licensees and thus fall outside of the Commission's
jurisdiction. Given the importance of the topic, however, I am eager to hear all good faith legal
arguments.
In addition, we could all learn more about consumer expectations. The lessons learned from
deployment of wireless Enhanced 911will help guide us in our pursuit of a workable framework for next
generation 911 deployment. For instance, should the Commission require public safety entities to
demonstrate a specified level of technical capability at the statewide or local level as a precondition to
carriers delivering text or other media to them? What steps should be taken, and when and by whom, to
educate consumers on the status of this work-in-progress?
I also appreciate the white paper on Deployable Aerial Communications Architecture in
emergency situations. The recent trifecta of an earthquake, hurricane and tropical storm hitting the East
Coast, has heightened the need for in-depth analysis of potential communications solutions. Thank you
for this excellent primer.
Finally, in this instance, I support our decision to refrain from including draft rules at this point in
the process. Usually, I am a proponent of including draft rules with notices of proposed rulemaking. As
we remain at a preliminary stage, however, final proposals have yet to be developed. As I have noted, we
must develop a strong record illustrating the costs and technical feasibility of implementing this
technology. Accordingly, I approve of this prudent approach to develop the record further before drafting
proposed rules.
Thanks again to all who have contributed today. I am pleased we are taking a comprehensive
approach and I applaud your work.
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STATEMENT OF

COMMISSIONER MIGNON L. CLYBURN

Re:
Facilitating the Deployment of Text-to-911 and Other Next Generation 911 Applications;
Framework for Next Generation 911 Deployment, PS Docket Nos. 11-153, 10-255
This NPRM takes a proper approach toward promoting the development and deployment of NG9-
1-1 technology. American ingenuity and investment in broadband IP networks and applications, has
already led to innovations that could greatly improve public safety communications. These innovations
include M2M communications, such as environmental sensors, which can detect chemical spills, and
gunshot sensors, to improve law enforcement response to crimes.
It is important that we do all we can to accelerate the ability of PSAPs to receive the most
advanced multi-media services IP technology can provide. But, as this item explains, we must
thoughtfully evaluate the challenges our Nation will face, as our emergency communications services
attempt to leverage the advanced features of IP based networks. PSAPs, like all other local government
agencies, must carefully manage their budgets, and upgrading to IP networks can impose significant
costs. Also complicating the matter, is that there are over 6,800 PSAPs nationwide, and each has varying
resources and timetables for improving their operational capability.
The challenges PSAPs face become even more difficult during large scale catastrophes. As the
item explains, the August 23, 2011 East Coast earthquake and Hurricane Irene demonstrated, that
concentrated demands on the capacity of commercial communications networks, hindered the ability of
consumers to make voice calls. It is not realistic to expect all PSAPs to immediately manage the
demands, that come with handling the most advanced IP multi-media services, when many PSAPs are
having trouble handling voice traffic during large scale disasters.
This NPRM balances the interests of advancing emergency communications by allowing PSAPs
to manage their resources for their needs. It begins by charting a development path for three classes of
text-capable communications -- Short Message Service (SMS), IP-based messaging, and Real-Time Text
(RTT). We should establish the proper policies necessary, to help more PSAPs receive and use text
messages, before asking them to take on the expense required to manage the more complex and advanced
IP technologies too quickly. It is also reasonable to try to identify short term and long term goals, in
developing a national plan, for transitioning PSAPs to NG9-1-1 technologies. The cost model white
paper should help the FCC measure the costs and benefits of any approach it considers to promote NG9-
1-1 technologies.
I was particularly pleased to see, that the item devotes so much attention, to properly educating
consumers about what types of communications PSAPs can receive. For those consumers who prefer to
text an emergency message, it is critical that they know if the PSAP they are trying to contact can accept
text messages. All stakeholders should take an approach that welcomes the most creative ideas on this
issue. I applaud the staffs of the FCC and FEMA, for releasing, yesterday, a consumer tip sheet to inform
consumers of the current limitations of PSAPs to receive text messages, and to provide other advice.
When it comes to educating consumers that PSAPs may not be able to receive their emails or
texts, it seems to me that commercial service providers, and handset manufacturers, will play particularly
important roles. They interact most often with consumers and they have considerable experience with
measuring consumer expectation. Also, to the extent that part of the solution involves having service
providers and handset manufacturers play a direct role in educating consumers, these entities know the
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most cost effective manner, for their companies, to provide education tools. I hope that commercial
service providers, will work with the public safety community and consumer advocates, to help us craft
the most cost effective campaign possible to educate consumers about the best ways to send emergency
communications.
I commend Chairman Genachowski, Admiral Barnett, and the staff of the Public Safety
Homeland Security Bureau, for exploring aerial communications platforms, and other innovations, to
enhance emergency preparedness. Although we should continue to improve the reliability of legacy and
broadband networks, we must also prepare for the reality that, despite best efforts, networks will go out of
service. Aerial platforms can provide rapid response solutions to temporarily restore critical
communications. The military has successfully used a number of aerial solutions that are deployable
within the first 12-18 hours of a disaster. I understand there may be technical and coordination issues
when using these various solutions with commercial networks. I hope the relevant stakeholders can help
us address these issues and arrive at a workable solution.
The FCC is also showing leadership by holding a technology demonstration to draw attention to
the latest innovations for providing emergency communications. Welcome to all those entities who are
taking part in the demonstration.
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