FCC Takes First Step to Help Revolutionize America's 9-1-1 Services for Consumers, First Responders
News media Information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D. C. 20554
This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order
constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:
December 21, 2010
Robert Kenny: 202-418-2668
FCC TAKES FIRST STEP TO HELP REVOLUTIONIZE AMERICA'S 9-1-1 SERVICES FOR
CONSUMERS, FIRST RESPONDERSRapid Sharing of Videos, Photos and Data to Improve Emergency Response
Washington, D.C. -- The Federal Communications Commission today took an important step to revolutionize
America's 9-1-1 services for consumers and first responders by adopting a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking
public comment on how Next Generation 911 (NG911) can enable the public to obtain emergency assistance by
means of advanced communications technologies beyond traditional voice-centric devices.
The FCC has undertaken this proceeding in response to a recommendation in the National Broadband Plan
seeking to harness the life-saving potential of text messaging, email, video and photos from mobile and landline
broadband services. Despite the fact that there are more than 270 million wireless consumers nationwide and
that approximately 70 percent of all 9-1-1 calls are made from mobile hand-held devices, today's 9-1-1 systems
support voice-centric communications only and are not designed to transfer and receive text messaging, videos
or photos. In some emergency situations -- especially in circumstances where a call could further jeopardize
someone's life and safety -- texting may be the only way to reach out for help. In addition, many Americans,
particularly those with disabilities, rely on text messaging as their primary means of communication.
The sharing of timely and relevant videos and photos would provide first responders with on-the-ground
information to help assess and address emergencies in real-time. For example, these technologies could help
report crimes as they are happening thus giving law enforcement officials an increased advantage when
The NOI asked a comprehensive set of questions that address a number of issues related to the deployment of
Next Generation 9-1-1 services, including, but not limited to:
The technical feasibility and limitations of text messaging video streaming and photos;
Consumer privacy issues, particularly related to the sharing of personal electronic medical data;
Development of technical and policy standards;
Consumer education and awareness; and
Inter-governmental coordination and coordination within the public safety community.
Action by the Commission, December 21, 2010, by NOI (FCC 10-200). Chairman Genachowski, and
Commissioners Copps, McDowell, Clyburn and Baker. Separate statements issued by Chairman Genachowski,
and Commissioners Copps, McDowell, Clyburn and Baker. PS Docket No. 10-255.
For additional information about the NOI, please contact Patrick Donovan, Policy and Licensing Division,
FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, at 202-418-2413 or via email: Patrick.Donovan@fcc.gov.
News and other information about the FCC is available at www.fcc.gov
Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.