Legal Framework for Next Generation 911
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Washington, D.C. 20554TTY 202 / 418-2555
Released: November 13, 2012
PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU SEEKS COMMENT ON THE
LEGAL AND STATUTORY FRAMEWORK FOR NEXT GENERATION 9-1-1 SERVICES
PURSUANT TO THE NEXT GENERATION 9-1-1 ADVANCEMENT ACT OF 2012
PS Docket No. 10-255, PS Docket No. 11-153, PS Docket No. 12-333
COMMENTS DUE: December 13, 2012
REPLY COMMENTS DUE: January 14, 2013
part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012.1 Section 6509 of the Act directs the
Commission to issue a report, within one year of enactment, containing recommendations for the legal
and statutory framework for Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) services.2 Specifically, section 6509
SEC. 6509. COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS FOR LEGAL AND STATUTORY
FRAMEWORK FOR NEXT GENERATION 9–1–1 SERVICES.
Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Commission, in
coordination with the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Administrator of the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Office,3 shall prepare and submit a report to
Congress that contains recommendations for the legal and statutory framework for Next
Generation 9–1–1 services, consistent with recommendations in the National Broadband Plan
developed by the Commission pursuant to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of
2009, including the following:
(1) A legal and regulatory framework for the development of Next Generation 9–
1–1 services and the transition from legacy 9–1–1 to Next Generation 9–1–1 networks.
1 Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-96 (2012), Title VI, Subtitle E (Next
Generation 9-1-1 Advancement Act or Act).
2 Id. § 6509.
3 The “Office” referred to in the Act is the National E9-1-1 Implementation Coordination Office (ICO). ICO is
jointly managed by the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
and the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
(2) Legal mechanisms to ensure efficient and accurate transmission of 9–1–1
caller information to emergency response agencies.
(3) Recommendations for removing jurisdictional barriers and inconsistent
legacy regulations including—
(A) proposals that would require States to remove regulatory roadblocks to Next
Generation 9–1–1 services development, while recognizing existing State authority over
(B) eliminating outdated 9–1–1 regulations at the Federal level; and
(C) preempting inconsistent State regulations.4
To assist the Commission in developing the recommendations to Congress that will be included
in the report, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau seeks comment on the issues discussed
Legal and Regulatory Framework for the Development of NG9-1-1 Services and the
Transition from Legacy 9-1-1 Networks to NG9-1-1
Section 6509(1) of the Act states that the report shall include recommendations regarding a
“legal and regulatory framework for the development of Next Generation 9–1–1 services and the
transition from legacy 9–1–1 to Next Generation 9–1–1 networks.”5 The legacy 9-1-1 system is
comprised of approximately 6,800 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs); myriad governance
structures that vary across state, county, and local jurisdictions; a number of service providers; and
funding mechanisms that differ across jurisdictional boundaries. In light of the variation in state-level
approaches to legacy 9-1-1, we seek comment on the ability of states to effectively coordinate the
transition to NG9-1-1, and whether the Commission should recommend that Congress create incentives
or requirements for such coordination at the state or regional level. More specifically, we seek comment
on the following:
Should Congress create requirements or incentives for states to establish NG9-1-1 oversight
bodies at the state or regional level?
Should each state or region designate an organization to be responsible for planning,
coordinating, and implementing the NG9-1-1 system in that particular state or region?
Should state or regional oversight bodies have control over the funding of NG9-1-1 services?
Would the formation of state or regional oversight bodies better ensure adherence to a
standardized architecture that facilitates greater levels of functionality?
4 Next Generation 9-1-1 Advancement Act § 6509.
5 Id. § 6509(1).
Would state or regional oversight bodies enable PSAPs to procure equipment and software at
In the Commission’s NG9-1-1 proceeding, several state agencies advocated that the federal
government play a role in overseeing the deployment of NG9-1-1 services.6 To that end, we seek
comment on what role the federal government should play in NG9-1-1 oversight, and whether the
Commission should recommend that Congress enact legislation defining the federal government’s role.
More specifically, we seek comment on the following:
To the extent that the federal government is involved in NG9-1-1 oversight, what role should
specific federal agencies play, including the Commission, NHTSA, NTIA, and DHS?
Should a single federal entity be established or designated to oversee the transition to NG9-1-
1, and/or to ensure compliance with required standards, coordination, implementation, and
Should a specific federal agency or agencies be responsible for establishing national policy
to ensure consistent regulation of NG9-1-1?
Should a specific federal agency or agencies be responsible for enabling and initiating the
development and deployment of shared state-wide Emergency Services IP Networks
(ESInets) and related cooperative working agreements between federal, state, tribal, and local
What functions and responsibilities should be performed at the federal, regional, state,
Tribal, and local levels in the implementation, transition to, and ongoing operation of NG9-1-
1 in areas including networks, NG9-1-1 functional elements, databases, system operation,
and PSAP operation?
What statutory or regulatory changes, if any, would be necessary for the Commission, other
federal agencies, states, Tribes, or localities to facilitate and oversee NG9-1-1?
What is the feasibility of deploying a national NG9-1-1 infrastructure that would allow
PSAPs to connect to a nationwide ESInet, prior to the deployment of statewide or regional
ESInets? Should Congress take action to promote the development of such a national NG9-
Section 6506 of the Act extends liability protection to providers of NG9-1-1 service by stating
that “a provider or user of Next Generation 9-1-1 services…shall have immunity and protection from
liability under Federal and State law [to the extent provided under section 4 of the Wireless
Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999],” with respect to “the release of subscriber information
6 See Facilitating the Deployment of Text-to-911 and Other Next Generation 911 Applications, Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 13615, 13661 ¶¶ 115-116 (2011) (NG9-1-1 NPRM) (noting that PSCO – California
Technology Agency and the PUC of Ohio favored a national approach). See also PSCO – California Technology
Agency Comments to NG9-1-1 NPRM at 7 (“recommend[ing]” that “the Commission confirm, adopt, and provide
guidance to the States and localities on essential statutory and regulatory changes necessary to successfully deploy
NG9-1-1.”); Texas 9-1-1 Alliance Reply Comments to NG9-1-1 NPRM at 7-12.
7 ESInets are defined in NENA Functional and Interface Standards for Next Generation 9-1-1 Version 1.0 (i3).
related to emergency calls or emergency services,” “the use or provision of 9-1-1 services, E9-1-1
services, or Next Generation 9-1-1 services,” and “other matters related to 9-1-1 services E9-1-1 services,
or Next Generation 9-1-1 services.”8 In the Commission’s NG9-1-1 proceeding, many commenters noted
(prior to the promulgation of Section 6509) that the deployment of NG9-1-1 services may raise liability
concerns for both PSAPs and commercial providers and that liability protections may therefore need to
be modified in an NG9-1-1 environment.9 In addition, some commenters have argued that federal law
requiring parity in state law protection does not adequately protect CMRS providers in implementing
NG9-1-1 because the scope of underlying liability protection is dictated by state law and varies from state
to state.10 Accordingly, we seek comment on whether the Commission should recommend that Congress
take further steps to provide for liability protection to promote the development of NG9-1-1, including
but not limited to the issues below.
Does existing law provide the Commission with authority to provide adequate liability
protection to NG9-1-1 providers, including carriers, vendors, and PSAPs?
Should Congress take steps to further encourage or require states to extend liability
protection to 9-1-1 and NG9-1-1 services?
Should Congress provide direct liability protection for NG9-1-1 services at the federal level?
Current funding mechanisms for the 9-1-1 system rely primarily on surcharges on telephone bills
and therefore may not adequately account for new services that offer emergency communications in a
NG9-1-1 environment. We seek comment on whether the Commission should recommend that Congress
take steps to ensure that 9-1-1 funding mechanisms are technologically neutral so that the funding
obligation does not disproportionately burden certain types of services over others.
Should Congress authorize or require 9-1-1 fee contributions by all service providers and not
just those providing network access?
For example, when a VoIP application or other IP-enabled service is operating over a
8 NG 9-1-1 Advancement Act § 6506.
9 See, e.g., following comments to the Notice of Inquiry (NOI) in the Commission’s NG9-1-1 proceeding: TCS
NOI Comments at 17; PlantCML NOI Comments at 3; Sprint Nextel NOI Comments at 8; L3 NOI Comments at
25; VON Coalition NOI Comments at 5; NENA NOI Comments at 31; CTIA NOI Comments at 10-11; AT&T
NOI Comments at 25-26; L.R. Kimball NOI Comments at 20-21; Motorola NOI Comments at 5-6; Bandwidth.com
NOI Reply Comments at 7 (commenters asserting that the lack of express liability protection for NG9-1-1 has
hindered the deployment of NG9-1-1 networks). See also Sprint Nextel NOI Comments at 8; CTIA NOI
Comments at 10-11; AT&T NOI Comments at 25-26; Motorola NOI Comments at 5-6 (commenters contending
that liability protection is essential to extend 9-1-1 requirements to include text). See Framework for Next
Generation 911 Deployment, PS Docket No. 10-255, Notice of Inquiry, 25 FCC Rcd 17869 (2010). See generally
NENA, Next Generation 9-1-1 Transition Policy Implementation Handbook, A Guide for Identifying and
Implementing Policies to Enable NG9-1-1, at 21-23 (Mar. 2010), available at
Transition+and+Handbook (last visited Oct. 26, 2012).
10 See, e.g., Motorola NOI Comments at 6; AT&T Comments to NG9-1-1 NPRM at 22-23.
commercial wireless network, should the VoIP or IP-enabled service provider contribute to
the 9-1-1 fund?
Legal Mechanisms for Ensuring Efficient and Accurate Transmission of 9-1-1 Caller
Information to Emergency Response Agencies
“[l]egal mechanisms to ensure efficient and accurate transmission of 9–1–1 caller information to
emergency response agencies.”11 We seek comment on whether the Commission should recommend that
Congress authorize or implement any specific legal mechanisms to ensure the transmission of efficient
and accurate 9-1-1 caller information to PSAPs. More specifically, we seek comment on the following:
Should Congress enact legislation to require or incentivize the development of technologies
that provide more accurate and efficient transmission of 9-1-1 caller information in an NG9-
Should Congress authorize the Commission or another federal agency to measure accuracy
and efficiency of 9-1-1 caller information in an NG9-1-1 environment?
Are there other mechanisms that would improve data collection in an NG9-1-1 environment?
For example, should the Commission collect additional data about NG9-1-1 capabilities in its
PSAP database that the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau maintains?
Recommendations for Removing Jurisdictional Barriers and Inconsistent Legacy
jurisdictional barriers and inconsistent legacy regulations.”12 We seek comment on whether the
Commission should recommend that Congress act to encourage or require the removal of such
jurisdictional barriers and inconsistent regulations. More specifically we seek comment on the issues
Removal of State Regulatory Roadblocks to NG9-1-1 Services Development
Section 6509(3)(A) of Act seeks recommendations on “proposals that would require States to
remove regulatory roadblocks to Next Generation 9–1–1 services development, while recognizing
existing State authority over 9–1–1 services.”13 We seek comment on existing state laws and regulations
that could hinder the development of NG9-1-1 services, and whether the Commission should recommend
that Congress act to require states to remove such laws and regulations. More specifically, we seek
comment on the following:
11 Next Generation 9-1-1 Advancement Act § 6509(2).
12 Id. § 6509(3).
13 Id. § 6509(3)(A).
In the legacy 9-1-1 system, incumbent local exchange carriers are typically the primary 9-1-1
System Service Provider (SSPs). However, in an NG9-1-1 environment, there are likely to
be multiple SSPs offering a variety of service capabilities and options. Are there existing
state approval processes and certification requirements for SSPs that are outdated or overly
Should Congress enact legislation to encourage or require states to update or streamline their
SSP certification processes to facilitate certification of NG9-1-1 SSPs?
Should Congress facilitate the authorization by states of public safety entities to act directly
as NG9-1-1 SSPs?
Are disparate cost recovery mechanisms for originating 9-1-1 traffic and varying
interconnection requirements impeding the deployment of NG9-1-1 services?
Do incumbent 9-1-1 SSPs have sufficient incentives to upgrade their technology to support
NG9-1-1 absent regulatory change at the state level?
Should Congress encourage or require existing state regulations, laws, or tariffs to be
modified to ensure that 9-1-1 governing authorities or new 9-1-1 SSPs are entitled to receive
relevant routing, location, and other related 9-1-1 information at reasonable rates and terms?
Elimination of Outdated Federal 9-1-1 Regulations
Section 6509(3)(B) of Act seeks recommendations on “eliminating outdated 9–1–1 regulations at
the Federal level.”14 We seek comment on whether there are specific federal regulations, including but
not limited to Commission regulations, that may inhibit the development of NG9-1-1 services, and what
actions are needed to modify or eliminate such regulations. More specifically, we seek comment on the
Are there existing Commission 9-1-1 regulations that may inhibit the development and
deployment of NG9-1-1 services? Should the Commission modify or eliminate such
regulations on its own authority?
Are there any regulations of other Federal agencies that may inhibit the deployment of NG9-
1-1 services? Should the Commission recommend that these agencies modify or eliminate
Is Congressional action needed to modify or eliminate outdated federal regulation? Are there
specific actions that the Commission should recommend Congress take?
Preemption of Inconsistent State Regulations
Section 6509(3)(C) of Act seeks recommendations on “preempting inconsistent State
regulations.”15 We seek comment on the degree to which existing federal law preempts or authorizes the
Commission to preempt state regulations that could inhibit the development and deployment of NG9-1-1.
14 Id. § 6509(3)(B).
15 Id. § 6509(3)(C).
We also seek comment on whether the Commission should recommend that Congress enact legislation to
expand the scope of any federal preemption, including but not limited to the following:
Should Congress enact legislation that expressly empowers the Commission or any other
federal agency to preempt state regulations that could inhibit the development and
deployment of NG9-1-1? If so, how should the scope of the Commission’s or other
agency’s preemptive authority be defined?
Should Congress enact legislation that expressly preempts state regulation that could inhibit
the development and deployment of NG9-1-1? If so, how should the scope of statutory
preemption be defined?
Filing InstructionsPursuant to sections 1.415 and 1.419 of the Commission’s rules, 47 CFR §§ 1.415, 1.419,
interested parties may file comments in the above-captioned dockets and on or before the dates indicated
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For further information, please contact Patrick Donovan, Attorney Advisor, Policy and Licensing
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-- FCC --
16 47 C.F.R. § 1.1200 et seq.
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