9-1-1 service is a vital part of our nation's emergency response and disaster preparedness system. In October 1999, the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999 (9-1-1 Act) took effect with the purpose of improving public safety by encouraging and facilitating the prompt deployment of a nationwide, seamless communications infrastructure for emergency services. One provision of the 9-1-1 Act directs the FCC to make 9-1-1 the universal emergency number for all telephone services.
The FCC has taken a number of steps to increase public safety by encouraging and coordinating development of a nationwide, seamless communications system for emergency services. The FCC has designed and established transition periods to bring the nation's communications infrastructure into compliance.
In order to deliver emergency help more quickly and effectively, the carriers and public safety entities are upgrading the 9-1-1 network on a regular basis. For example, most 9-1-1 systems now automatically report the telephone number and location of 9-1-1 calls made from wireline phones, a capability called Enhanced 9-1-1, or E9-1-1.
The FCC also requires wireless telephone carriers to provide 9-1-1 and E9-1-1 capability, where a Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) requests it. Once it is implemented fully, wireless E9-1-1 will provide an accurate location for 9-1-1 calls from wireless phones.
Other FCC rules regulate 9-1-1 for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), mobile satellite services, telematics, and Text Telephone Devices (TTYs). The 9-1-1 requirements are an important part of FCC programs to apply modern communications technologies to public safety.
The Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999 (911 Act) took effect on October 26, 1999. The purpose of the 911 Act is to improve public safety by encouraging and facilitating the prompt deployment of a nationwide, seamless communications infrastructure for emergency services.
One provision of the 911 Act directs the FCC to make 911 the universal emergency number for all telephone services. Where other emergency numbers had been used, the FCC was directed to establish appropriate transition periods for areas in which 911 was not in use as an emergency telephone number.
State and local authorities continue to expand 911 coverage and upgrade 911 services. Although there may be some counties that still do not have basic 911 services, wireless carriers can deliver 911 calls to the appropriate local emergency authority.
Based on these reports, virtually all carriers now use 911 as the universal emergency number and route 911 calls to an appropriate PSAP. However, emergency services through a PSAP may not be available in all localities.
9-1-1 Master Public Safety Answering Point Registry
In December 2003, the FCC began collecting data to build a registry of public safety answering points (PSAPs). A primary PSAP is defined as a PSAP to which 9-1-1 calls are routed directly from the 9-1-1 Control Office, such as, a selective router or 9-1-1 tandem. A secondary PSAP is defined as a PSAP to which 9-1-1 calls are transferred from a primary PSAP. The PSAP database serves as a tool to aid the Commission in evaluating the state of PSAP readiness and E9-1-1 deployment.
Download the FCC Master PSAP Registry File (xls)
The Registry lists PSAPs by an FCC assigned identification number, PSAP Name, State, County, City, and provides information on any type of record change and the reason for updating the record. The Commission updates the Registry periodically as it receives additional information. For further information concerning the FCC's Master PSAP Registry and carrier reporting requirements, or to notify the Commission of changes to the PSAP Registry, contact Jeannie Benfaida at Jeannie.Benfaida@fcc.gov or at 202-418-2313.
Enhanced 9-1-1 - Wireless Services
The FCC's wireless Enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) rules seek to improve the effectiveness and reliability of wireless 9-1-1 services by providing 9-1-1 dispatchers with additional information on wireless 9-1-1 calls. The FCC's wireless E9-1-1 rules apply to all wireless licensees, broadband Personal Communications Service (PCS) licensees, and certain Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) licensees.
The FCC has divided its wireless E9-1-1 program into two parts - Phase I and Phase II. Under Phase I, the FCC requires carriers, within six months of a valid request by a local Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), to provide the PSAP with the telephone number of the originator of a wireless 9-1-1 call and the location of the cell site or base station transmitting the call.
Under Phase II, the FCC requires wireless carriers, within six months of a valid request by a PSAP, to begin providing information that is more precise to PSAPs, specifically, the latitude and longitude of the caller. This information must meet FCC accuracy standards, generally to within 50 to 300 meters, depending on the type of technology used. The deployment of E9-1-1 requires the development of new technologies and upgrades to local 9-1-1 PSAPs, as well as coordination among public safety agencies, wireless carriers, technology vendors, equipment manufacturers, and local wireline carriers.
- Legal and Regulatory Framework for NG911 Services Report to Congress and Recommendations - February 27, 2013
- Annual Report to Congress on State Collection and Distribution of 911 and Enhanced 911 Fees and Charges - December 21, 2012
- Third Annual Report to Congress on State Collection and Distribution of 911 and Enhanced 911 Fees and Charges
- Second Annual Report to Congress on State Collection and Distribution of 911 and Enhanced 911 Fees and Charges
- Report to Congress on State Collection and Distribution of 911 and Enhanced 911 Fees and Charges