Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document Attachment


Federal Communications Commission

FCC 14-13




Wireless E911 Location Accuracy Requirements, PS Docket No. 07-114
Improving emergency response times has been a primary goal for 9-1-1 services, since
1967, when President Lyndon Johnson first encouraged the FCC to collaborate with the wire line
industry in the development of a nation-wide emergency number. Consumers have made it clear
that improving response times for 9-1-1 calls from wireless phones must also be a national
priority. As today’s item notes, the number of American households that are wireless only has
grown from roughly 16 percent, in 2007, to 39 percent. And, for those living below the poverty
line, that number has risen to 54 percent.
At our November 2013 workshop on location accuracy, we listened with unease about
call centers in certain areas of the country not receiving the information they needed to dispatch
help to those in need because mobile calls pose more challenges to first responders than wire line
calls. Citizens understandably expect and believe that their mobile handsets – especially those
smartphones with location based services – provide them with the same capacity to get help as
their wire line phones. But all too often, this is simply not the case and the results can be
Last month, at a Senate hearing on location accuracy, a witness testified that in Horry
County, South Carolina, where you can find sixty miles of sun and fun, on and near Myrtle
Beach, along with millions of other visitors each year, how 50% of their 9-1-1 callers cannot
provide dispatchers with meaningful location information. And, with estimates as high as 80
percent of emergency calls being placed from cellular phones, it should come as no surprise that
we have also been hearing pleas for location standards when wireless 9-1-1 calls are made from
indoors. Location services must improve, as quickly as possible, and the Commission’s response
time to that end should also be swift.

We must ensure that our public safety obligations keep pace with consumer demand and
technology shifts and I commend Chairman Wheeler for bringing forth a comprehensive Further
Notice just three months after the November workshop. The item includes creative rule proposals
and asks a wide range of technical questions designed to improve the timeliness and accuracy of
all wireless location information. It also proposes, for the first time, location accuracy standards
for wireless 9-1-1 calls from indoor locations. I am pleased that we seek comment on testing
compliance with all of these standards and on requiring carriers to send location information
within 30 seconds from the time the mobile consumer makes her 9-1-1 call.
Also noteworthy are the detailed questions about how developments in roaming, Wi-Fi,
location based services and emerging technologies could impact the delivery of location
information. We need to make sure our location accuracy standards account for future
innovations in mobile services. The Further Notice also properly seeks comment on the abilities
of PSAPs to access the location data that wireless providers send.
I understand some members of the wireless industry are bristling because the
Commission is proposing to enhance the location accuracy rules at a pace that is seen as a bit
aggressive. But today’s item asks the wireless industry, the public safety entities, and others to
work collaboratively toward developing alternative proposals for our consideration. And allow
me to point out that one of the hallmarks of leadership in this industry is that it has, on many
occasions, exceeded our expectations. We have already heard from those, who concur, that it is

Federal Communications Commission

FCC 14-13

time for the industry to adopt indoor location standards, and today, I wish to commend those
entities. It would be great to see other examples of this kind of leadership, and for the wireless
industry to actually move ahead of schedule, in implementing all the proposed location accuracy
rules that our nation so desperately expects and needs.
I thank Admiral Simpson, and the dedicated staff, of the Public Safety Homeland
Security Bureau, for their good work on this Further Notice, and for the presentation this

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, , or as plain text.


You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.