Video: Chairman Genachowski discusses the promise of next-generation 9-1-1 during a visit to the Arlington County, Va., Emergency Communications Center in November.

9-1-1 is the telephone number used nationwide for callers to report emergencies. Dialing 9-1-1 for non-emergency calls is against the law. 9-1-1 service is a vital part of the nation's emergency response and disaster preparedness system.

Most 9-1-1 systems now automatically report the telephone number and location of 9-1-1 calls made from wireline phones. Enhanced 9-1-1, or E9-1-1, improves the reliability of wireless 9-1-1 calls by providing public safety and emergency response personnel with the location information of a call so they can locate and provide assistance to wireless callers more effectively.  

E9-1-1 requirements are an important part of FCC programs to apply modern communications technologies to public safety. The commission has also commenced a proceeding to examine and chart the transition to Next Generation 9-1-1 services. Working with public safety agencies, carriers, manufacturers and other providers of service, the goal is to ensure that effective emergency response is a critical element of the broadband environment.