Federal Communications Commission
News Media Information 202 / 418-0500
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
September 22, 2011
Lauren Kravetz (202) 418-7944
FCC MOVES AHEAD ON EFFORTS TO PRIORITIZE 911 CALLS AND
ENABLE CONSUMERS TO SEND TEXT, PHOTOS, VIDEO AND DATA TO
911 CALL CENTERS DURING EMERGENCIES
Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Also Presents Study on NG911 Connectivity Costs
Washington, DC The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sought comment today on ways to
modernize the current voice-based 911 system to a Next Generation 911 (NG911) system that will enable the
public to send texts, photos, videos, and other data to 911 call centers. As a result of the East Coast
earthquake on August 23, 2011, the Commission also sought comment on whether and how to prioritize calls
to 911 over other calls during emergencies, which are usually the moments when wireless networks
experience the most congestion and calls fail to go through.
The Commission recognized the need to ensure the availability of reliable voice-based 911 service, while
moving forward with a NG911 system that adds text and other information capabilities that will significantly
improve emergency response, saving lives and reducing property damage. Enabling text, photos, video and
data to 911 call centers allows consumers to communicate with 911 in the same way they communicate with
others on a daily basis. It also enhances public safety by giving consumers the ability to text 911 when a
voice call is difficult or dangerous. NG911 is also particularly beneficial to people with disabilities.
The text, photo, video, and data capabilities of NG911 will also provide 911 call centers and first responders
with enhanced information and improved technological tools that can be synthesized with existing databases.
This allows 911 call centers to dispatch the appropriate emergency response more quickly, a difference that
can save lives during emergencies.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
examines short-term and long-term options for enabling consumers to
send texts to 911, including the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches. The Commission is
also seeking comment on long-term development of multimedia NG911 technology that would support
delivery of photos, videos, and data to 911, in addition to texting. The Commission will consider the
appropriate role for the agency in facilitating and, if necessary, accelerating the rollout of these
capabilities, and encouraging the parallel development of NG911 capabilities in 911 call centers. The
Commission also noted that the transition to NG911 is not likely to occur uniformly across the country and
asked for comment on how best to educate the public about the availability, capabilities, and limitations of
NG911 as it is deployed.
At today's meeting, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau also presented a cost study on NG911
network connectivity costs, entitled, "A Basis for Public Funding Essential to Bringing a Nationwide Next
Generation 911 Network to America's Communications Users and First Responders."
Bureau staff analysis determined that NG911, because of its ability to leverage commercial off-the-shelf
technology, has the potential to be more cost-effective to operate and upgrade than the legacy 911 system.
The study offers two models for NG911 deployment: a baseline model and a cost-effective model that
assumes cost savings from a reduction in the total number of 911 call centers nationwide and a greater
percentage of call centers sharing NG911 infrastructure as opposed to operating their own dedicated systems.
Based on these assumptions, the baseline model concludes that the network connectivity and call routing
costs to transition to NG911 will be approximately $2.68 billion over 10 years. In the cost-effective model,
the transition costs are approximately $1.44 billion.
Action on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
by the Commission, September 22, 2011, by Notice of
(FCC 11-134). Chairman Genachowski and Commissioners Copps, McDowell, and
Clyburn. Separate Statements issued by Chairman Genachowski and Commissioners Copps, McDowell, and
PS Docket Nos. 10-255, 11-153.
For further information on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
, contact David Furth at (202) 418-0632 or email@example.com
or Patrick Donovan at (202) 418-2413 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information on the Cost Study, contact Jennifer Manner at (202) 418-3619 or email@example.com
For more news and information about the FCC
please visit www.fcc.gov