FCC Updates Rules to Improve 9-1-1 Reliability

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission adopted rules to promote public safety by ensuring that 9-1-1  centers receive timely and accurate notifications of network disruptions that affect 9-1-1 service. These notifications will help 9-1-1 centers maintain emergency services and inform the public when to use alternatives to call 9-1-1.

According to the FCC:

One of the ways the Commission oversees the integrity of 9-1-1 communications infrastructure is by requiring service providers to report network outages to both the Commission and 9-1-1 centers. Currently, the Commission has different outage notification rules for providers that serve 9-1-1 centers (covered 9-1-1 service providers) and the wireless, wireline, and VoIP providers that individuals use to call 9-1-1 (originating service providers). The new rules improve the framework for reporting network outages that potentially affect 9-1-1 service and harmonize requirements, including the means, timing, and frequency of providing notification.

The updated rules will standardize the type of information conveyed in the notifications and ensure that it is clear and actionable, regardless of where an outage occurs in the call processing network. The updated rules also require service providers to maintain up-to-date contact information for the 9-1-1 call centers they serve.

In addition, the Commission retained its current requirement that covered 9-1-1 service providers file annual 9-1-1 reliability certifications, which will help the Commission promote the continuity of 9-1-1 service during the transition to Next Generation 9-1-1.

Maryland residents demand and expect 9-1-1 emergency services to be reliable and efficient. Next-generation technology is required to keep up with this increasingly complex public safety function – improving wireless caller location, accommodating incoming text/video, and managing crisis-driven call overflows. Maryland counties are leading the way in building a statewide Next Generation 9-1-1 system to equip public safety agencies and first responders with 21st-century tools and technology to protect residents and save lives.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Commission to Advance NG911 across Maryland, a 2018 MACo Legislative Initiative, was established to update state laws and the 9-1-1 financing system to provide the flexibility and resources needed for the deployment of a statewide NG911 system. In 2019, the General Assembly passed landmark legislation to update state laws and the 9-1-1 financing system to provide the flexibility and resources needed to deploy a statewide NG911 system.

The Commission, chaired by Senator Cheryl Kagan, included 9-1-1 directors, technology and telecommunications industry representatives, cybersecurity professionals, a bipartisan group of legislators, and other stakeholders to assure a smooth and equitable transition to NG911.

As a result of the Commission’s work, Maryland passed several laws to bolster the framework and resources to guide a successful statewide transition to NG911, enhancing public safety communications in Maryland and our local communities. Additionally, the Commission’s work led to several laws to bolster the framework and resources to guide a successful statewide transition to NG911, enhancing public safety communications across the state.

Visit the FCC website for more information.

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