States urged to act on E911 systems

States urged to act on E911 systems

“States hold the keys to ensuring a rapid deployment of E911 services. If States did nothing more than address the funding mechanism for wireless E911 services and indemnity for E911 service providers through appropriate legislation or rulemaking, the vision of State-wide, nation-wide, E911 services for wireless phone users would be close at hand,” asserts XYPOINT Corporation, a “neutral, independent, nationwide liaison between wireless carriers and Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs).”

In its “Report and Order on Enhanced 911 Emergency Calling Systems,” the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) put forth performance standards that wireless carriers must meet in the delivery of 911 services. The FCC proposed the following schedule for making wireless 911 systems more compatible with the present wireline systems.

By October 1, 1997. Phase I. Carriers must begin implementing wireless service for the PSAPs that request the service by April 1, 1997 or earlier. In this case, the carrier must provide enhanced 911 service no later than April 1, 1998.

By April 1, 1998. Phase I completed. Cellular phones, PCS, and certain specialized mobile radio (SMR) operators “must relay the telephone number of the originator of a 911 call and the location of the cell site or base station receiving a 911 call from any mobile handset or text telephone device … to the designated PSAP.”

By October 1, 2001. Phase 2. Caller location information must improve to accuracy of 125 meters in 67 percent of the cases.

The FCC order becomes active when (1) the PSAP administrator has asked its carrier to comply and send number and location information for wireless calls, (2) the PSAP is capable of receiving and using these data elements, and (3) a mechanism for recovering the costs of the new number and location identification services is in place.

According to XYPOINT, 15 states had introduced wireless E911 legislation as of press time. For additional information, contact XYPOINT at (206) 674-1000, fax: (206) 328-1338 and the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials–International, Inc. (APCO), a not-for-profit professional organization dedicated to the enhancement of public safety communications, at (1-888)-APCO-911, e-mail:, web site:

(Source: “NEWSflash,” XYPOINT, Feb. 6, 1997, Vol. 1:2; White Paper, XYPOINT, 1997.)

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