Next Generation 911 Service

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In June 2023, The FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) related to the transition to Next Generation 911 (NG911) service.  The NPRM points out that like communications networks generally, 911 networks are evolving from TDM-based architectures to IP based architectures This transition to NG911 will require the replacement of existing circuit switched technology with IP-based technology by NG911 providers leading to service improvements and reliability. The NPRM points out that most states have invested heavily in NG911, but some have reported that originating service providers (OSPs) are refusing to connect to newly created destination points or are otherwise delaying implementation. As a result of these delays, state and local authorities are incurring additional costs because of the need to maintain both legacy and IP networks. Managing both legacy and IP networks could also result in increased network vulnerability and risk of network outages. Comments and Reply Comments from interested Parties have been filed in this proceeding.

In order to address the above listed concerns the NPRM proposes to expedite the transition to NG911 by adopting certain requirements that would apply to wireline providers, CMRS providers, interconnected VoIP providers, and Internet-based TRS providers as state and local authorities transition to NG911. These requirements include the following:

* Wireline, interconnected VoIP and Internet-based TRS providers would be required to complete all translation and routing to deliver all 911 calls, including associated location information, in the requested IP-based format to an Emergency Services IP network (ESInet) or other designated point(s) that allow emergency calls to be answered upon request of 911 authorities who have certified the capability to accept IP-based 911 communications. Wireline and interconnected VoIP providers would be subject to this requirement six months from the effective date of the IP delivery requirement or six months after a valid request for IP-based service by a state or local 911 authority, whichever is later. Internet-based TRS providers would be subject to the same requirement, but the compliance period is twelve months. For CMRS providers, this requirement was addressed in a previous FCC proceeding.

* Providers would be required to transmit all 911 calls to destination point(s) in those networks designated by a 911 authority, including to a public safety answering point (PSAP), a designated statewide default answering point, a local emergency authority, a ESInet, or other points designated by 911 authorities that allow emergency calls to be answered, upon request from 911 authorities that have certified the capability to accept IP-based 911 calls.

* The NPRM proposed that absent agreements by states or localities to the contrary, providers must cover the costs of transmitting calls to the points designated by a 911 authority, including any costs associated with completing the translation and routing necessary to deliver the calls and associated location information to the designated point(s) in the requested IP-based format.

As mentioned above, Comments and Reply comments were filed in this proceeding as well as subsequent ex-partes by interested parties. In its ex-partes in this matter, NTCA addressed the proposal that OSPs bear the costs of transmitting 911 calls to the designated points chosen by the NG911 provider in the absence of a state-created cost recovery mechanism. NTCA points out that Rural OSPs would be required to assume potentially significant new transport costs for the routing of NG911 traffic to points that are not of their choosing and may be located outside of the Rural OSPs’ network boundary. Further, because these costs would not appear to be recoverable via USF mechanisms, they will have to be borne by rural consumers who already pay rates that are higher than average urban rates. Absent a state-created cost recovery mechanism, NTCA recommends that these delivery costs should be borne by the NG911 provider responsible for the provision of NG911 and the designation of the routing destinations for NG911 traffic.

We agree with NTCA’s position regarding the responsibility for network costs related to the routing and delivery of NG911 traffic. We will continue to monitor this issue and will provide updates as more information becomes available.


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