The FCC has reached "enforceable" agreements with the three top wireless carriers to start providing location information for 911 calls ASAP, resolving an Enforcement Bureau investigation into their request for extensions of the deadline to provide that potentially lifesaving information.
Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said that AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have all agreed to provide "vertical" location information within the next seven days, which will help first responders locate 911 callers in multi-story buildings.
"Six years is too long to wait for 911 vertical location information that can save lives," said Rosenworcel. "These settlements accomplish what has evaded the agency for too long: they ensure that the FCC, public safety, and wireless carriers work together to immediately start delivering this information to first responders without further delay."
The FCC had adopted rules back in 2015 but gave providers until April 2021 to start complying in the largest markets.
All three had sought extensions of the April 3, 2021 deadline for providing the information in the top 25 markets, citing challenges related to COVID-19. The FCC launched an investigation into the providers and the deadlines and current capabilities to provide the information.
As a result of that investigation, the Enforcement Bureau reached settlements with the three requiring them to start providing the info, to implement a compliance plan with specific testing, reporting and public interest conditions, and to pay $100,000 apiece.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.