FCC Wants Better Indoor Location for Wireless 911 Calls
The Federal Communications Commission today issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that it hopes will eventually make it easier for first responders to find people who make wireless 911 calls from within buildings. The FCC updated its E911 rules as recently as 2010, but says another change is necessary because more consumers are ditching landlines in favor of mobile phones. In the short term, the FCC wants wireless network operators to be able to locate both the building and the vertical information necessary to determine the floor from which a wireless 911 call is made. In the long term, the FCC wants operators to offer more granular location data so that the wireless 911 caller may be pinpointed down to the room, office, or apartment. The FCC also wants operators to provide location details to first responders faster. The FCC understands this effort may require new technologies and improved in-building coverage. It is seeking comments on the matter, but did not offer any sort of timeframe or end date for deployment. "The Commission emphasized that its ultimate objective is that all Americans – whether they are calling from urban or rural areas, from indoors or outdoors – receive the support they need in times of emergency."