9-1-1 Issues Prominent at Capitol Hill Hearing
On July 12, the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology in the U.S. House of Representatives held an FCC Oversight Hearing during which many of the FCC Commissioners raised 9-1-1 issues.
FCC Chairman Wheeler stated that “unless we find a way to help the nation’s PSAPs overcome the funding, planning, and operational challenges they face as commercial communications networks evolve, NG911 will remain beyond reach for much of the nation.” Mr. Wheeler called on Congress to help create a “national 911 map” for routing and location across boundaries, cybersecurity defenses for PSAPs, and a nationwide NG9-1-1 implementation date with matching funds to help state and local communities achieve this goal.
FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel devoted a portion of her testimony to her recent visit with APCO member and Dallas Police Department 911 Manager Betty Wafer, and spoke of the “steely calm” of 9-1-1 professionals like Ms. Wafer, adding “these are people who listen to us at our most troubled and then help ensure that help is on the way.” The Commissioner then urged action on preventing states from diverting fees collected for 9-1-1 purposes, and to jump start a stalled federal grant program for NG9-1-1 deployment to help create blueprints for use nationwide.
Further, FCC Commissioner Pai, a champion of improving 9-1-1 for MLTS (multi-line telephone systems), referred to progress being made on the Kari’s Law Act of 2016, which would require MLTS systems to have a default configuration that allows direct 911 calling.
All written testimony, as well as a video archive of the hearing, can be found at https://energycommerce.house.gov/hearings-and-votes/hearings/oversight-federal-communications-commission-3.