Is 911 Location Data from Hotel, Office or Campus Phones Accurate?

Emergency 911 call centers are in the public eye after Hurricane Harvey devastated southeast Texas and how Hurricane Irma has done the same in south Florida. Consumers expect their call will be routed to the appropriate call center or Public Safety Answering Point when they call 911. They anticipate the location and callback information will be precise enough, so emergency personnel can be promptly dispatched.

Consumers have these capabilities when they make wireline 911 calls. The FCC adopted Enhanced 911 rules for wireless and interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol providers, to enable the development of the same 911 capabilities on those platforms.  

But 911 calls are more complicated when they originate from enterprise-based communications systems that serve environments like office buildings, campuses, and hotels. At its next public meeting later this month, the Commission plans to vote on a Notice of Inquiry about the 911 capabilities of Multi-Line Telephone Systems and IP-based enterprise systems (referred to as Enterprise Communications Systems or ECS). In the NOI, the agency will ask questions about the capabilities of ECS to support direct 911 access, routing, and automatic location information.   

Specifically, the Commission plans to invite public comment on ECS equipment, vendors, and services; typical business arrangements for the provision of ECS; the percentage of 911 traffic originating from ECS; and the E911 and Next Generation 911 capabilities of ECS. The agency wants to know costs, and what percentage of 911 calls are made from an ECS handset.

September 11, 2017


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