As we have said before, wireless devices, at their core, are public safety tools. With more than 396,000 wireless 911 calls made daily, Next Generation 911 (NG911) systems must be able to provide dispatchers with the critical information needed so emergency responders can address situations quickly and efficiently. NG911 technologies have the power to transform the way wireless consumers, including those with disabilities, contact emergency services. CTIA and our members remain committed to providing NG911 services and ensuring all consumers have access to innovative mobile technologies as their lifeline. As the NG911 system is deployed, it’s critical that additional regulation isn’t imposed on carriers.
In our reply comments to the FCC on their NPRM on the short- and long-term deployment of text-to-911 and other NG911 applications, we recommended that the Commission:
- Rely on voluntary, industry-led collaborative efforts in the development and deployment of NG911 or interim solutions;
- Recognize that the Commission has no legal authority to require interim or NG911 solutions, such as SMS-to-911;
- Not consider SMS as an interim solution for text-based communications to 911;
- Focus Commission resources on the long-term development of an NG911 system; and
- Acknowledge that prioritizing wireless 911 calls does not serve the public interest at this time.
The FCC has reached a crossroads in the development of NG911. Carriers have invested substantial personnel and financial resources toward developing NG911 technologies to ensure all users have access to emergency services. Mandating an interim text-to-911 solution would not only be costly and difficult, but also risks forcing a technical solution that does not consider the needs and concerns of the wireless industry and public safety.
As the proceeding’s record proves, there is widespread consensus on a number of NG911 issues. CTIA and its members are committed to fulfilling the promise of NG911 services for all citizens, including individuals with disabilities. We urge the Commission to rely on voluntary industry-led collaborative efforts with public safety and consumer stakeholders, which will best serve the public interest.