Today’s Regulatory Mix: FCC Reports on 911 Over Wi-Fi, NENA and Nation’s 911 Leaders Call for Changes in US House 9-1-1 Funding Bill, USAC is Notified of FCC Review and Approval Procedures for 2021 Schools and Libraries Funding PIA
FCC Reports on 911 Over Wi-Fi
The Federal Communications Commission submitted a report to Congress indicating that Wi-Fi could be used to expand emergency services – eventually. There have been significant improvements to the provision of voice and broadband connectivity over Wi-Fi for non-emergency communications that can be used to improve emergency communications. At this time, however, there are many issues – both technical and policy – that need to be resolved before 911 calls can reliably interact with mobile devices, cellular networks, Wi-Fi networks, and public safety answering points.
NENA and Nation’s 9-1-1 Leaders Call for Changes in US House 9-1-1 Funding Bill
In a recent press release, groups representing the state and local leaders of America’s 9-1-1 systems are pleased that the infrastructure bill being assembled in the U.S. House includes major funding for 9-1-1 system upgrades, but they are concerned that some provisions in the bill could undermine the rollout of Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1).
In a March 19 letter to the leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee from NENA: The 9-1-1 Association and the National Association of State 9-1-1 Administrators (NASNA), the groups said, “We strongly support Congressional efforts to make the investments necessary to ensure an advanced and secure emergency communications infrastructure.” But they added that Congress must make modifications to the LIFT America Act “or risk compromising NG9-1-1 for many years ahead.”
Specifically, NENA and NASNA seek to work with Congress to improve LIFT-Act language pertaining to:
- NG9-1-1 Standards: The Act would create a new program at the National Institutes of Standards and Technologies (NIST) to develop NG9-1-1 standards and technology. This is unnecessary because there is already widespread support of the NENA “i3” standard, which is consensus-based and reflected in many states’ ongoing NG9-1-1 projects. The prospect of new federal standards would create uncertainties in those projects and could strand billions of dollars in current state investments.
- Interoperability: The bill’s language on interoperability is imprecise and could block funds from being used to assist with the transition from current 9-1-1 systems to NG9-1-1.
- Cybersecurity: While the security of our nation’s 9-1-1 systems is vital, the solution outlined in the act would undermine state and local control of their 9-1-1 systems; create significant new privacy, technical, and legal challenges to NG9-1-1 implementations; and impose additional costs and administrative burdens — all without a clear roadmap for success.
- NG9-1-1 Advisory Board: NASNA and NENA do not believe a new advisory board is necessary, but if such a board is created, its role should be limited in time and scope, and it should not be exempted from the Federal Advisory Committee Act.
USAC is Notified of FCC Review and Approval Procedures for 2021 Schools and Libraries Funding PIA
The Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sent a letter to notify the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) that the Bureau approves the Schools and Libraries Funding Year 2021 Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) FCC Form 471 Review Procedures, subject to further modifications and/or instruction from the Commission.
The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.