FCC Chairman Wheeler's Response to Senator Schumer Regarding Implementation of Text to 911 and Next Generation 911

On June 27, Sen Charles Schumer (D-NY) wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler about emergency 911 services.

Sen Schumer wrote: “Recent events have demonstrated the need to access 911 dispatchers with more than traditional voice calls. In fact, during the Orlando shooting, many individuals were able to use their cell phones to text loved ones; however they were unable to text 911. The usefulness of an advanced 911 system in states where the technology exists demonstrates the substantial help it is for those with disabilities or in situations where initiating a voice call may be too dangerous. In areas where call centers experience high call volumes, 911 technologies like Next Generation (NG911), which supports voice, text, data, and video communication, can help overburdened emergency centers better handle their response.”

On August 23, Chairman Wheeler replied saying, “I agree that we collectively can do more to help the nation's PSAPs overcome the funding, planning, and operational challenges that are stalling the transition to NG911 , and I will continue to be an aggressive champion towards that end. In your letter, you urge the Commission to convene all the appropriate stakeholders to identify barriers to NG911 implementation and ways to speed up the process. We have already begun this task by convening our PSAP Task Force, which has brought together many of the nation's leading experts on 911 and NG911 , including practicing 911 professionals from state and local government, as well as representatives from public safety organizations, industry, consumer groups, and the federal government. Earlier this year, the Task Force issued a comprehensive report containing recommendations to help PSAPs migrate to Next Generation architecture, develop sustainable funding models, and provide cybersecurity protection to the 911 system as it transitions to IP-based technology. The Task Force is continuing to refine its recommendations and we are committed to working with all stakeholders to help implement them. In particular, we intend to expand our engagement to include local and state government leaders, including state legislators and governors, who are essential to making the NG911 transition happen in their states and communities.”

FCC Chairman Wheeler's Response to Senator Schumer Regarding Implementation of Text to 911 and Next Generation 911 Letter (Sen Schumer)