Emergency Communications: Wireless Enhanced 911 Issues Update [Updated August 4, 2004]   [open pdf - 42KB]

"One of the intents of Congress in passing the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-81), and of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in implementing the act, is to make wireless enhanced 911(W-E911) technology universally available throughout the United States. Enhanced 911 provides Automatic Number Identification (ANI) and Automatic Location Identification (ALI) functions for emergency calls to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). A report on technical and operational problems that might be impediments to timely deployment of 911, known as the 'Hatfield Report', recognized the need to upgrade 911 infrastructure nationwide, discussed some of the difficulties encountered by PSAPs, and recommended the creation of a 911 bureau at the Executive Level. Legislation introduced in the Senate on June 12, 2003 (S. 1250) addressed many of the issues raised in the Hatfield Report, such as federal support for emergency call centers (PSAPs); protection of state funds collected as telephone surcharges for 911; and interconnection with other emergency services. The bill would require the head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) at the Department of Commerce to create a Task Force to facilitate coordination with federal, state and local communications. A companion bill (H.R. 2898) was introduced in the House on July 25. Both bills were reported out of committee. An amended version of the House bill that would include the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a joint program of coordination and funding was passed November 4; the Senate version of the bill has been placed on the calendar for floor action. This report will be updated."

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CRS Report for Congress, RS21028
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