July 2020 - New FCC 911 Vertical (Z-Axis) Location Accuracy Rules

Updated: Jul 20

See All Activity in this Matter, below

July 16, 2020


Final Version - FCC Adopts 6th Report and Order


Background: Quickly and accurately locating 911 callers during an emergency can save lives. To that end, the Sixth Report and Order builds upon the Commission’s efforts to improve its wireless Enhanced 911 (E911) location accuracy rules by enabling 911 call centers and first responders to more accurately identify the floor level for wireless 911 calls made from multi-story buildings. In 2015, the Commission adopted comprehensive rules and deadlines to improve location accuracy for wireless 911 calls made from indoors. Included in these rules, wireless providers must provide dispatchable location (i.e. street address plus additional information, such as floor level, to identify the 911 caller’s location) or coordinate based vertical location information.


In November 2019, the Commission adopted a vertical (z-axis) location accuracy metric of plus or minus 3 meters relative to the handset for 80 percent of indoor wireless E911 calls. Under the timetable previously established in the Commission’s E911 wireless location accuracy rules, nationwide wireless providers must meet April 3, 2021 and April 3, 2023 deadlines for deploying z-axis technology that complies with the z-axis location accuracy metric in the top 50 cellular market areas. The Commission also sought comment on a timetable for nationwide deployment of vertical location accuracy and on proposals to provide flexibility in deployment options for meeting the vertical location accuracy benchmarks.


What the Sixth Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration Would Do:

• Affirm the April 3, 2021, and April 3, 2023, z-axis location accuracy requirements for nationwide wireless providers and rejects an untimely proposal to weaken these requirements.

• Allow wireless providers to deploy technologies that focus on multi-story buildings, where vertical location information is most vital to first responders, and handset-based deployment solutions that meet the z-axis metric.

• Require nationwide wireless providers to deploy z-axis technology nationwide by April 3, 2025. Nonnationwide wireless providers would have an additional year to deploy z-axis technology throughout their service areas (i.e. April 3, 2026).

• Require wireless providers, beginning January 6, 2022, to provide dispatchable location with wireless 911 calls when it is technically feasible to do so.


Sixth Report and Order: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-20-98A1.pdf



June 16, 2020 Wireless Providers Endorse Alternative Z-Axis Framework

On June 11, 2020, CTIA filed an ex parte letter outlining telephone conversations it and several of its members had with FCC staff regarding alternative proposals to the z-axis 9-1-1 location accuracy requirements the Commission adopted in November (Vol. XVI, Issue 47).


CTIA, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile urged the FCC to allow providers to meet the April 2021 benchmark nationwide as opposed to only in the top 25 markets. The providers also emphasized the ability of mobile OS-based solutions to deliver vertical location information that meet the plus or minus three meters metric.


Letter: https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/10616165256794/200615%20CTIA%20Z-Axis%20Meeting%20Ex%20Parte.pdf

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January 16, 2020


Federal Communications Commission PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU ANNOUNCES THE EFFECTIVE DATE AND COMMENT CYCLE FOR THE VERTICAL LOCATION ACCURACY (Z-AXIS) FIFTH REPORT AND ORDER AND FIFTH FURTHER NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING PS Docket No. 07-114 Comment Date: February 18, 2020 Reply Comment Date: March 16, 2020 https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-20-80A1.pdf


NOTE: UPDATES AND CORRECTIONS TO THE FIFTH REPORT AND ORDER WERE ISSUED ON JANUARY 15, 2020 - HERE

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November 22, 2019 - Federal Communications Commission In the Matter of Wireless E911 Location Accuracy Requirements, PS Docket No. 07-114 FIFTH REPORT AND ORDER AND FIFTH FURTHER NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING Adopted: November 22, 2019


All Americans using mobile phones—whether they are calling from urban or rural areas, buildings or outdoor venues—should have the capability to dial 911 and receive the support they need in times of an emergency. Consumers make 240 million calls to 911 each year, and in many areas 80% or Federal Communications Commission FCC 19-124 2 more of these calls are from wireless phones. While advances in technology have improved the overall ability of first responders to locate 911 callers, challenges remain particularly for locating 911 callers in multi-story buildings. To ensure that first responders and Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) can find 911 callers quickly and accurately when a consumer calls from a multi-story building, we adopt a vertical, or z-axis, location accuracy metric of plus or minus 3 meters relative to the handset for each of the benchmarks and geographic requirements previously established in the Commission’s E911 wireless location accuracy rules. This action will more accurately identify the floor level for most 911 calls, reduce emergency response times, and save lives.

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