FCC Issues Report in Compliance With National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020
April 15, 2021
As directed by Congress, this Report examines the benefits, technical feasibility, and potential costs of transmitting 988 calls with dispatchable location information, i.e., “the street address of the calling party and additional information such as room number, floor number, or similar information necessary to adequately identify the location of the calling party.” Based on our analysis of the record, we conclude that transmitting geolocation information, including dispatchable location information, with 988 calls would have significant benefits.
We therefore recommend the establishment of a multi-stakeholder advisory committee, with experts tasked with developing detailed recommendations on how to address several challenging matters that must be resolved to make transmitting dispatchable location with 988 calls feasible. We recommend that this advisory committee address issues including: (1) legal and policy considerations regarding consumer privacy and legal authority with respect to mandating transmission of location information, including dispatchable location information, with 988 calls; (2) technical implementation standards for providers, including fixed, mobile, and over-the-top providers; and (3) cost recovery and/or funding requirements for providers, the Lifeline, the Veterans Crisis Line, and individual local crisis centers. Working group participants should include representatives from handset manufacturers, telephone service providers, Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) and 911 system service providers, the Lifeline and its local crisis centers, the Veterans Crisis Line and its call centers, mental health services organizations, federal agencies, and state and local governments. By convening a multi-stakeholder group with varied expertise, we anticipate that it will be possible to progress toward consensus recommendations to Congress and/or the Commission on potential legislation and/or regulatory actions that could specifically address the challenging issues that arise in connection with including dispatchable location information with 988 calls.