NEAD Ceases Operations

Updated: Feb 21

Database established to assist with dispatchable location and wireless 911 call location

February 14, 2020 Washington, DC


NEAD, LLC

1400 16th Street NW, Suite 600 Washington, DC 20036


February 14, 2020

Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary

Federal Communications Commission

445 12th Street SW Room TWA325 Washington, DC 20554


Re: National Emergency Address Database (NEAD) Decommissioning PS Docket No. 07-114


Dear Ms. Dortch:


Today, we are writing on behalf of NEAD, LLC to inform the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that the National Emergency Address Database (NEAD) Platform has ceased operation and is no longer available to support wireless providers’ provision of dispatchable location information as the Commission described in the Fourth Report and Order on Wireless 9-1-1 Location Accuracy (4th R&O). Although the NEAD-based dispatchable location solution achieved the functional capabilities the Commission described in the 4th R&O, the Fifth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (5th FNPRM) recognized that the NEAD faced certain challenges.1


Consistent with the Privacy and Security Plan for the National Emergency Address Database that was approved by the FCC on November 14, 2017, NEAD, LLC’s vendor has certified destruction of the database consistent with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) Guidelines for Media Sanitization (NIST Special Publication 800-88 Revision 1 (2014)). Dispatchable location and, more broadly, delivery of accurate vertical location information as part of wireless 9-1-1 calls are important objectives for the wireless industry. We look forward to continuing to work with the FCC and other stakeholders to identify ways to deliver accurate vertical location information, including dispatchable location from sources other than the NEAD, which can help further enhance location accuracy for wireless 9-1-1 callers and the public safety community.


Sincerely,

/s/ Thomas C. Power, Secretary


/s/ Tom Sawanobori, Vice President

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1 Wireless E911 Location Accuracy Requirements, Fifth Report and Order and Fifth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 34 FCC Rcd 11592, 11625 ¶ 80 n. 276 (2019) (5th FNPRM) (citing Comments of NENA, PS Docket No. 07-114, at 1 (filed May 20, 2019); Letter from NENA to FCC, PS Docket No. 07-114, at 2 (filed on Oct. 11, 2019); Reply Comments of NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, PS Docket No. 07-114, at 1-3 (filed June 18, 2019); Letter from Charter and Comcast to FCC, PS Docket No. 07-114, at 1 (filed May 24, 2019)).

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APCO International Statement February 18, 2020


Wireless Industry Abandons National Emergency Address Database

On February 14, the wireless industry notified the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that it has abandoned the National Emergency Address Database (NEAD). The NEAD was established to help 9-1-1 professionals and other emergency responders locate wireless 9-1-1 callers indoors by supporting the delivery of dispatchable location information (meaning the street address plus apartment, office number or other information needed to find a caller). Given that the industry has not announced testing of other methods for delivering dispatchable locations for 9-1-1 calls, this announcement represents a setback for 9-1-1 location accuracy. Following months of negotiation in 2014, the industry made a formal commitment to the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) to develop, fund and implement the NEAD. The NEAD was intended to serve as a key source of dispatchable location information for 9-1-1 calls made indoors by providing a secure database to associate Wi-Fi access points and Bluetooth Beacon reference points with validated civic addresses. In 2018, the NEAD underwent early-stage testing that demonstrated the fundamental ability of the NEAD to deliver dispatchable locations. However, while the performance of the NEAD depended in part on the cooperation of other entities such as businesses possessing information on Wi-Fi access points, the industry failed to secure the agreements needed. Separately, APCO has continued to press the wireless industry and FCC for improvements in 9-1-1 location accuracy, always with a focus on achieving dispatchable location using any technically feasible technologies. Recently, APCO filed a formal Petition for Clarification asking the FCC to clarify the location accuracy rules so that wireless carriers provide the 9-1-1 location information expected for the benefit of public safety. "The wireless industry decision to abandon the NEAD without any announcements about alternative approaches to dispatchable location represents a broken promise to the American public," APCO Executive Director and CEO Derek Poarch said. "Today's announcement is disheartening, but APCO will continue advocating for emergency communications centers to receive the best location information possible."

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NENA Statement https://www.nena.org/news/489735/NENA-Statement-on-NEAD-Decommissioning.htm


NENA Statement on NEAD Decommissioning

16 hours ago   (0 Comments) Posted by: Chris Nussman

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On February 14, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was publicly notified by the National Emergency Address Database (NEAD) administrator, NEAD LLC, that the NEAD had been fully decommissioned and would not be made available to the public safety community.


NEAD was originally envisioned in the Roadmap for Improving E911 Location Accuracy, which was agreed upon by the four major wireless carriers, NENA and APCO in 2014. One of the provisions of the roadmap called for establishing a new service, the NEAD, within 36 months of adoption of the roadmap. The NEAD was to be a database of unique addresses of wireless beacons, such as WiFi access points, and a dispatchable location associated with each of them. Wireless devices could then determine which address a 9-1-1 caller was associated with by evaluating which access points they were near. Standards for the NEAD were developed by the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), and major US wireless carriers stood up the NEAD, with FCC approval for its privacy and security plan, according to targets agreed-upon in the 2014 roadmap.


Unfortunately, as reported to the FCC in 2019, the NEAD program ran into a host of logistical issues in provisioning of database information and underperformed in testing, indicating that the program was not sustainable and would not service public safety’s needs. Even in relatively optimistic test conditions, the ATIS Test Bed reported that NEAD provided a correct dispatchable location for less than 50% of calls and reported either no address or an incorrect address for about 25% of calls. This, compounded with the logistical issues NEAD faced in collecting and provisioning initial address information for WiFi hotspots, led for broad industry support falling for the program, including among the NEAD steering and technical advisory committees in which NENA, APCO and the major wireless carriers all participate.


We note that the wireless technology ecosystem has changed considerably since the 2014 roadmap was established. At that time, we did not have special emergency location services methods built into major mobile operating systems and we did not have market-ready barometric-sensing altitude measurement systems available to consumer smartphones, let alone whatever the future holds. The market has evolved to provide solutions that may be used to fulfill the need that the NEAD was originally envisioned for, and potentially at a commercial scale that far exceeds what the 2014 roadmap had ever envisioned.

While supportive of the NEAD’s objectives, NENA was skeptical of the NEAD approach from the beginning, and accordingly insisted on the inclusion of several other guarantees in the 2014 roadmap. Despite our skepticism, we are disappointed that the NEAD approach has proven unsuccessful. Civic address—and indeed, the “door to knock on”—remain a crucial long-term goal for 9-1-1, but we cannot shortcut the path to accurate, sustainable, actionable location information. NENA is committed to ensuring public safety is provided with the best possible 9-1-1 location information and will remain vigilant in overseeing industry progress toward this goal.


We thank those who strove to make the NEAD a success.

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Article from Mission Critical Communications Magazine


Carriers Abandon 9-1-1 Database Designed to Improve Location Accuracy

By Sandra Wendelken, Editor Tuesday, February 18, 2020 | Comments


Wireless carriers abandoned the National Emergency Address Database (NEAD), the platform designed to support wireless providers’ provision of dispatchable location information to 9-1-1 centers, according to a letter filed with the FCC Feb. 14. In the letter, NEAD LLC said it “has ceased operation and is no longer available to support wireless providers’ provision of dispatchable location information as the commission described in the fourth report and order on wireless 9-1-1 location accuracy.”Although the NEAD-based dispatchable location solution achieved the functional capabilities the FCC described in the fourth report and order, the fifth further notice of proposed rulemaking “recognized that the NEAD faced certain challenges.” In a filing last year, CTIA said third-party adoption and scalability issues were substantial challenges to NEAD-based dispatchable location solutions.The 2015 fourth report and order referenced NEAD but didn’t require it under the rules. FCC officials declined to comment.


Following the FCC’s 2015 rules requiring wireless carriers to improve 9-1-1 location accuracy for emergency calls from mobile devices, CTIA established the NEAD. NEAD’s goal was to implement a national database of access points such as Wi-Fi hot spots and beacon location information such as Bluetooth Low Energy to help wireless service providers deliver a dispatchable location to in turn help 9-1-1 call centers respond to emergencies.West Safety Services was selected to develop and operate the NEAD platform. “NEAD LLC’s vendor has certified destruction of the database consistent with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) Guidelines for Media Sanitization,” the letter said.In 2016, the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) released a new standard, titled Location Accuracy Improvements for Emergency Calls (ATIS-0700028 v1.1), which defined the architecture and requirements for buildout of the 9-1-1 NEAD, as well as how information in the database will be processed.


“Dispatchable location and, more broadly, delivery of accurate vertical location information as part of wireless 9-1-1 calls are important objectives for the wireless industry,” NEAD LLC said in its letter to the FCC. “We look forward to continuing to work with the FCC and other stakeholders to identify ways to deliver accurate vertical location information, including dispatchable location from sources other than the NEAD, which can help further enhance location accuracy for wireless 9-1-1 callers and the public-safety community.”The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International criticized the move in a letter to members. “Given that the industry has not announced testing of other methods for delivering dispatchable locations for 9-1-1 calls, this announcement represents a setback for 9-1-1 location accuracy,” said the letter.


Following months of negotiation in 2014, the wireless industry — including CTIA and its members including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA and Verizon — made a formal commitment to APCO and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) to develop, fund and implement the NEAD. In 2018, the NEAD underwent early stage testing that demonstrated the fundamental ability of the NEAD to deliver dispatchable locations. However, while the performance of the NEAD depended in part on the cooperation of other entities such as businesses possessing information on Wi-Fi access points, the wireless industry failed to secure the agreements needed, APCO said.


"The wireless industry decision to abandon the NEAD without any announcements about alternative approaches to dispatchable location represents a broken promise to the American public," APCO Executive Director and CEO Derek Poarch said. "Today's announcement is disheartening, but APCO will continue advocating for emergency communications centers to receive the best location information possible."NENA said that while it was supportive of the NEAD’s objectives, the association was skeptical of the NEAD approach from the beginning and accordingly insisted on the inclusion of the myriad other guarantees in the 2014 Roadmap for Improving E911 Location Accuracy.


“Despite our skepticism, we are disappointed that the NEAD approach has proven unsuccessful, and we thank those who strived to make the NEAD a success,” said Dan Henry, NENA government affairs director. “Civic address — and indeed, the ‘door to knock on’ — remain a crucial long-term goal for 9-1-1, but we cannot shortcut the path to accurate, sustainable, actionable location information. NENA is committed to ensuring public safety is provided with the best possible 9-1-1 location information, and will remain vigilant in overseeing industry progress toward this goal.”


The NEAD decommissioning letter filed with the FCC is here.

______________________________________________________________


RFP for 9-1-1 Location Accuracy Database Released

Friday, October 30, 2015 | 


The 9-1-1 National Emergency Address Database (NEAD), an independent entity established by CTIA last month, announced a request for proposals (RFP) to select a vendor for the NEAD platform. The selected vendor will design and develop the NEAD, expected to provide dispatchable addresses to public-safety answering points (PSAPs) under new FCC rules.

Separately, the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) was chosen as the project manager for the RFP process. ATIS will oversee platform implementation to ensure the selected platform vendor produces a platform in accordance with the FCC’s rules, including privacy and security requirements.The NEAD platform is an important step forward to improve indoor wireless 9-1-1 location accuracy, CTIA said. The FCC adopted new rules earlier this year requiring wireless service providers to improve indoor 911 location accuracy when using mobile devices by delivering a dispatchable location that includes street address plus floor, suite, apartment or other location information.


The FCC’s rules were based on the Roadmap to Improve 911 Location Accuracy adopted by the four nationwide commercial carriers, as well as the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International and the National Emergency Number Association (NENA).CTIA established the NEAD to implement a national database of location information for access points, such as Wi-Fi hot spots, and beacons, such as Bluetooth low energy, that will enable wireless service providers to deliver a dispatchable location that will help 9-1-1 call centers respond to emergencies.“The wireless industry is hard at work to help ensure the country’s emergency 9-1-1 capabilities reflect Americans’ preference for wireless,” said NEAD Vice President Thomas Sawanobori. “Through the NEAD platform and by using technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, first responders will see improved indoor location to help save lives. Our partnerships with ATIS and platform providers, along with member companies and public-safety stakeholders, will enable dispatchable location in accordance with the FCC’s aggressive timelines.”


The RFP is available at http://www.911NEAD.org/.

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