In recent months, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a proposed rule that would update their standards to improve location accuracy for wireless calls to 9-1-1, so that emergency responders are better able to find mobile-based 9-1-1 callers.
According to the FCC, their rule change would save about 10,000 lives a year—TEN THOUSAND LIVES EVERY SINGLE YEAR.
Given this estimation, one would imagine that everyone would be on board. Unfortunately, even as emergency responders have overwhelmingly demonstrated their support for the rule, cell phone carriers have dragged their feet. In fact, they have gone so far as to try and craft a backroom deal with the leadership of the Association of Public-Safety Commissioners (APCO), a public safety trade group, aiming to weaken and delay these measures.
Every day, lives are jeopardized by these gaps in the emergency response system —and yet the cell carriers and APCO are hoping to delay or change the FCC rule.
It’s one thing for the American public to be subject to backroom deals that waste their hard-earned money. It’s another thing when a secret deal could cost thousands of lives.
Almost every single relevant public safety organization in the United States supports this rule change. A recent survey found that fully 99 percent—an amazing statistic, if you think about it—of emergency response personnel think the rule change is critically or very important for public safety.
There is no room left for debate. The cell carriers have had their say, the FCC has done its due diligence, and the first responder community has expressed its wholehearted support.
No more delays, no more discussion. We owe it to our public safety officials to give them the tools they need to accurately locate the people who need them, so they can get back to saving lives. We need the FCC to reject any carrier-backed arrangement that would alter or delay their rule.