U.S. FCC Rule Strengthens Wireless 911 Location Accuracy Requirements

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The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken steps to strengthen its Enhanced 911 (E911) rules, thereby helping first responders more quickly locate 911 callers in multi-story buildings and other tall complexes.

According to a Sixth Report and Order issued by the Commission in mid-July, the FCC has now affirmed the so-called z-axis location accuracy metric requirements for wireless service providers. The z-axis metric is a coordinate-based location measurement that establishes the vertical location of a wireless handset within 3 meters. Adopting the z-axis metric as a requirement will enable service providers to transmit more accurate information to 911 call centers on the location of wireless emergency calls originating from multi-story buildings.

Compliance with the z-axis requirements will be mandatory for wireless companies serving the top 25 and 50 U.S. wireless markets, as of April 2021 and April 2023, respectively.

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