Wireless service providers are already required to provide 911 call centers with a "dispatchable location" such as a street address or apartment number. With the new rules, those companies would also have to provide location information on the z-axis, showing the verticality of a caller. Accuracy will have to be plus or minus three meters relative to the caller for first responders to determine what floor they will need to get to. The additional location metric should help when a 911 call comes from a person in an apartment, hotel or other multi-level structures.
The proposal marks the latest effort by the FCC to modernize emergency response systems. In the last decade, the agency has approved a dedicated LTE network accessible to first responders throughout the US, which is operated by AT&T and was finally adopted by all 50 states in 2017. The FCC has also approved text-to-911 services and has explored allowing multimedia and streaming communications with emergency responders.