AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile will start providing z-axis data for 911 calls

They have seven days to start providing the data, and a year to work on full deployment and testing.

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SANTA FE, NM - JULY 27, 2017:  A Santa Fe, New Mexico, police car is marked with 'Emergency Dial 911' painted on its side. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)
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A set of commitments between US wireless carriers and the FCC established a 7-day deadline for AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile to start delivering vertical location data for 911 calls nationwide. FCC rules laid out in 2015 set a deadline for the carriers to meet z-axis location accuracy requirements this spring, but the companies wanted an extension due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Within a week, each company needs to deliver z-axis data with a confidence level of 90 percent and report the uncertainty value in meters for all calls, wherever they can deliver the data.

That extra information will help emergency services locate where 911 calls are coming from within multistory buildings, and according to acting FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, "These settlements accomplish what has evaded the agency for too long: they ensure that the FCC, public safety, and wireless carriers work together to immediately start delivering this information to first responders without further delay. They also ensure that we are improving our 911 location accuracy capabilities everywhere in the country and not just in the top 25 markets."

Each consent decree requires the company to start providing z-axis data nationwide within the next seven days, implement a compliance plan with "specific testing, reporting, and public interest conditions" and pay a $100,000 settlement. As Fierce Wireless points out, the decrees push deadlines for full certification and deployment by one year to 2022 (the carriers were asking for an extra 18 months) with benchmarks at regular intervals for testing and status reports.

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