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News | 03/31/2003 5:00 am EST

Comment period on E911 closes in United States
The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) consultation on E911 compatibility rules came to a close last week with wireless operators saying E911 should be extended to mobile satellite service (MSS) providers as well. Verizon Wireless stated in its comments that it supports "ending mobile satellite service providers exemption from E911 obligations. … To the extent the commission seeks to impose E911 obligations on wireless resellers, legal and policy reasons support imposing any such obligations on them directly and not in the underlying facilities-based carrier." MSS providers balked at this suggestion. ICO Global Communications argued that subjecting MSS providers to E911 compatibility would require a huge investment in retrofitting their networks. As MSS providers objected to a requirement on their part to adopt E911 standards, the telematics industry also expressed similar sentiments. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Mercedes Benz submitted comments stating that regulating telematics services on vehicles isn’t required because the industry is already competitive and spurring growth and innovation. They said regulation will hamper those efforts. The FCC has mandated E911 for the country’s wireless operators by November of this year. The wireless industry has long opposed any firm deadline saying it is unreasonable to expect to have nationwide E911 by the November deadline.

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