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Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
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TTY: 202/418-2555

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

August 29, 2000

News Media Contact:
Meribeth McCarrick at (202) 418-0654


Washington, DC - The Federal Communications Commission has taken important steps to implement the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999 (911 Act). In the adopted item, the FCC designates 911 as the universal emergency number and seeks comment on a limited number of related issues. The FCC's actions seek to implement the Congressional goals for an expanded and improved nationwide emergency communications system across the United States. Picking up the telephone is usually the first and most important thing to do when an emergency strikes. Making 911 the universal emergency number for both wireline and wireless services and promoting the use of technologies that help emergency service providers locate wireless 911 callers will improve the nation's emergency 911 communications systems and save lives.

The 911 Act was enacted on October 26, 1999 to enhance public safety by encouraging and facilitating the prompt deployment of a nationwide, seamless communications infrastructure for emergency services that includes wireless communications. To ensure a comprehensive approach to emergency service throughout the country, the 911 Act directs the FCC to make 911 the universal emergency number for wireline and wireless telephone service and to establish appropriate transition periods for areas in which 911 is not in use as an emergency telephone number on the date of enactment of the 911 Act. It further directs the FCC to encourage and support the States in developing comprehensive emergency communications throughout the United States so that all jurisdictions offer seamless networks for prompt emergency service.

Specifics of FCC Actions:

  • Designates 911 as the universal emergency telephone number within the United States for reporting an emergency to appropriate authorities and requesting assistance, effective upon the release of the FCC's Order.

  • Seeks comment on appropriate transition periods for areas in which 911 is not currently in use as an emergency number, including service area-specific circumstances and capabilities that the FCC should address before carriers can deploy 911 as the uniform emergency number.

  • Seeks comment on how the FCC should facilitate States' efforts to deploy comprehensive emergency communications systems, such as through guidelines, meetings, or other information-sharing measures, in a manner that does not impose obligations or costs on any person.

Action by the Commission August 24, 2000 by Fourth Report and Order and Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 00-327). Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, Furchtgott-Roth, Powell and Tristani.

FCC Contacts: (Wireless Bureau) David Siehl at (202) 418-1310 or; TTY at (202) 418-7233.

(Common Carrier Bureau): Cheryl Callahan at (202) 418-2320 or; TTY at (202) 418-7223