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September 15, 1999

Statement of Commissioner Gloria Tristani
on Adoption of the Third Report and Order in the Matter of Revision of the Commission's Rules to Ensure Compatibility with Enhanced 911 Emergency Calling Systems

As more and more Americans sign up for wireless phone service and usage keeps growing, consumers continue to cite access to emergency services as one of the most important reasons for owning a wireless phone. Every day, Americans make nearly 100,000 emergency calls on their wireless phones. That's 70 calls a minute to report an accident, to stop a crime, to save a life. Today, the Commission takes a meaningful step to ensure that that the public safety community has access to Enhanced 911 (E911) capability to locate and respond more rapidly to wireless 911 calls.

In our action today, we adopt a sensible approach to promote the rapid deployment of Automatic Location Identification (ALI)-capable technology for wireless 911 calls. The rules we adopt here will provide carriers with the ability to choose the best ALI technology option in light of their geographic coverage and customer base - whether it's a network- or handset-based solution.

It's clear that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for wireless E911 location identification. The phase-in approach for handset-based solutions which we adopt today involves trade-offs, but I believe that public safety is advanced by requiring increased location accuracy and early deployment for handset-based solutions. Moreover, these rules may speed ALI deployment in rural areas, where a handset-based option may provide a more effective and less costly solution. I recognize that much work remains to be done to ensure that consumers nationwide can benefit from ALI implementation, but I am pleased by the progress we make today.