In a proposal approved today, the Federal Communications Commission said it will require mobile operators to track 911 calls indoors.
For years, the FCC has been examining how companies should best request phone calls during an emergency. The latest plan focuses on vertical location information: carriers would have to track the height of a caller's device to within three meters. The plan, according to the FCC, will allow first-responders to better localize callers in busy metropolitan areas where they may need to look for someone in a multi-story building. The carriers would have to meet the requirement for 80 percent of the 91
"The FCC is committed to ensuring that you receive the assistance you need on a 911 call," said Chairman Ajit Pai in a statement. The plan will be fully voted on at a later meeting and will come into force in 2021.
The proposal was not controversial. Consumers advocate public awareness of whether the plan adequately protects sensitive information, but they said today that their concerns are being addressed.
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, one of two Democrats in the five-member Commission, voted against the plan, arguing that the case was still inadequate. "I do not think that's ambitious enough," she said in a statement. "In the years since the introduction of this framework, technology has evolved. It has improved. Our record shows that it is possible to locate 911 callers with greater accuracy – and I think we should be able to do it in less time across the country. "