February 22, 2022
For Immediate Release
FCC CHAIRWOMAN PROPOSES PLAN FOR NEXT GEN 911
Revenues from Upcoming Spectrum Auctions Could Help Fund Digital Upgrades to 911 Nationwide
WASHINGTON, February 22, 2022 – FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel today proposed a plan to dedicate proceeds from upcoming spectrum auctions toward a nationwide investment in digital, next generation 911 services. In a speech today at the National Press Club celebrating the 10th anniversary of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), the Chairwoman proposed that, if and when Congress reauthorizes the FCC's spectrum auction authority, it consider taking the funds from future spectrum auctions and putting them toward the nation's transition to next-generation 911, which would benefit public safety in every state and territory.
"Historically, our nation's 911 systems have been updated through fees on bills and a mix of town, county, and state funding measures. But as with first responder communications, it's time for a nationwide, digital upgrade. This is a generational change that needs broader support," said Rosenworcel in today's speech. "Once again, we would be using the auction of public airwaves to support public safety. And the funds would flow to every state and jurisdiction with 911 call centers to help make next-generation 911 a reality nationwide. Think of it this way: This is next-generation spectrum for next-generation 911. I think this is a golden opportunity."
Next-generation 911 means better support for voice, text, data, and video communications. For those who call 911, it will mean the opportunity to offer real-time video of the emergency. It will mean the ability to provide first responders with instantaneous pictures. It will mean the ability to transmit a patient's medical records right to 911 dispatchers. For those who take calls in an emergency, all of this data can expedite and inform public safety efforts, and dramatically improve emergency response.
The FCC's authority to auction spectrum is scheduled to expire at the end of this fiscal year, on September 30, 2022. As Congress considers legislation to extend it, the Chairwoman proposes that they take the first set of funds raised from the FCC's next auctions and use them to support a nationwide upgrade of 911.
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Office of the Chairwoman: (202) 418-2400 / @JRosenworcelFCC / www.fcc.gov/jessica-rosenworcel
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. Cir. 1974).
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