The U.S. government issued an “enforcement advisory” to providers of certain Internet-based forms of “telecommunications relay services” (TRS) reminding them of the rules governing 9-1-1 emergency call handling requirements for Internet protocol (IP) relay and video relay service (VRS) providers of those requirements.
The 9-1-1 call handling requirements are designed to ensure that individuals with hearing or speech disabilities who use Internet-based TRS receive 9-1-1 service that is comparable to that received by traditional telephone network TRS users, says the advisory, which was issued by Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Enforcement Bureau.
Because of the public safety risks that could result from an Internet-based TRS provider’s failure to complete a 9-1-1 call properly—including passing location-identifying information to the applicable emergency services organization—the Enforcement Bureau issued the advisory. In particular, 9-1-1 emergency call handling requirements apply regardless of the equipment or software used by consumers seeking emergency assistance via Internet-based TRS, the bureau says.
In addition, the 9-1-1 emergency-call handling rules for IP relay and VRS providers are:
- IP relay and VRS providers must transmit all 9-1-1 calls, as well as automatic number identification (ANI, generally the caller’s 10-digit number), the caller’s registered location, the name of the Internet-based TRS provider, and the communications assistant’s (CA’s) identification number for each call, to the public safety answering point (PSAP), or other appropriate local emergency authority that serves the caller’s registered location.
- IP relay and VRS providers must answer incoming emergency calls before any non-emergency call, i.e., prioritize the emergency calls and move them to the top of the queue.
- IP relay and VRS providers must route all 9-1-1 calls through the use of ANI, and, if necessary, pseudo-ANI, via the dedicated wireline E-9-1-1 network to the PSAP, or appropriate local emergency authority that serves the caller’s registered location.
- If the Internet-based TRS is capable of being used from more than one location, the IP relay and VRS provider must offer the consumer one or more methods of updating his or her registered location at will and in a timely manner. At least one of those methods must allow the user to update his or her registered location from the equipment he or she uses to access the Internet-based TRS.
- In the event that one or both legs of the emergency call (i.e., either between the TRS user and the CA or between the CA and the PSAP/other emergency authority) is disconnected, the IP relay or VRS provider must immediately re-establish contact with the TRS user and/or the appropriate PSAP or other emergency authority.