UPDATED: FCC requires carriers adopt handset-based E911 requirements

The FCC voted to change the nation's E911 rules for mobile phones, requiring carriers to adopt more stringent handset-based E911 location requirements within eight years. Wireless carriers have historically provided E911 location information by one of two methods: handset-based, where location information is generated by GPS or similar technology installed on a handset, or network-based, where location information is generated by triangulating the caller's wireless signal in relation to nearby cell sites. The FCC said that after an eight-year implementation period in early 2019, it will require all wireless carriers to meet the more stringent location accuracy standards in the handset-based rules. The commission will set a specific sunset date for the network-based standard at a later date, after further notice and comment. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), T-Mobile USA and smaller carriers will be primarily impacted by the rule change. Rural Cellular Association President Steve Berry said in a statement provided to FierceWireless that the new E911 rules will be difficult for rural carriers to implement, and that handset exclusivity deals and a lack of interoperability in the 700 MHz band will be impediments to implementation. Release

Correction, July 13, 2011: This article originally incorrectly stated that the FCC voted to change the nation's E911 rules for mobile phones, requiring carriers to move away from network-based E911 solutions to handset-based ones. The FCC instead voted to require carriers to meet the more stringent handset-based solution after eight years and will phase out separate network-based solution accuracy requirements.

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