[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 43 (Wednesday, March 5, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 12442-12458]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-04731]


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FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

47 CFR Part 20

[PS Docket No. 10-255 and PS Docket No. 11-153; FCC 14-6]


Facilitating the Deployment of Text-to-911 and Other Next 
Generation 911 Applications; Framework for Next Generation 911 
Deployment

AGENCY: Federal Communications Commission.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: In this Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Second 
Further Notice) the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) 
seeks comment on a proposed timeframe and several aspects of 
implementation of text-to-911 service, particularly relating to the 
technical ability of interconnected text providers to comply with a 
text-to-911 mandate. Specifically, the Commission seeks comment on a 
proposal that text-to-911 capability should be made available by all 
text providers no later than December 31, 2014, and should be provided 
within a reasonable time after a PSAP has made a valid request for 
service, not to exceed six months. The Commission also seeks further 
comment on several issues that we anticipate will be part of the long-
term evolution of text-to-911, though it does not propose to require 
their implementation by a date certain. These include: Developing the 
capability to provide Phase II-comparable location information in 
conjunction with emergency texts; delivering text-to-911 over non-
cellular data channels; and supporting text-to-911 for consumers while 
roaming on Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) networks. The Second 
Further Notice is adopted with the goal of obtaining information from 
the public on proposed rules for the implementation of text-to-911.

DATES: Submit comments on or before April 4, 2014 and reply comments by 
May 5, 2014. Written comments on the Paperwork Reduction Act proposed 
information collection requirements must be submitted by the public, 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and other interested parties on 
or before May 5, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by PS Docket No. 10-255 
and PS Docket No. 11-153, by any of the following methods:
     Federal Communications Commission's Web site: http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs2/. Follow the instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Mail: Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street 
SW., Washington, DC 20554.
     People with Disabilities: Contact the FCC to request 
reasonable accommodations (accessible format documents, sign language 
interpreters, CART, etc.) by email: FCC504@fcc.gov or phone: 202-418-
0530 or TTY: 202-418-0432.

For detailed instructions for submitting comments and additional 
information on the rulemaking process, see the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section of this document.
    Parties wishing to file materials with a claim of confidentiality 
should follow

[[Page 12443]]

the procedures set forth in Sec.  0.459 of the Commission's rules. 
Confidential submissions may not be filed via ECFS but rather should be 
filed with the Secretary's Office following the procedures set forth in 
47 CFR 0.459. Redacted versions of confidential submissions may be 
filed via ECFS.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Timothy May, Public Safety and 
Homeland Security Bureau, (202) 418-1463 or timothy.may@fcc.gov. For 
additional information concerning the proposed Paperwork Reduction Act 
information collection requirements contained in this document, contact 
Benish Shah (202) 418-7866, or send an email to PRA@fcc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This is a summary of the Commission's Second 
Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 14-6; PS Docket Nos. 10-255 
and 11-153; adopted on January 30, 2014 and released January 31, 2014. 
The full text of this document is available for public inspection 
during regular business hours in the FCC Reference Center, Room CY-
A257, 445 12th Street SW., Washington, DC 20554, or online at http://www.fcc.gov/document/text-911-policy-statement-and-second-fnprm.
    This document will also be available at ECFS at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/ecfs. Documents will be available electronically in 
ASCII, Microsoft Word, and/or Adobe Acrobat. The complete text may be 
purchased from the Commission's copy contractor, 445 12th Street SW., 
Room CY-B402, Washington, DC 20554. Alternative formats are available 
for people with disabilities (Braille, large print, electronic files, 
audio format) by sending an email to fcc504@fcc.gov or calling the 
Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 
(voice) (202) 418-0432 (TTY).

Summary of the Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

I. Introduction

    1. One of the core missions of the Federal Communications 
Commission is promoting the safety of life and property of the American 
public through the use of wire and radio communications. Consistent 
with that overarching obligation, the Commission has specific statutory 
responsibilities with respect to 911 service. As mobile wireless 
communications are becoming increasingly central to the day-to-day 
lives of Americans, a growing percentage of 911 calls originate on 
wireless networks (one study found that 75 percent of 911 calls in 
California came from wireless phones). At the same time, current trends 
in mobile wireless usage have shown continued evolution from a 
predominantly voice-driven medium of communication to one based more on 
data transmissions; for example, from 2009 to 2011, average minutes of 
use per subscriber per month, a measure of voice usage, continued to 
decline, while U.S. mobile data traffic increased 270 percent from 2010 
to 2011, having more than doubled each year. In light of these trends 
and the importance of ensuring effective 911 service--particularly for 
those who cannot access 911 call centers with a voice call--and as 
articulated in the Commission's Report to Congress and Recommendations 
on a Legal Framework for Next Generation 911 Services (NG911 Report), 
we believe that text-to-911 capability is a necessary first step in the 
development of Next Generation (NG) 911 capabilities.
    2. At the broadest level, access to 911 is a core value that 
translates across communications platforms, including text 
applications, and should not be lost or devalued as technology changes. 
In 2011, the Commission adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to 
bridge the gap between the habits and needs of the texting public and 
the services supported by wireless carriers and interconnected text 
providers.\1\ In 2012, the Commission adopted a Further Notice of 
Proposed Rulemaking, proposing a framework to ensure that all consumers 
would be able to send emergency texts to 911 regardless of the texting 
service provider they use.\2\
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    \1\ In the Matter of Facilitating the Deployment of Text-to-911 
and Other Next Generation 911 Applications, Framework for Next 
Generation 911 Deployment, PS Docket No 11-153, PS Docket No. 10-
255, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 13615 (2011) (2011 
Notice).
    \2\ In the Matter of Facilitating the Deployment of Text-to-911 
and Other Next Generation 911 Applications, Framework for Next 
Generation 911 Deployment, PS Docket No 11-153, PS Docket No. 10-
255, Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 26 FCC Rcd 15659 (2012) 
(2012 Further Notice).
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    3. This Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Second 
Further Notice) seeks further comment on the proposed timeframe and 
several aspects of implementation, particularly relating to the 
technical ability of interconnected text providers to comply with a 
text-to-911 mandate. We also seek further comment on several issues 
that we anticipate will be part of the long-term evolution of text-to-
911, though we do not propose to require their implementation by a date 
certain. These include: (1) Developing the capability to provide Phase 
II-comparable location information in conjunction with emergency texts; 
(2) delivering text-to-911 over non-cellular data channels; and (3) 
supporting text-to-911 for consumers while roaming on CMRS networks.
    4. In seeking additional information in this Second Further Notice, 
we recognize that there is already a robust record on many of the 
issues and proposals that were presented in both the 2011 Notice and 
the 2012 Further Notice. In posing these further questions, we seek to 
supplement the record as to the specific issues identified herein.

II. Background

    5. Americans are increasingly relying on text as an alternative to 
voice for everyday communications. In general, ``text messaging'' 
refers to any service that allows a mobile device to send information 
consisting of text to other mobile devices by using domestic telephone 
numbers. Examples of text messaging include Short Message Service 
(SMS), Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), and ``interconnected text'' 
applications. SMS is a text messaging service component of 
communications systems that uses standardized communications protocols 
to enable wireless and fixed devices to exchange messages no longer 
than 160 characters. MMS is a standard way to exchange messages that 
include multimedia, such as photos and videos along with text, between 
wireless devices. ``Interconnected text'' applications use IP-based 
protocols to deliver text messages to a service provider and the 
service provider then delivers the text messages to destinations 
identified by a telephone number, using either IP-based or SMS 
protocols.
    6. Current reports indicate that 91 percent of American adults own 
a cell phone, and that of those cell-phone owning consumers, 81 percent 
use their phones to send and receive text messages. Texting ``continues 
to be one of the most prevalent cell phone activities of all time'' and 
is particularly ubiquitous among younger cell phone users. The median 
number of texts sent by those 12-17 years of age in 2011 was 60 text 
messages per day, with 63 percent of teens indicating texting as a 
daily activity.
    7. Moreover, ``over-the-top'' (OTT) texting applications are 
growing increasingly popular and have already eclipsed short messaging 
service (SMS) text messages provided by wireless carriers in terms of 
volume.\3\ ``Over-the-

[[Page 12444]]

top'' generally refers to applications that operate on Internet 
protocol (IP)-based mobile data networks and that consumers can 
typically install on data-capable mobile devices. In contrast, SMS 
requires use of an underlying carrier's SMS Center (SMSC) to send and 
receive messages from other users. MMS-based messaging makes use of the 
SMSC but also involves the use of different functional elements to 
enable transport of the message over IP networks. Over-the-top text 
applications enable consumers to send text messages using SMS, MMS or 
directly via IP over a data connection to dedicated messaging servers 
and gateways. Over-the-top texting applications may be provided by the 
underlying mobile wireless provider or a non-affiliated third-party, 
and may be ``interconnected'' or ``non-interconnected.'' In mid-2013, 
one third-party text messaging application reported more than 250 
million active users, transmitting more than 18 billion messages per 
day. In mid-2013, the six most popular mobile chat applications 
averaged nearly 19 billion messages each day, compared to 17.6 billion 
SMS messages. In 2014, one report projected that over the top text 
messaging will outpace SMS text messaging by 50 billion to 21 billion.
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    \3\ See Facilitating the Deployment of Text-to-911 and Other 
Next Generation 911 Applications, PS Dockets No. 11-153, 10-255, 
Report and Order, 28 FCC Rcd 7556 (2013) (Bounce-Back Order).
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    8. In September 2011, the Commission released the 2011 Notice, 
which sought comment on a number of issues related to the deployment of 
Next Generation 911 (NG911), including how to facilitate the deployment 
of text-to-911. In the 2011 Notice, the Commission observed that 
sending text messages, photos, and video clips has become commonplace 
for users of mobile devices on 21st century broadband networks, and 
that adding non-voice capabilities to our 911 system will significantly 
improve emergency response, save lives, and reduce property damage. 
Moreover, the Commission stated that incorporating text and other media 
into the 911 system will benefit: (1) The public in terms of the 
ability to access emergency help, both for people with disabilities and 
for people in situations where placing a voice call to 911 could be 
difficult or dangerous; and (2) PSAPs by providing them with better 
information that can be synthesized with existing databases to enable 
emergency responders to assess and respond to emergencies more quickly 
and effectively.
    9. In December 2012, AT&T, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, and Verizon 
entered into a voluntary agreement with the National Emergency Number 
Association (NENA) and APCO International (APCO) in which each of the 
four carriers agreed to provide text-to-911 service by May 15, 2014, to 
PSAPs that are capable of, and request to receive, text-to-911 service 
(Carrier-NENA-APCO Agreement). The signatory carriers made certain 
commitments related to their text messaging services, including 
implementation of the service to a PSAP ``within a reasonable amount of 
time'' not to exceed six months after such PSAP makes a ``valid'' 
request of the carrier. The agreement also stated that, ``consistent 
with the draft ATIS Standard for Interim Text-to-9-1-1, the PSAPs will 
select the format for how messages are to be delivered'' with 
incremental costs for delivery being the responsibility of the PSAP. 
Under the terms of the agreement, carriers were to meet these 
commitments ``independent of their ability to recover these associated 
costs from state or local governments.'' The carriers committed to 
working with NENA, APCO, and the Commission to develop outreach for 
consumers and support efforts to educate PSAPs. The carriers' 
commitments also did not extend to customers roaming on a network.
    10. The Carrier-NENA-APCO Agreement followed on a number of 
successful trials of text-to-911, and voluntary reports submitted to 
the Commission since the agreement detail the ongoing activities of the 
four carrier-signatories in this regard. As of December 31, 2013, 
Verizon Wireless reports ``some 46 different jurisdictions are using 
one of the text-to-911 options that Verizon currently supports (up from 
37 in October 2013), and several additional deployments are currently 
scheduled through 2014.'' AT&T has reported that it is in the process 
of launching a standards-based trial service for text-to-911 in the 
state of Tennessee for the end of the first quarter of 2014, and also 
reports a statewide six-month trial with the state of Vermont, which 
launched on August 23, 2013.
    11. Shortly after the signing of the Carrier-NENA-APCO Agreement, 
the Commission adopted the 2012 Further Notice, which proposed, inter 
alia, to require all CMRS providers, as well as other providers of 
interconnected text messaging services, to support the ability of 
consumers to send text messages to 911 in all areas throughout the 
nation where PSAPs are also prepared to receive the texts. The 2012 
Further Notice's baseline requirements were modeled on the Carrier-
NENA-APCO Agreement, and the Commission sought comment on whether all 
carriers, including regional, small and rural carriers, and all 
``interconnected text'' providers can achieve these milestones in the 
same or similar timeframes. In this respect, the 2012 Further Notice 
recognized prevalence of SMS-based messaging, but also noted the trend 
towards IP-based messaging platforms. The 2012 Further Notice proposed 
that the Commission apply any text-to-911 rules it may adopt to both 
SMS and IP-based text messaging services. The Commission noted that, to 
the extent that consumers are gravitating to such IP-based applications 
as their primary means of communicating by text, they may reasonably 
come to expect that these applications support text-to-911. The 
Commission also recognized the public interest benefits associated with 
enabling IP-based messaging users to send texts to 911 from those 
applications--applications with which the user is familiar--as consumer 
familiarity is vital in emergency situations where seconds matter. To 
that end, the 2012 Further Notice sought to ensure that consumers 
ultimately have access to the same text-to-911 capabilities on the full 
array of texting applications that they use for everyday 
communication--regardless of provider or platform.
    12. In May 2013, the Commission issued a Report and Order (Bounce-
Back Order) requiring CMRS providers and interconnected text providers 
to supply consumers attempting to send a text to 911 an automatic 
``bounce back'' message when the service is unavailable. In requiring 
this bounce back messaging, the Commission found a ``clear benefit and 
present need'' for persons who attempt to send emergency text messages 
to know immediately if their text cannot be delivered to the proper 
authorities, citing evidence that many consumers already believe they 
can send text messages to 911. The Commission further determined that 
in emergency situations, where call volumes can spike and networks 
become congested, consumers are often unable to place voice calls, and 
that in these instances it is particularly important that consumers 
seeking emergency assistance by text receive a notification when text-
to-911 functionality is not available. Evidence in the record further 
compelled the Commission to extend the bounce back obligation to 
providers of interconnected text messaging service, citing the 
proliferation of smartphones and significant volume of messages using 
non-SMS or non-MMS applications that ride on cellular data networks. 
The Commission noted specifically that, ``[a]s these applications 
proliferate, consumers are likely to assume that they should be as 
capable

[[Page 12445]]

of reaching 911 as any other telephone number.''

III. Discussion

A. Timeframe for Implementation of Text-to-911 Capability

    13. We seek comment on a proposal that text-to-911 capability 
should be made available by all text providers no later than December 
31, 2014, and should be provided within a reasonable time after a PSAP 
has made a valid request for service, not to exceed six months. We seek 
specific comments on this tentative conclusion, particularly with 
respect to small or rural CMRS carriers and interconnected text 
providers, none of whom are parties to the Carrier-NENA-APCO Agreement. 
Would PSAPs and consumers benefit from our establishment of a uniform 
deadline of December 31, 2014, for both CMRS and interconnected text 
providers?
    14. With respect to CMRS providers other than the four signatories 
to the Carrier-NENA-APCO Agreement, we believe that implementation by 
December 31, 2014, is achievable. First, the progress made by the four 
major providers illustrates the technical feasibility of text-to-911 
implementation for other CMRS providers, including small and rural 
providers. The adoption of the ATIS standard for text-to-911 over the 
SMS platform also satisfies a condition that some small carriers cited 
as a pre-condition to their ability to implement text-to-911. Indeed, 
small and rural providers may be able to achieve cost savings in their 
implementation by leveraging some of the text-to-911 databases and 
other infrastructure that text-to-911 vendors will have in place by May 
15, 2014 to support provision of text-to-911 by the four major 
providers. Thus, providing small and rural providers with a small 
amount of additional time beyond the May 2014 timeframe should provide 
an opportunity for them to undertake the necessary preparatory action 
and spread their costs over a longer period, while still providing 
timely and tangible consumer benefits. The Competitive Carriers 
Association (CCA) also suggests that smaller carriers can meet a 
December 31, 2014 deadline for responding to a valid PSAP request for 
text-to-911 service. We seek comment on these views.

B. Timeframe for Interconnected OTT Text Providers

    15. With respect to interconnected text providers, however, we also 
must take into account the unique technical complexities they may face 
in implementing text-to-911. We therefore seek comment on whether such 
factors weigh in favor of interconnected text providers being subject 
to an alternative timeframe. In general, interconnected over-the-top 
text providers can function both when a connection to an underlying 
CMRS network is present and when it is not. However, those technical 
issues that arise from the routing of texts from Wi-Fi locations need 
not be resolved at this time because we do not propose that they be 
implemented as part of this initial phase of text-to-911 
implementation. Commenters indicate that interconnected text providers 
will likely have to resolve other issues, such as OTT client 
identifiers that would enable ``callback'' from PSAPs, IP addressing, 
security challenges, and operating system (OS) service layer access to 
enable routing 911 texts through different functional components in the 
existing SMS architecture.
    16. Comments to date from public safety entities argue that, even 
considering the technical challenges, ``interconnected text providers 
should be capable of meeting newly-imposed text-to-9-1-1 obligations on 
relatively short timeframes.'' Nevertheless, NENA recommends a two-
tiered approach to compliance deadlines for ``two classes of 
[originating service providers (OSPs)], interconnected and integrated 
text providers, aimed at accommodating differences in interconnected 
text OSPs' platforms.'' NENA further recommends that the Commission 
``strictly limit the additional time granted to interconnected text 
OSPs to emphasize the public interest and necessity embodied by these 
new obligations, and to minimize the extent of consumer confusion that 
could arise during the period between the two deadlines.'' Also, APCO 
encourages the Commission to establish firm dates ``to ensure 
meaningful progress and ultimate compliance'' for these entities.
    17. Other commenters take a contrary view and assert that too many 
technical considerations remain to be resolved before the consideration 
of any deadline. Comcast contends that it is ``premature for the 
Commission to establish a deadline for interconnected text message 
providers to equip their services with a text-to-911 mechanism.'' The 
VON Coalition contends that generating accurate location information 
requires the input of multiple participants in the network ecosystem, 
particularly for third-party texting applications that do not have 
access or control of the underlying network. The VON Coalition also 
contends that GPS alone and commercial location based services are not 
sufficient in the 911 context, noting that manual mapping of Wi-Fi 
routers, for example, may not be routinely updated or audited. VON does 
not view these challenges as ``necessarily insurmountable'' and notes 
that its ``members already are participating in industry working groups 
. . . to find avenues to attempt to overcome them.'' VON submits that 
such approaches ``will require significant cooperation across a broad 
set of entities (e.g., providers of Wi-Fi access, wireless services, 
OTT application developers, emergency services vendors and providers) 
and standardized global approaches.'' ITI asserts that ``[m]andating 
any technology requirements in application design would be difficult 
and costly for companies that design one application to run across 
multiple devices and platforms.''
    18. A critical factor affecting the feasibility of the timeframe 
for interconnected text providers to implement text-to-911 at the same 
level of functionality as CMRS providers is how quickly interconnected 
text providers can implement a technical solution that will support 
``coarse'' location of application users so that their texts can be 
routed to the correct PSAP. As discussed below, there are several 
technical models exist that could support providing coarse location of 
interconnected text users in the near-term when an underlying 
connection to a CMRS network is present.

C. OTT Text-to-911 Message Delivery Models

    19. While these models are not the only architectural approaches 
that interconnected text providers might take, we describe the key 
aspects of three approaches to solicit comment on them and other 
potential technological solutions that support imposing a near-term 
time frame for interconnected text providers. We seek comment on the 
technical feasibility for interconnected text providers to implement 
these models by the proposed deadline and request comment on how other 
factors, such as necessary software changes, handset development 
cycles, and security issues may affect the timeframes that we would 
adopt.
1. Access CMRS Messaging Platform via API
    20. We recognize that interconnected text providers face an array 
of choices in considering methods to relay a text to a PSAP. As an 
initial matter, although OTT providers' applications are primarily 
designed to use IP-based protocols to deliver text messages to

[[Page 12446]]

destinations identified by a telephone number, they can, however, 
utilize SMS-based protocols and route the text over the underlying 
carrier's SMS network. (While we use the term ``OTT'' in discussing the 
technical protocols that an application may use to route a text message 
to a PSAP, in terms of feasibility for implementation by December 31, 
2014, our proposal remains focused on the subset of OTT providers that 
meet the definition of interconnected text providers.) An OTT texting 
application can be programmed to recognize that the user is sending a 
text message to the text short code ``911'' and automatically invoke 
the wireless device's native SMS application programming interface 
(API) for sending SMS messages. This functionality is distinct from the 
application's normal operating mode which is generally designed to 
route a text via a means other than the native SMS capability of the 
device. Upon invoking the native SMS texting application, the text-to-
911 message will be handled by the underlying wireless carrier, i.e., 
the text will be routed through the carrier's (or its agent's) Text 
Control Center (TCC), which is the functional element of the Short 
Message Service Center (SMSC) dedicated to routing texts to the 
appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).
    21. In this model an SMSC cannot distinguish generally between a 
SMS message generated by an OTT application and the native SMS API. 
Consistent with the SMS-to-911 standard, the carrier's TCC would then 
forward the text along with coarse location information to the PSAP. 
Because of this, we consider it unlikely that consumers in the near 
term will expect text-to-911 to work in those circumstances where 
cellular network connectivity is not available. We believe this method 
is available to OTT providers today and that it can be implemented by 
December 31, 2014, through relatively minor enhancements to their APIs. 
We seek comment on this view.
    22. We note that our view on the feasibility of interconnected text 
providers using this method to support text-to-911 is premised on the 
continued availability of CMRS providers' SMS networks to handle texts 
from OTT providers. We note that the model described here assumes that 
CMRS providers would provide access to their SMS networks for texts to 
911 generated on OTT applications. Some CMRS providers already afford 
this access to some OTT applications, and the model posits that CMRS 
providers could receive requests from other OTT providers for similar 
access to the CMRS provider's native texting application APIs. CMRS 
providers would need to devote technical and product management 
resources to meeting such requests and to ongoing maintenance and 
performance issues. We also note that the average CMRS provider offers 
a wide range of wireless devices to consumers, each having somewhat 
distinct technical parameters and programming to support third party 
applications. Thus, a CMRS provider would have to coordinate with each 
handset manufacturer and associated operating system provider to ensure 
that each device model that is capable of supporting an interconnected 
text messaging application would also be capable of interfacing with 
the CMRS provider's underlying native texting application and SMS or 
messaging platform. We seek comment on these observations. What 
specific considerations should we take into account regarding how CMRS 
providers would implement a requirement to support OTT provider's use 
of their native messaging application? Beyond what we have described 
herein, what specific actions must a CMRS provider take to afford 
access to its underlying SMS or messaging platform? Are there any 
specific industry best practices or guidelines presently in place that 
may serve to provide a framework for the coordination between CRMS 
providers and OTT providers?
    23. In suggesting that a SMS default for interconnected text 
providers can provide a viable near term solution for text-to-911, we 
emphasize that we are not proposing that such a relationship would 
occur absent reasonable compensation to the underlying network provider 
or similar arrangements. Nor do we propose to constrain CMRS providers 
from transitioning their SMS platforms to new technologies if they 
choose to do so at some point in the future. Rather than requiring CMRS 
providers to maintain their SMS platforms in perpetuity for the sole 
purpose of supporting text-to-911 for third-party interconnected text 
providers, we expect that interconnected text providers will need to 
develop alternative text-to-911 delivery methods as technology evolves. 
We seek comment on these views. We believe that, if interconnected text 
providers have access to the API on CMRS carrier devices, those issues 
may be resolvable for interconnected text applications riding over the 
SMS platform. We finally note that resolving such issues may be 
dependent on CMRS carriers not impeding interconnected text providers' 
capability to deliver text-to-911 messages. We therefore propose 
adopting a requirement that CMRS carriers not block the access to 
capabilities that would enable interconnected text providers to provide 
consumers using their OTT applications to send texts to 911. We seek 
comment on these views. We also invite comment on whether this proposal 
and the measures necessary for interconnected text providers to take 
would require timeframes other than the uniform one that we propose. If 
so, what would alternative timeframes would be reasonable?
2. Network and Server Based Models
    24. We also present three additional models by which an OTT 
provider could deliver a text message using APIs that route the text 
via an Internet connection, either over a wireless carrier's data 
network or a non-CMRS Wi-Fi network, to the interconnected text 
provider's server.\4\ In these scenarios, the OTT provider's text 
handling server recognizes that the text message is addressed to 911 
and then interacts with a third-party TCC to route the text to a PSAP. 
In each model, it is assumed that the user has a phone number assigned 
to the user by the wireless carrier. Generally, and consistent with our 
definition of a covered text provider, when a user subscribes to an 
interconnected text messaging service, the OTT provider will provision 
the user with a ten digit phone number to enable the user to send and 
receive texts from other texting application users. In doing so, the 
OTT provider enables the user to avoid relying on the wireless 
carrier's SMS network to route text messages.
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    \4\ For a graphical representation of the models discussed, see 
Second Further Notice at paragraphs 24 through 33, available at 
http://www.fcc.gov/document/text-911-policy-statement-and-second-fnprm.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    25. In our basic server-based model for routing a text message to 
911, we assume that the OTT application uses the same phone number as 
the device itself. In this case, the OTT service provider receives the 
text at its server and passes the originating phone number and message 
to a third-party TCC. It could use a number of messaging protocols to 
effectuate the delivery to the TCC, such as Short Message Peer-to-Peer 
(SMPP), Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) MESSAGE, or Message Session 
Relay Protocol (MSRP). The TCC draws location from a commercial 
location service, just as for the CMRS SMS service, to acquire the 
location of the mobile device.

[[Page 12447]]

    26. A second model relies on using the number assigned by the OTT 
provider to route the text to 911. In this model, the texting 
application invokes a system call on the API, such as on wireless 
devices using the Android Operating System, the system call would be 
the line of code ``getLine1Number()'', which would retrieve the phone 
number string, for example, the MSISDN for a GSM phone, and obtains the 
phone number of the mobile device and conveys it via the protocol 
message sent to the OTT provider's server. The provider, as before, 
then sends the message through a third party TCC, which in turn invokes 
the commercial location service and routes the text to the appropriate 
PSAP.
    27. The third server-based solution relies on the location API in 
the mobile device, rather than a commercial location service, to obtain 
the user's location. Many OTT text applications already obtain the 
user's location for non-emergency purposes. The OTT text application 
includes GPS-based location information with the text content and 
routes the text through its server to the TCC. The use of device 
location would likely offer higher accuracy in many cases and may meet 
the Commission's location accuracy requirements for handset-based 
location delivery. In addition, this solution does not rely on cellular 
data connectivity and continues to work as long as the OTT text 
application can connect to the Internet. These models are not 
exhaustive of those available to OTT providers to route texts to PSAPs; 
in fact, an application could implement both a mobile-based solution 
and a server-based solutions. This would ensure that text messages to 
911 can reach the TCC whether SMS or Internet data service is 
available. We seek comment on whether the models described above are 
consistent with a commercial implementation to support text-to-911. 
What other models might an OTT provider consider using to route a text 
to 911? Which functions are OTT providers capable of handling within 
their servers and which functions are they most likely going to have to 
secure access to third party providers to support routing a text to a 
PSAP?

D. Costs

    28. As discussed above, interconnected text providers face a number 
of technical issues in being able to send text messages from its users 
to PSAPs. Specifically, the VON Coalition notes:

    Resolving these third-party gateway technical challenges would 
not only take time, but once resolved, would impose significant 
costs on providers of software applications--many of which are small 
businesses offering innovative IP-based capabilities at little or no 
cost to consumers. The introduction of third-party gateways and 
vendors (and, thus ongoing payments to and coordination with those 
vendors) into the application provider's service--something that 
would be necessary only if providers were required to try to 
bootstrap the legacy TDM 911 system onto Next Generation IP 
services--introduces complexities and points of possible failure, as 
well as costs the developer did not anticipate. VON understands that 
many third-party vendors typically charge monthly per-subscriber 
fees (regardless of whether or how many subscribers ever use the 
application to try to reach 911), in addition to upfront set-up 
costs. Such per-subscriber costs, or even per-transaction costs, 
could quickly tip an otherwise successful business model on its head 
as the costs approach the revenues (if any) made by the application 
provider.''

    On a related note, Sprint notes that ``[w]hile interconnected text 
providers will incur costs associated with compliance, CMRS carriers 
are also likely to incur additional costs because CMRS carriers will 
need to provide network and device capabilities to interconnected text 
providers.'' Sprint also argues that ``CMRS carriers should not be 
expected to incur such costs without reimbursement from interconnected 
text providers, since any such costs will be undertaken to facilitate 
compliance by a third-party.''
    29. We recognize that a requirement on interconnected text 
providers would impose additional costs. We seek comment on the 
implementation costs associated with the models discussed above. For 
example, with respect to the mobile-based model, we estimate that a 
requirement would impose an implementation cost of approximately $4,500 
per provider per platform, for an industry-wide cost of approximately 
$555,000. We came to this conclusion using the Constructive Cost Model 
II (COCOMO II), which can provide an estimate of the cost, effort, and 
schedule for planning new software development activity.\5\ The model 
analyzes a number of variables concerning software size, specifically 
source lines of code, whether new, reused, modified, or some 
combination thereof; software scale drivers; software cost drivers 
related to product, personnel, operating system platform specifics, and 
project specifics; and software labor rates.\6\ We seek comment on this 
analysis, and we encourage those who disagree with this analysis to 
present their own methodology, analysis, and conclusions. Similarly, we 
seek comment on the costs for CMRS providers to enable OTT application 
interfacing with native text messaging applications. What software 
changes, if any, must a CMRS provider make to its underlying text 
messaging application to support the OTT application? Finally, what 
reoccurring expenses would there be that are not accounted for by 
COCOMO II, such as compliance and operating costs, including payments 
to acquire network and device capabilities from CMRS providers or 
others, depending on solution?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ See University of Southern California, Center for Systems 
and Software Engineering, COCOMO II, available at http://csse.usc.edu/csse/research/COCOMOII/cocomo_main.html (last viewed 
Jan. 8, 2014).
    \6\ The COCOMO II web-based tool requires one to enter the total 
new source lines of code and the cost per person-month in dollars 
and to set a number of software scale and cost drivers at subjective 
levels (e.g., very low, low, nominal, high, very high, extra high). 
See COCOMO II, Constructive Cost Model, available at http://csse.usc.edu/tools/COCOMOII.php (last viewed Jan. 8, 2014). This 
model estimates that a one-time cost of $4,541 will be incurred, 
assuming that (a) 100 new source lines of code must be added to an 
existing application in order to meet the a text-to-911 mandate 
(which we believe is a high estimate, based on our own research), 
(b) the software labor rate is $19,435 per person-month, and (c) all 
cost drivers in the model are set to ``nominal.'' Cost per Person-
Month is estimated as follows: average software engineer/developer/
programmer total mean annual salary of $93,280 (Bureau of Labor 
Statistics (BLS), May 2012); a cost per person-month of 
approximately 173 hours; mean hourly rate of $44.85 (BLS, May 2012) 
plus an estimated overhead factor of 2.5, or $112.13 per person 
hour. ($93,280 x 2.5)/12 = $19,435 cost per person-month. For mean 
annual wage of a software developer of applications, see Bureau of 
Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Occupational 
Employment and Wages, May 2012, available at http://bls.gov/oes/current/oes151132.htm (last viewed Jan. 8, 2014). In general, 
overhead costs are between 150-250 percent of the cost of a direct 
labor hour. See Cynthia R. Cook, John C. Graser, RAND, Military 
Airframe Acquisition Costs (2001) available at http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monograph_reports/MR1325/MR1325.ch9.pdf (last 
viewed Jan. 8, 2014). Moreover, we estimate that at present, there 
are approximately thirty interconnected text messaging services, 
offering their services on anywhere from one to five different 
operating system platforms. To account for future proliferation of 
platform offerings, we estimate that all service providers would 
offer their service across four main operating system platforms and 
that each of them would incur a one-time cost of $4,541 to add 100 
new source lines of code to an existing application, as discussed 
above. The resulting nationwide implementation cost for these 
affected applications would therefore be approximately $544,920 
(i.e., 30 x 4 x $4,541).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    30. Beyond the estimated costs identified herein related to the 
mobile-based model, are there other initial and ongoing costs that 
interconnected text providers would incur to support text-to-911 
service, particularly the server-based models that we have identified? 
For text routing purposes, would

[[Page 12448]]

interconnected text providers be able to use the same vendors that CMRS 
providers use? If so, would their routing costs be similar to those 
involved for CMRS providers? Would a per-incident service model be 
feasible for smaller interconnected text providers, and if so, would it 
be preferable to other alternatives? What costs would be associated 
with a consumer outreach effort from interconnected text providers to 
educate consumers about text-to-911? What other potential costs to 
interconnected text providers should the Commission consider, if any? 
Since many interconnected text providers offer their services at no 
charge and they may incur significant costs to implement text-to-911, 
will interconnected text providers have to start charging for these 
services or are there other ways to obtain revenues to cover these 
costs? What effect will this have on future innovation and competition?

E. Relay Services

    31. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech 
disabilities may elect to use existing text-to-voice relay services 
(e.g., IP relay) to contact 911 when they need to communicate with 
PSAPs. IP Relay is a form of telecommunications relay service that 
permits an individual with a hearing or a speech disability to 
communicate in text using an Internet Protocol-enabled device via the 
Internet, rather than using a TTY and the public switched telephone 
network. These existing relay services do not provide direct delivery 
of text to PSAPs. Moreover, many commenters have asserted, and we 
agree, that relay services have distinct limitations and are not an 
acceptable substitute for direct text access once text-to-911 
capabilities become available in a jurisdiction. Nevertheless, relay 
providers are uniquely situated to ensure that deaf, hard of hearing, 
or speech-impaired individuals can reach emergency personnel because 
only relay providers have the capability to ensure that if a consumer 
attempts to text a PSAP that is not text-to-911 ready, the message will 
still be delivered (as a relay message). We seek comment on whether 
relay service providers--to the extent they offer applications that can 
send text messages to North American Numbering Plan numbers--should 
develop direct text-to-text services to support communication with 
PSAPs that are text-capable, while expediting text-to-voice relay calls 
where the PSAP is not capable of receiving text messages directly from 
a caller. Is it technically possible for current relay technologies to 
support pass-through of a text to a PSAP without relaying the call? 
Could relay service providers re-use some or all of text control center 
(TCC) infrastructure being built for text-to-911 services? Are there 
other ways in which relay providers could improve or augment their 
services to support text-to-911 and the broader transition to NG911? 
What avenues might relay providers use to recoup their costs for 
providing this service?

F. PSAP Implementation

    32. In the 2012 Further Notice, the Commission acknowledged the 
disparate capabilities of PSAPs in terms of accepting and processing 
text messages to 911, and the need for the Commission to take these 
differing capabilities into account. The Commission also proposed a set 
of near-term solutions that would allow non-NG 911 capable PSAPs to 
handle text messages without requiring significant up-front investments 
or upgrades, including the use of web browsers, gateway centers, 
conversion of text messages to TTY calls, and state or regional 
aggregation of text-to-911 processing.
    33. Commenters confirmed that significant differences persist in 
PSAP readiness. Fairfax County, for example, asserts that it ``cannot 
currently accept 9-1-1 messages sent via text'' and that it ``cannot 
predict when a transition from current 9-1-1 to NG9-1-1 will occur 
because the initial planning for a transition to NG9-1-1 is just 
beginning in Virginia.'' Some commenters oppose action by the 
Commission to compel carriers to support text-to-911 absent a parallel 
mandate for PSAPs, or otherwise urge the Commission to condition the 
timing of any mandate on a PSAP's ability to accept text messages.
    34. We expect that broad support of text-to-911 will aid PSAPs that 
are beginning the NG911 transition or considering implementation of 
text-to-911, and that PSAPs may be more willing to do so given the 
availability on the provider side of this important service, in that 
budgeting authorities for states and localities will have more 
certainty to help justify expenditure of public funds. However, we 
recognize that barriers to PSAP implementation of these functionalities 
remain. We are interested in learning more about what those barriers 
are and what additional measures we can take consistent with our 
authority that may encourage more rapid uptake by PSAPs or other 
emergency response authorities to ensure that the all participants in 
the 911 ecosystem are meeting consumer expectations. How can the 
Commission assist in promoting action by PSAPs and others to overcome 
funding or other implementation obstacles? Is there outreach or other 
activities that the Commission or other organizations can undertake to 
facilitate this?

G. Phase II-Equivalent Location for Covered Text Providers

    35. CMRS Providers. We appreciate the advocacy of public safety 
entities for the delivery of Phase II level location information and 
recognize that with currently available technology CMRS carriers face 
technical difficulties in providing Phase II equivalency for text-to-
911 messages. The Carrier-NENA-APCO Agreement, the ATIS standard J-STD-
110, and a large part of the record suggest that only coarse (cell 
sector) location should be used for current text-to-911 purposes. 
However, in the long term cell sector information alone neither offers 
optimal public safety benefits nor resolves the discrepancy in the 
ability of first responders to locate persons with hearing and speech 
disabilities compared to the ability to locate persons making voice 911 
calls. Recent submissions to the record and the capability of smart 
phones to access and transmit precise Phase II level location 
information offer promise that text-to-911 message can be sent with 
more accurate location information to PSAPs. For example, at least one 
CMRS carrier offers subscribers ``thin-client'' applications that they 
can download on their CMRS-capable devices. Potentially, the 
application can acquire the Phase II level information from the 
smartphone's user plane platform and send the more precise location 
through the text control center (TCC) to the appropriate PSAP. However, 
the PSAP may have to ``re-bid'' to obtain the Phase II longitude- 
latitude information. We seek comment on this and similar capabilities 
to provide Phase II equivalent location information.
    36. Several commenters submit that the Commission ``should leave 
the development of precise location information capability for text-to-
911 to further product and application development and related 
standards work using LTE and NG911 technologies.'' Nevertheless, we 
continue to emphasize that the long-term objective is for text 
messaging services, whether from CMRS carriers or interconnected text 
providers, to provide for Phase II equivalent location information with 
text-to-911 calls. We believe that a combination of Commission 
initiatives and industry efforts can achieve this goal. For example, 
concerning the capabilities of CMRS providers to deliver Phase II 
quality location with text-to-911, the

[[Page 12449]]

current CSRIC IV Working Group 1--NG-911 is studying and is due to 
report in March 2014 on the technical feasibility of including enhanced 
location information in text messages sent to PSAPs. In addition, as 
noted below, the NENA i3Message Session Relay Protocol (MSRP) could be 
re-used to retrieve GPS-derived latitude-longitude information. We seek 
comment on these and similar efforts of standards-bodies pursuing such 
solutions and look forward to further input from public safety entities 
and industry that will foster those efforts. At the same time, we 
invite comment on what might be reasonable timeframes to achieve more 
precise location capabilities in sending text messages to 911. We 
stress that one of the critical long term goals to enable PSAPs to 
dispatch first responders more directly to a consumer texting 911 is 
for voice and text service providers to meet the same 911 location 
accuracy requirements.
    37. Interconnected Text Providers. In seeking comment to establish 
such a time frame for interconnected text applications to provide 
coarse location information, we also have a long-term concern for the 
need to ensure that interconnected text messages to 911 have more 
accurate location information routed to PSAPs. One of the described 
server-based solutions, using the location application programming 
interface (API) in the mobile device rather than a commercial location 
service, promises the capability to meet the Commission's Phase II 
location accuracy requirements for handset-based location delivery. 
While the selection of anyone solution by interconnected text providers 
should remain technologically neutral, we seek comment on what 
technological developments need to occur for interconnected text 
providers to implement a solution that provides Phase II equivalent 
location information. Further, we find that the record indicates other 
possible interconnected text-to-911 models that could deliver a more 
precise location. We request comment on the timeframe in which 
interconnected text providers could reasonably adopt and implement such 
approaches. What factors would we need to consider in establishing this 
timeframe? For example, should different timeframes be established, 
depending on whether the text provider is an interconnected or an 
integrated text provider?
    38. Also, we seek comment on what technological developments are 
occurring that would allow interconnected text providers to either 
access a wireless carrier network for cellular data connectivity or 
connect to an IP-based network to provide Phase II equivalent location 
information. Although the CSRIC Working Group's focus is on the 
capability of using the wireless carrier network, we find that to 
address consumer concerns to have the ability to seamlessly reach 911, 
that there should be no distinction between the capabilities of CMRS 
carriers and interconnected service providers to provide Phase II 
equivalent location information. We seek comment on this view. 
Specifically, we request comment on whether there are any technical 
issues that arise for CMRS carriers and not for interconnected text 
providers or vice versa.

H. Roaming

    39. In the 2012 Further Notice, the Commission suggested that it is 
critical for consumers who are roaming to have access to text-to-911 in 
an emergency. However, the Commission acknowledged that the Carrier-
NENA-APCO Agreement does not provide for text-to-911 support for 
roaming subscribers, and that because ``sending and receiving texts 
while roaming involves two networks, the consumer's home network and 
the visited roaming network, roaming may create issues for text-to-911 
because of the greater technical complexity of routing the message to 
the correct PSAP based on the consumer's location.'' The Commission 
sought specific comment on the mechanics required for home and roaming 
network operators to identify and communicate the location of a texting 
consumer to PSAPs, as well as other asserted technical limitations.
    40. Carriers including AT&T and Verizon state that a roaming 
obligation is not technically feasible, and encourage the Commission to 
allow industry stakeholders to address this issue and defer 
consideration of any rules at this time. CTIA similarly characterizes 
the ability of roaming subscribers to send a text to 911 as being 
``considerabl[y] uncertain'' and encourages more study of the issue. 
CTIA also notes the views of the Emergency Access Advisory Committee 
(EAAC), which suggests that text-to-911 by a roaming subscriber would 
require ``require significant modifications to the wireless originator 
network and core infrastructure that will ultimately delay the 
deployment of SMS-to-9-1-1 services.'' Sprint and T-Mobile inform that 
their networks do not currently have the technological capability to 
support roaming subscriber because ``while location information (in the 
form of cell sector information) is available in the visited network 
(onto which the subscriber has roamed), it is not normally available to 
the home CMRS network.'' Both Sprint and T-Mobile encourage the 
Commission to ``allow for eventual adoption of standards that would 
contemplate roaming in the NG911 environment.'' Also, carriers urge the 
Commission to wait for standards to be adopted to address roaming in 
the NG-911 environment.
    41. On the other hand, public safety entities advocate pushing 
forward in the face of the technical complexities. BRETSA suggests that 
if transmitting text messages from a roaming user to a PSAP is not 
currently achievable, it is better to implement text-to-9-1-1 without 
roaming capability than to delay text-to-9-1-1 implementation 
altogether. NENA concedes that the complexity of transmission exists, 
and it supports mirroring the roaming exclusion contained in the 
Carrier-NENA-APCO Agreement. However, NENA supports the reevaluation of 
this exclusion at regular intervals, beginning no later than one year 
after the Commission's initial text-to-9-1-1 rules come into force.
    42. As a general policy matter, we continue to believe that access 
to 911 via text is just as critical for roaming consumers as it is for 
consumers utilizing a home carrier's network. Indeed, consumers may not 
even be aware when they are roaming, and carrier coverage maps may 
reflect coverage where they may only have roaming agreements. In an 
emergency, being able to distinguish which carrier is providing a 
signal should not be the responsibility of the consumer when seconds 
may matter. Roaming is also particularly critical for customers of 
small or rural carriers, who rely on roaming when traveling outside the 
regional footprint of these carriers. We seek comment on this view.
    43. At the outset, however, we seek comment on the volume of text-
to-911 calls that can reasonably be anticipated when roaming--and 
reflected in data that carriers might be collecting or consumer surveys 
by research or industry groups. Telecom RERC asserts that the record 
indicates a lack of sufficient data on how serious the problem might 
be. Telecom RERC ``suggests that it is necessary for carriers to submit 
statistics on the number of times users attempted to text 9-1-1 during 
a roaming situation to the FCC.'' We invite comment on approaches we 
could adopt to collect such roaming data.
    44. We also seek comment on the costs of requiring roaming text-to-
911 calls to be routed to the correct, nearest

[[Page 12450]]

PSAPs on the roaming carrier's network. For example, Sprint asserts 
that there would be a significant impact on mobile devices were we to 
adopt a roaming requirement. Sprint further submits that ``for the 
visited network to support roaming the visited network would need to be 
capable of determining when a text is attempting to reach a local 
emergency service via 9-1-1, and then this system would need to send 
the text message to the local text-to-911 gateway, ignoring all normal 
SMS routing rules. SMS servers would need to be modified to accomplish 
this. Any responses from the PSAP would also need to somehow be 
intercepted, so they are not sent back to the home network's Short 
Message Service Center (`SMSC'), which would require further routing 
modifications.''
    45. We further recognize that additional technical issues may 
require resolution before we would set a date certain for CMRS 
providers to meet this proposed obligation. Some commenters suggest 
that CMRS networks cannot currently support roaming and the delivery of 
location information because while the cell sector information is 
available in the visited network, it is not available in the home 
network. For instance, commenters note that the current ATIS standard 
for text-to-911 over the SMS platform does not support a roaming 
capability. Further, Sprint adds that mobile ``devices . . . would need 
to be capable of interacting with multiple SMSCs (both the home and 
serving SMSCs)'' and that ``[s]torage and delivery of undeliverable SMS 
messages would also need to be addressed.''
    46. Given the technological complexities for routing roaming text-
to-911 calls, we seek comment on what measures we could take to either 
facilitate or mandate within a reasonable timeframe a roaming text-to-
911 requirement prior to wide-spread implementation of NG911. For 
example, what standards, if any, would need to be adopted before a 
requirement would be appropriate? We also seek specific information on 
what the cost burden would be for carriers to make the necessary 
changes to their SMS platforms. What timeframe would be required for 
carriers to make such changes? Would the costs to make CMRS network 
modifications outweigh the public safety benefit of text-to-911 
roaming; and if so, what would the magnitude of those costs be, e.g., 
compared to the potential call volume for text-to-911? Further, do any 
of the mobile-based, server-based solutions, or other similar potential 
solutions described above in this Second Further Notice provide a 
technically feasible pathway for implementing a roaming text-to-911 
requirement either over SMS platforms or, alternatively, IP-based 
platforms before implementation of NG911 makes text-to-911 roaming more 
feasible? If so, what standards, if any, would have to be adopted to 
implement those solutions? What would a reasonable timeframe be to 
adopt those standards and test such for implementation? Additionally, 
what further educational measures or coordination can the Commission 
take to make consumers aware of the limitations in trying to send a 
text-to-911 message while roaming?

I. Liability Protection

    47. In the 2012 Further Notice, the Commission recognized that 
adequate liability protection is needed for PSAPs, CMRS providers, 
interconnected service providers, and vendors to proceed with 
implementation of text-to-911. The Commission noted that the 2008 New 
and Emerging Technologies 911 Improvement Act (NET 911 Act) expanded 
the scope of state liability protection by requiring states to provide 
parity in the degree of protection provided to traditional and non-
traditional 911 providers. In the Next Generation 9-1-1 Advancement Act 
of 2012 (NG911 Advancement Act), Congress further extended these parity 
provisions to providers of NG911 service. The 2012 Further Notice 
sought comment on whether providers of text-to-911 service have 
sufficient liability protection under current law to provide text-to-
911 services to their customers. The Commission observed that under the 
Carrier-NENA-APCO Agreement, the four major wireless carriers have 
committed to deploy text-to-911 capability without any precondition 
requiring additional liability protection other than the protection 
afforded by current law. Nevertheless, the 2012 Further Notice sought 
comment on whether the Commission could take additional steps--
consistent with our regulatory authority--to provide additional 
liability protection to text-to-911 service providers.
    48. In February 2013, pursuant to the NG911 Advancement Act, 
Commission staff submitted a report to Congress addressing the legal 
and regulatory framework for NG911 services. With respect to liability, 
the NG911 Report recognized that tort liability standards are 
traditionally a matter of state law, and recommended that Congress 
consider incentives for states to revise their liability regimes to 
provide appropriate protections for entities providing or supporting 
NG911 services. The NG911 Report also suggested that Congress include 
appropriate liability protection as a part of any federal law that 
imposes NG911 requirements or solicits voluntary NG911 activity.
    49. In response to the 2012 Further Notice, numerous parties 
submitted comments on liability issues. We do not address these 
comments here, but encourage parties to provide any additional or 
updated information relevant to our consideration of this issue 
including the possible risks and costs of implementing text-to-911 
without liability protections in place. In addition, we seek comment on 
whether adopting text-to-911 requirements as proposed in this 
proceeding would assist in mitigating liability concerns by 
establishing standards of conduct that could be invoked by text-to-911 
providers in defense against state tort liability or similar claims.

J. Waivers

    50. Should the Commission adopt mandatory obligations to support 
text-to-911, we seek comment on to what extent, and under what 
circumstances, the Commission should consider waivers. The Commission 
has a generally articulated waiver standard under Sec. Sec.  1.3 and 
1.925 of our rules. The Commission has also from time to time provided 
guidance on how applicants may demonstrate that the waiver standard has 
been met in a particular circumstance. Under certain statutes, Congress 
has also directed the Commission to consider waivers in particular 
circumstances. For example, section 716(h)(1) of the Communications and 
Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) allows the Commission to grant waivers 
of the CVAA's accessibility requirements for features or functions of 
devices capable of accessing advanced communications services but which 
are, in the judgment of the Commission, designed primarily for purposes 
other than accessing advanced communications. The Commission sought 
comment on how to implement this provision, and subsequently provided 
guidance on the substantive factors impacting the Commission's waiver 
analysis.
    51. Recognizing that to some extent it may depend on the rule 
adopted, we seek comment on what factors or other considerations would 
be relevant to the Commission in evaluating whether a wavier would be 
appropriate. Given the significance of the public benefits of 
supporting text-to-911, is a showing of financial difficulty or 
technical infeasibility in complying sufficient on its own? What amount 
of financial challenge or information regarding technical difficulties 
should be demonstrated? If the waiver is related to

[[Page 12451]]

any mandatory timeframe, what circumstances should be considered? 
Should additional time be limited in availability? What other factual 
considerations should the Commission take into account?

K. Treatment of Voluntary Agreements

    52. In this rulemaking, we seek comment on a framework for 
encouraging voluntary industry commitments that will benefit the public 
interest. The voluntary commitment that AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and 
Verizon Wireless have entered into with NENA and APCO could serve as a 
model for further industry action on such issues. We seek comment on 
how any rules adopted in this proceeding could provide a ``safe 
harbor'' option for companies that have entered into voluntary 
agreements with public safety that the Commission has determined serves 
the public interest. Under a safe harbor approach, should companies be 
given the option to either be bound by their voluntary commitments or 
to be subject to the rules? If companies choosing to abide by their 
voluntary commitments would be afforded safe harbor treatment, then if 
such a company was alleged to have violated its voluntary commitment, 
should it be afforded an opportunity to correct its behavior without 
fear of enforcement action? Conversely, for companies that elect to be 
subject to the rules, would they be subject to standard enforcement 
mechanisms?
    53. We also seek comment on what should happen if a company 
violates its voluntary commitment after being afforded an opportunity 
to correct. Should failure to abide by the voluntary commitment after 
opportunity to correct lead to termination of the safe harbor? Should 
the company be required to switch to the rules track or subject to 
enforcement action for sustained violations of its commitment? Should 
certain violations, e.g., willful misconduct, void the safe harbor 
protections and deprive the company of the opportunity to correct? We 
seek comment how ensuring accountability under and the enforceability 
of voluntary commitments under any of these frameworks would impact the 
incentives for industry to enter into voluntary commitments that are in 
the public interest.
    54. We seek comment on the potential risks as well as benefits of 
this approach to voluntary commitments. Are there circumstances in 
which the safe harbor option should not be made available? What should 
the Commission do if such voluntary agreements go beyond the 
Commission's rules in a particular area? In this context, do the 
interests of private parties negotiating voluntary agreements align 
with the Commission's or the public's interests? Should such an 
approach be time-limited or subject to re-evaluation based on changed 
circumstances, e,g., where the Commission determines that additional 
regulatory action on a given issue may be warranted? Should we solicit 
public comment on such voluntary commitments before granting 
signatories a safe harbor?
    55. We also seek comment on several ancillary issues. We seek 
comment on the nature of an ``election,'' and whether parties must join 
a voluntary agreement at its inception, or may join such an agreement 
at a later time. Would such a situation provide the opportunity for 
regulatory arbitrage? Another important aspect of voluntary commitments 
is the ability to measure and monitor industry compliance with such 
commitments. The Carrier-NENA-APCO Agreement included voluntary 
quarterly reporting, whereby parties to the commitment provide updated 
information to the Commission regarding the extent of their compliance 
with the commitment. We seek comment on whether for future voluntary 
commitments to qualify for the treatment described above, they must 
include a robust reporting requirement that provides the Commission 
with sufficient data to make informed decisions about the effectiveness 
of the voluntary commitment and, additionally, what the implications of 
such a voluntary information collection might be for purposes of the 
Paperwork Reduction Act and any other relevant legal requirements.

L. Future Evolution of Texting Services

    56. In the 2012 Further Notice, the Commission divided text 
applications into two broad categories: (1) interconnected text 
applications that use IP-based protocols to deliver text messages to a 
service provider, which the service provider then delivers the text 
messages to destinations identified by a telephone number, and (2) non-
interconnected applications that only support communication with a 
defined set of users of compatible applications but do not support 
general communication with text-capable telephone numbers. We note that 
our definition of interconnected text, as codified in the Bounce-Back 
Order, encompasses applications ``that enable a consumer to send text 
messages to all or substantially all text-capable U.S. telephone 
numbers and receive text messages from the same.'' We seek comment 
whether the definition of interconnected text should also be 
interpreted to include a service that utilizes IP-based protocols for 
outgoing text and SMS-based protocols for the return text and request 
that commenters discuss any potential problems with such an 
interpretation.
    57. As discussed above, our initial proposals remain focused on the 
subset of ``over-the-top'' applications that constitute interconnected 
text applications. The division of text applications into 
interconnected and non-interconnected remains appropriate given the 
record in this proceeding. We recognize, however, there are many 
varieties of text messaging applications, and many more varieties are 
likely to develop.
    58. As these applications continue to grow in popularity, however, 
we expect that consumer habits will change, and with them, their 
expectations as to the functionality of these applications may also 
change. We seek comment on the varieties of messaging applications. 
Under what conditions would consumers expect that text messaging via an 
application that is not connected to the PSTN and does not allow direct 
texting to a phone number would enable a connection to 911? Do 
consumers expect that text messaging services generally have the 
ability to connect to text-capable telephone numbers? Do consumer 
expectations vary based on the nature of a particular application? 
Could such text messaging applications also create consumer 
expectations that they can reach emergency services? If so, should we 
require them to do so? What costs would be associated with doing so? 
For instance, would imposing text-to-911 requirements on non-
interconnected text applications raise the cost of such services that 
would diminish innovation and investment? Should we extend the bounce-
back requirement to such applications? Does the Commission have 
adequate bases of authority to impose such a mandate on such text 
providers?

M. Legal Authority

    59. The Commission's 2012 Further Notice sought comment on the 
FCC's authority to apply both a bounce-back requirement and more 
comprehensive text-to-911 rules to CMRS providers and other entities 
that offer interconnected text messaging services, including third-
party providers of OTT text messaging applications. The 2012 Further 
Notice discussed the scope of the Commission's authority under Title 
III, the CVAA, and the agency's ancillary authority.
    60. Subsequently, in the 2013 Bounce-Back Order, the Commission

[[Page 12452]]

determined that numerous provisions of Title III provide the FCC with 
direct authority to impose 911 bounce-back requirements on CMRS 
providers, that the CVAA vests the Commission with direct authority to 
impose 911 bounce-back requirements on both CMRS providers and other 
providers of interconnected text messaging applications, including OTT 
providers, and that the agency has ancillary authority to apply 911 
bounce-back requirements to providers of interconnected text messaging 
services, including OTT providers. The Commission explained, inter 
alia, that imposing 911 bounce back rules on OTT providers was 
reasonably ancillary to the Commission's Title III mandate regarding 
the use of spectrum and the Commission's statutory authority to adopt 
911 regulations that ensure that consumers can reach emergency 
services. We invite parties to comment on whether there are any reasons 
why the Commission's previous determinations regarding the scope of our 
authority do not apply in the context of the foregoing proposals, 
including whether the CVAA provides authority to implement regulations 
mandating text-to-911 on a telecommunications network that is not on an 
IP-enabled emergency network. Further, we seek comment on whether text-
to-911 is ``achievable and technically feasible'' for interconnected 
text providers. To the extent the Commission adopts rules that cover 
relay providers or other recipients of Interstate TRS funding, we 
believe we have authority to adopt such rules under sections 201(b) and 
225 of the Communications Act. We seek comment on the extent of this 
authority.

IV. Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

    61. As required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as 
amended (RFA), the Commission has prepared this present Initial 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) of the possible significant 
economic impact of the proposal described in the attached Second 
Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on small entities. Written public 
comments are requested on this IRFA. Comments must be identified as 
responses to the IRFA and must be filed by the deadlines for comments 
in the Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The Commission 
will send a copy of the Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 
including this IRFA, to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small 
Business Administration (SBA). In addition, the Second Further Notice 
of Proposed Rulemaking and IRFA (or summaries thereof) will be 
published in the Federal Register.

A. Need for, and Objectives of, the Proposed Rules

    62. Wireless consumers are increasingly using text messaging as a 
means of everyday communication on a variety of platforms. The legacy 
911 system, however, does not support text messaging as a means of 
reaching emergency responders, leading to potential consumer confusion 
and even to possible danger. As consumer use of carrier-based and third 
party-provided texting applications expands and evolves, the 911 system 
must also evolve to enable wireless consumers to reach 911 in those 
emergency situations where a voice call is not feasible or appropriate.
    63. In this Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, we 
propose rules that set timeframes that will enable Americans to send 
text messages to 911 (text-to-911) across platforms, and seek comment 
on consumers' use of text-to-911 while roaming. We also seek comment on 
the transmission to a PSAP of more specific information as to the 
location of a texting party. Specifically, we propose to require all 
wireless carriers and providers of ``interconnected'' text messaging 
applications to support the ability of consumers to send text messages 
to 911 in all areas throughout the nation where 911 Public Safety 
Answering Points (PSAPs) are also prepared to receive the texts no 
later than December 31, 2014. We also seek comment on requiring 
carriers to support text-to-911 when consumers are roaming on their 
networks, and to provide ``Phase II'' equivalent location information 
regarding the location from which a text is sent to 911. We also seek 
comment on enhancing liability protection for text providers within the 
Next Generation 911 (NG911) ecosystem, how relay services may support 
text-to-911, and how we should consider any waiver standards that may 
apply.
    64. Our proposals build on the voluntary commitment by the four 
largest wireless carriers--in an agreement with the National Emergency 
Number Association (NENA), and the Association of Public Safety 
Communications Officials (APCO) (Carrier-NENA-APCO Agreement)--to make 
text-to-911 available to their customers by May 15, 2014. The baseline 
requirements we propose in this Second Further Notice for 
interconnected text providers are modeled on the Carrier-NENA-APCO 
Agreement, and we seek additional comment how all ``interconnected 
text'' providers can achieve these milestones in the same or similar 
timeframes.
    65. Seeking comment on establishing timeframes for the addition of 
text capability to the 911 system for interconnected text providers and 
for all consumers when roaming on a CMRS network will vastly enhance 
the system's accessibility for over 40 million Americans with hearing 
or speech disabilities. It will also provide a vital and lifesaving 
alternative to the public in situations where 911 voice service is 
unavailable or placing a voice call could endanger the caller. Indeed, 
as recent history has shown, text messaging is often the most reliable 
means of communications during disasters where voice calls cannot be 
completed due to capacity constraints. Finally, implementing text-to-
911 represents a crucial next step in the ongoing transition of the 
legacy 911 system to a NG911 system that will support not only text but 
will also enable consumers to send photos, videos, and data to PSAPs, 
enhancing the information available to first responders for assessing 
and responding to emergencies.
    66. Our proposed approach to text-to-911 is also based on the 
presumption that consumers in emergency situations should be able to 
communicate using the text applications they are most familiar with 
from everyday use. Currently, the most commonly used texting technology 
is Short Message Service (SMS), which is available, familiar, and 
widely used by virtually all wireless consumers. In the Carrier-NENA-
APCO Agreement, the four major carriers have indicated that they intend 
to use SMS-based text for their initial text-to-911 deployments, and we 
expect other initial deployments to be similarly SMS-based.
    67. At the same time, have not limited our focus to SMS-based text. 
As a result of the rapid proliferation of smartphones and other 
advanced mobile devices, some consumers are beginning to move away from 
SMS to other IP-based text applications, including downloadable 
software applications provided by parties other than the underlying 
carrier. To the extent that consumers gravitate to such applications as 
their primary means of communicating by text, they may reasonably come 
to expect these applications to also support text-to-911, as consumer 
familiarity is vital in emergency situations where seconds matter. 
Therefore, in this Second Further Notice, we seek to ensure that 
consumers have access to the same text-to-911 capabilities on the full 
array of

[[Page 12453]]

texting applications that they use for ubiquitous on a reasonable 
timeframe.

B. Legal Basis

    68. The legal basis for any action that may be taken pursuant to 
this Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is contained in 
sections 1, 2, 4(i), 7, 10, 201, 201(b), 214, 222, 225, 251(e), 301, 
302, 303, 303(b), 303(r), 307, 307(a), 309, 309(j)(3), 316, 316(a), 
332, 615a, 615a-1, 615b, 615c(a), 615c(c), 615c(g), and 615(c)(1) of 
the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. 151, 152(a), 154(i), 157, 
160, 201, 201(b), 214, 222, 225, 251(e), 301, 302, 303, 303(b), 303(r), 
307, 307(a), 309, 309(j)(3), 316, 316(a), 332, 615a, 615a-1, 615b, 
615c, 615c(c), 615c(g), and 615(c)(1).

C. Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which 
the Proposed Rules Would Apply

    69. The RFA directs agencies to provide a description of and, where 
feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities that may be 
affected by the proposed rules. The RFA generally defines the term 
``small entity'' as having the same meaning as the terms ``small 
business,'' ``small organization,'' and ``small governmental 
jurisdiction.'' In addition, the term ``small business'' has the same 
meaning as the term ``small business concern'' under the Small Business 
Act. A small business concern is one which: (1) is independently owned 
and operated; (2) is not dominant in its field of operation; and (3) 
satisfies any additional criteria established by the Small Business 
Administration (SBA).
    70. Small Businesses, Small Organizations, and Small Governmental 
Jurisdictions. Our action may, over time, affect small entities that 
are not easily categorized at present. We therefore describe here, at 
the outset, three comprehensive, statutory small entity size standards. 
First, nationwide, there are a total of approximately 27.9 million 
small businesses, according to the SBA. In addition, a ``small 
organization'' is generally ``any not-for-profit enterprise which is 
independently owned and operated and is not dominant in its field.'' 
Nationwide, as of 2007, there were approximately 1,621,315 small 
organizations. Finally, the term ``small governmental jurisdiction'' is 
defined generally as ``governments of cities, towns, townships, 
villages, school districts, or special districts, with a population of 
less than fifty thousand.'' Census Bureau data for 2011 indicate that 
there were 89,476 local governmental jurisdictions in the United 
States. We estimate that, of this total, as many as 88,506 entities may 
qualify as ``small governmental jurisdictions.'' Thus, we estimate that 
most governmental jurisdictions are small.
1. Telecommunications Service Entities
(a) Wireless Telecommunications Service Providers
    71. Pursuant to 47 CFR 20.18(a), the Commission's 911 service 
requirements are only applicable to Commercial Mobile Radio Service 
(CMRS) ``[providers], excluding mobile satellite service operators, to 
the extent that they: (1) Offer real-time, two way switched voice 
service that is interconnected with the public switched network; and 
(2) Utilize an in-network switching facility that enables the provider 
to reuse frequencies and accomplish seamless hand-offs of subscriber 
calls. These requirements are applicable to entities that offer voice 
service to consumers by purchasing airtime or capacity at wholesale 
rates from CMRS licensees.''
    72. Below, for those services subject to auctions, we note that, as 
a general matter, the number of winning bidders that qualify as small 
businesses at the close of an auction does not necessarily represent 
the number of small businesses currently in service. Also, the 
Commission does not generally track subsequent business size unless, in 
the context of assignments or transfers, unjust enrichment issues are 
implicated.
    73. Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except satellite). This 
industry comprises establishments engaged in operating and maintaining 
switching and transmission facilities to provide communications via the 
airwaves. Establishments in this industry have spectrum licenses and 
provide services using that spectrum, such as cellular phone services, 
paging services, wireless Internet access, and wireless video services. 
The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the category 
Wireless Telecommunications Carriers. The size standard for that 
category is that a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer 
employees. For this category, census data for 2007 show that there were 
11,163 establishments that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 
10,791 establishments had employment of 999 or fewer employees and 372 
had employment of 1000 employees or more. Thus under this category and 
the associated small business size standard, the Commission estimates 
that the majority of wireless telecommunications carriers (except 
satellite) are small entities that may be affected by rules proposed in 
the Second Further Notice.
    74. Wireless Service Providers. The SBA has developed a small 
business size standard for wireless firms within the two broad economic 
census categories of ``Paging'' and ``Cellular and Other Wireless 
Telecommunications.'' Under both categories, the SBA deems a wireless 
business to be small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. For the census 
category of Paging, Census Bureau data for 2002 show that there were 
807 firms in this category that operated for the entire year. Of this 
total, 804 firms had employment of 999 or fewer employees, and three 
firms had employment of 1,000 employees or more. Thus, under this 
category and associated small business size standard, the majority of 
firms can be considered small. For the census category of Cellular and 
Other Wireless Telecommunications, Census Bureau data for 2002 show 
that there were 1,397 firms in this category that operated for the 
entire year. Of this total, 1,378 firms had employment of 999 or fewer 
employees, and 19 firms had employment of 1,000 employees or more. 
Thus, under this second category and size standard, the majority of 
firms can, again, be considered small.
    75. Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (Incumbent LECs). Neither the 
Commission nor the SBA has developed a small business size standard 
specifically for incumbent local exchange services. The appropriate 
size standard under SBA rules is for the category Wired 
Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, such a business 
is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census Bureau data for 
2007, which now supersede data from the 2002 Census, show that there 
were 3,188 firms in this category that operated for the entire year. Of 
this total, 3,144 had employment of 999 or fewer, and 44 firms had had 
employment of 1000 or more. According to Commission data, 1,307 
carriers reported that they were incumbent local exchange service 
providers. Of these 1,307 carriers, an estimated 1,006 have 1,500 or 
fewer employees and 301 have more than 1,500 employees. Consequently, 
the Commission estimates that most providers of local exchange service 
are small entities that may be affected by the rules and policies 
proposed in the Second Further Notice. Thus under this category and the 
associated small business size standard, the majority of these 
incumbent local exchange service providers can be considered small.
    76. Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (Competitive LECs), 
Competitive Access Providers (CAPs), Shared-Tenant Service Providers, 
and

[[Page 12454]]

Other Local Service Providers. Neither the Commission nor the SBA has 
developed a small business size standard specifically for these service 
providers. The appropriate size standard under SBA rules is for the 
category Wired Telecommunications Carriers. Under that size standard, 
such a business is small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. Census 
Bureau data for 2007, which now supersede data from the 2002 Census, 
show that there were 3,188 firms in this category that operated for the 
entire year. Of this total, 3,144 had employment of 999 or fewer, and 
44 firms had had employment of 1,000 employees or more. Thus under this 
category and the associated small business size standard, the majority 
of these Competitive LECs, CAPs, Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and 
Other Local Service Providers can be considered small entities. 
According to Commission data, 1,442 carriers reported that they were 
engaged in the provision of either competitive local exchange services 
or competitive access provider services. Of these 1,442 carriers, an 
estimated 1,256 have 1,500 or fewer employees and 186 have more than 
1,500 employees. In addition, 17 carriers have reported that they are 
Shared-Tenant Service Providers, and all 17 are estimated to have 1,500 
or fewer employees. In addition, 72 carriers have reported that they 
are Other Local Service Providers. Of the 72, seventy have 1,500 or 
fewer employees and two have more than 1,500 employees. Consequently, 
the Commission estimates that most providers of competitive local 
exchange service, competitive access providers, Shared-Tenant Service 
Providers, and Other Local Service Providers are small entities that 
may be affected by rules proposed in the Second Further Notice.
    77. Broadband Personal Communications Service. The broadband 
personal communications services (PCS) spectrum is divided into six 
frequency blocks designated A through F, and the Commission has held 
auctions for each block. The Commission initially defined a ``small 
business'' for C- and F-Block licenses as an entity that has average 
gross revenues of $40 million or less in the three previous calendar 
years. For F-Block licenses, an additional small business size standard 
for ``very small business'' was added and is defined as an entity that, 
together with its affiliates, has average gross revenues of not more 
than $15 million for the preceding three calendar years. These small 
business size standards, in the context of broadband PCS auctions, have 
been approved by the SBA. No small businesses within the SBA-approved 
small business size standards bid successfully for licenses in Blocks A 
and B. There were 90 winning bidders that claimed small business status 
in the first two C-Block auctions. A total of 93 bidders that claimed 
small business status won approximately 40 percent of the 1,479 
licenses in the first auction for the D, E, and F Blocks. On April 15, 
1999, the Commission completed the reauction of 347 C-, D-, E-, and F-
Block licenses in Auction No. 22. Of the 57 winning bidders in that 
auction, 48 claimed small business status and won 277 licenses.
    78. On January 26, 2001, the Commission completed the auction of 
422 C and F Block Broadband PCS licenses in Auction No. 35. Of the 35 
winning bidders in that auction, 29 claimed small business status. 
Subsequent events concerning Auction 35, including judicial and agency 
determinations, resulted in a total of 163 C and F Block licenses being 
available for grant. On February 15, 2005, the Commission completed an 
auction of 242 C-, D-, E-, and F-Block licenses in Auction No. 58. Of 
the 24 winning bidders in that auction, 16 claimed small business 
status and won 156 licenses. On May 21, 2007, the Commission completed 
an auction of 33 licenses in the A, C, and F Blocks in Auction No. 71. 
Of the 12 winning bidders in that auction, five claimed small business 
status and won 18 licenses. On August 20, 2008, the Commission 
completed the auction of 20 C-, D-, E-, and F-Block Broadband PCS 
licenses in Auction No. 78. Of the eight winning bidders for Broadband 
PCS licenses in that auction, six claimed small business status and won 
14 licenses.
    79. Narrowband Personal Communications Services. To date, two 
auctions of narrowband personal communications services (PCS) licenses 
have been conducted. For purposes of the two auctions that have already 
been held, ``small businesses'' were entities with average gross 
revenues for the prior three calendar years of $40 million or less. 
Through these auctions, the Commission has awarded a total of 41 
licenses, out of which 11 were obtained by small businesses. To ensure 
meaningful participation of small business entities in future auctions, 
the Commission has adopted a two-tiered small business size standard in 
the Narrowband PCS Second Report and Order. A ``small business'' is an 
entity that, together with affiliates and controlling interests, has 
average gross revenues for the three preceding years of not more than 
$40 million. A ``very small business'' is an entity that, together with 
affiliates and controlling interests, has average gross revenues for 
the three preceding years of not more than $15 million. The SBA has 
approved these small business size standards.
    80. Specialized Mobile Radio. The Commission adopted small business 
size standards for the purpose of determining eligibility for bidding 
credits in auctions of Specialized Mobile Radio (SMR) geographic area 
licenses in the 800 MHz and 900 MHz bands. The Commission defined a 
``small business'' as an entity that, together with its affiliates and 
controlling principals, has average gross revenues not exceeding $15 
million for the preceding three years. The Commission defined a ``very 
small business'' as an entity that, together with its affiliates and 
controlling principals, has average gross revenues not exceeding $3 
million for the preceding three years. The SBA has approved these small 
business size standards for both the 800 MHz and 900 MHz SMR Service. 
The first 900 MHz SMR auction was completed in 1996. Sixty bidders 
claiming that they qualified as small businesses under the $15 million 
size standard won 263 licenses in the 900 MHz SMR band. In 2004, the 
Commission held a second auction of 900 MHz SMR licenses and three 
winning bidders identifying themselves as very small businesses won 7 
licenses. The auction of 800 MHz SMR licenses for the upper 200 
channels was conducted in 1997. Ten bidders claiming that they 
qualified as small or very small businesses under the $15 million size 
standard won 38 licenses for the upper 200 channels. A second auction 
of 800 MHz SMR licenses was conducted in 2002 and included 23 BEA 
licenses. One bidder claiming small business status won five licenses.
    81. The auction of the 1,053 800 MHz SMR licenses for the General 
Category channels was conducted in 2000. Eleven bidders who won 108 
licenses for the General Category channels in the 800 MHz SMR band 
qualified as small or very small businesses. In an auction completed in 
2000, a total of 2,800 Economic Area licenses in the lower 80 channels 
of the 800 MHz SMR service were awarded. Of the 22 winning bidders, 19 
claimed small or very small business status and won 129 licenses. Thus, 
combining all four auctions, 41 winning bidders for geographic licenses 
in the 800 MHz SMR band claimed to be small businesses.

[[Page 12455]]

    82. In addition, there are numerous incumbent site-by-site SMR 
licensees and licensees with extended implementation authorizations in 
the 800 and 900 MHz bands. We do not know how many firms provide 800 
MHz or 900 MHz geographic area SMR pursuant to extended implementation 
authorizations, nor how many of these providers have annual revenues 
not exceeding $15 million. One firm has over $15 million in revenues. 
In addition, we do not know how many of these firms have 1500 or fewer 
employees. We assume, for purposes of this analysis, that all of the 
remaining existing extended implementation authorizations are held by 
small entities, as that small business size standard is approved by the 
SBA.
    83. AWS Services (1710-1755 MHz and 2110-2155 MHz bands (AWS-1); 
1915-1920 MHz, 1995-2000 MHz, 2020-2025 MHz and 2175-2180 MHz bands 
(AWS-2); 2155-2175 MHz band (AWS-3)). For the AWS-1 bands, the 
Commission has defined a ``small business'' as an entity with average 
annual gross revenues for the preceding three years not exceeding $40 
million, and a ``very small business'' as an entity with average annual 
gross revenues for the preceding three years not exceeding $15 million. 
In 2006, the Commission conducted its first auction of AWS-1 licenses. 
In that initial AWS-1 auction, 31 winning bidders identified themselves 
as very small businesses. Twenty-six of the winning bidders identified 
themselves as small businesses. In a subsequent 2008 auction, the 
Commission offered 35 AWS-1 licenses. Four winning bidders identified 
themselves as very small businesses, and three of the winning bidders 
identified themselves as a small business. For AWS-2 and AWS-3, 
although we do not know for certain which entities are likely to apply 
for these frequencies, we note that the AWS-1 bands are comparable to 
those used for cellular service and personal communications service. 
The Commission has not yet adopted size standards for the AWS-2 or AWS-
3 bands but has proposed to treat both AWS-2 and AWS-3 similarly to 
broadband PCS service and AWS-1 service due to the comparable capital 
requirements and other factors, such as issues involved in relocating 
incumbents and developing markets, technologies, and services.
    84. Wireless Communications Services. This service can be used for 
fixed, mobile, radiolocation, and digital audio broadcasting satellite 
uses in the 2305-2320 MHz and 2345-2360 MHz bands. The Commission 
defined ``small business'' for the wireless communications services 
(WCS) auction as an entity with average gross revenues of $40 million 
for each of the three preceding years, and a ``very small business'' as 
an entity with average gross revenues of $15 million for each of the 
three preceding years. The SBA has approved these definitions. The 
Commission auctioned geographic area licenses in the WCS service. In 
the auction, which commenced on April 15, 1997 and closed on April 25, 
1997, there were seven bidders that won 31 licenses that qualified as 
very small business entities, and one bidder that won one license that 
qualified as a small business entity.
    85. 700 MHz Guard Band Licenses. In the 700 MHz Guard Band Order, 
the Commission adopted size standards for ``small businesses'' and 
``very small businesses'' for purposes of determining their eligibility 
for special provisions such as bidding credits and installment 
payments. A small business in this service is an entity that, together 
with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross 
revenues not exceeding $40 million for the preceding three years. 
Additionally, a ``very small business'' is an entity that, together 
with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross 
revenues that are not more than $15 million for the preceding three 
years. SBA approval of these definitions is not required. In 2000, the 
Commission conducted an auction of 52 Major Economic Area (``MEA'') 
licenses. Of the 104 licenses auctioned, 96 licenses were sold to nine 
bidders. Five of these bidders were small businesses that won a total 
of 26 licenses. A second auction of 700 MHz Guard Band licenses 
commenced and closed in 2001. All eight of the licenses auctioned were 
sold to three bidders. One of these bidders was a small business that 
won a total of two licenses.
    86. Upper 700 MHz Band Licenses. In the 700 MHz Second Report and 
Order, the Commission revised its rules regarding Upper 700 MHz 
licenses. On January 24, 2008, the Commission commenced Auction 73 in 
which several licenses in the Upper 700 MHz band were available for 
licensing: 12 Regional Economic Area Grouping licenses in the C Block, 
and one nationwide license in the D Block. The auction concluded on 
March 18, 2008, with 3 winning bidders claiming very small business 
status (those with attributable average annual gross revenues that do 
not exceed $15 million for the preceding three years) and winning five 
licenses.
    87. Lower 700 MHz Band Licenses. The Commission previously adopted 
criteria for defining three groups of small businesses for purposes of 
determining their eligibility for special provisions such as bidding 
credits. The Commission defined a ``small business'' as an entity that, 
together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average 
gross revenues not exceeding $40 million for the preceding three years. 
A ``very small business'' is defined as an entity that, together with 
its affiliates and controlling principals, has average gross revenues 
that are not more than $15 million for the preceding three years. 
Additionally, the lower 700 MHz Service had a third category of small 
business status for Metropolitan/Rural Service Area (MSA/RSA) 
licenses--``entrepreneur''--which is defined as an entity that, 
together with its affiliates and controlling principals, has average 
gross revenues that are not more than $3 million for the preceding 
three years. The SBA approved these small size standards. An auction of 
740 licenses (one license in each of the 734 MSAs/RSAs and one license 
in each of the six Economic Area Groupings (EAGs)) was conducted in 
2002. Of the 740 licenses available for auction, 484 licenses were won 
by 102 winning bidders. Seventy-two of the winning bidders claimed 
small business, very small business or entrepreneur status and won 
licenses. A second auction commenced on May 28, 2003, closed on June 
13, 2003, and included 256 licenses. Seventeen winning bidders claimed 
small or very small business status, and nine winning bidders claimed 
entrepreneur status. In 2005, the Commission completed an auction of 5 
licenses in the Lower 700 MHz band. All three winning bidders claimed 
small business status.
    88. In 2007, the Commission reexamined its rules governing the 700 
MHz band in the 700 MHz Second Report and Order. An auction of A, B and 
E block 700 MHz licenses was held in 2008. Twenty winning bidders 
claimed small business status (those with attributable average annual 
gross revenues that exceed $15 million and do not exceed $40 million 
for the preceding three years). Thirty three winning bidders claimed 
very small business status (those with attributable average annual 
gross revenues that do not exceed $15 million for the preceding three 
years).
    89. Wireless Telephony. Wireless telephony includes cellular, 
personal communications services, and specialized mobile radio 
telephony carriers. As noted, the SBA has developed a small business 
size standard for Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except

[[Page 12456]]

Satellite). Under the SBA small business size standard, a business is 
small if it has 1,500 or fewer employees. According to Trends in 
Telephone Service data, 413 carriers reported that they were engaged in 
wireless telephony. Of these, an estimated 261 have 1,500 or fewer 
employees and 152 have more than 1,500 employees. Therefore, more than 
half of these entities can be considered small.
    90. Satellite Telecommunications Providers. Two economic census 
categories address the satellite industry. The first category has a 
small business size standard of $15 million or less in average annual 
receipts, under SBA rules. The second has a size standard of $25 
million or less in annual receipts.
    91. The category of Satellite Telecommunications ``comprises 
establishments primarily engaged in providing telecommunications 
services to other establishments in the telecommunications and 
broadcasting industries by forwarding and receiving communications 
signals via a system of satellites or reselling satellite 
telecommunications.'' Census Bureau data for 2007 show that 607 
Satellite Telecommunications firms that operated for that entire year. 
Of this total, 533 firms had annual receipts of under $10 million, and 
74 firms had receipts of $10 million to $24,999,999. Consequently, the 
Commission estimates that the majority of Satellite Telecommunications 
firms are small entities that might be affected by rules proposed in 
the Second Further Notice.
    92. The second category, i.e., ``All Other Telecommunications'', 
comprises ``establishments primarily engaged in providing specialized 
telecommunications services, such as satellite tracking, communications 
telemetry, and radar station operation. This industry also includes 
establishments primarily engaged in providing satellite terminal 
stations and associated facilities connected with one or more 
terrestrial systems and capable of transmitting telecommunications to, 
and receiving telecommunications from, satellite systems. 
Establishments providing Internet services or Voice over Internet 
Protocol (VoIP) services via client-supplied telecommunications 
connections are also included in this industry.'' For this category, 
Census Bureau data for 2007 show that there were a total of 2,623 firms 
that operated for the entire year. Consequently, the Commission 
estimates that the majority of All Other Telecommunications firms are 
small entities that might be affected by rules proposed in the Second 
Further Notice.
(b) Equipment Manufacturers
    93. Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communications 
Equipment Manufacturing. The Census Bureau defines this category as 
follows: ``This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in 
manufacturing radio and television broadcast and wireless 
communications equipment. Examples of products made by these 
establishments are: transmitting and receiving antennas, cable 
television equipment, GPS equipment, pagers, cellular phones, mobile 
communications equipment, and radio and television studio and 
broadcasting equipment.'' The SBA has developed a small business size 
standard for Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless 
Communications Equipment Manufacturing which is: all such firms having 
750 or fewer employees. According to Census Bureau data for 2007, there 
were a total of 939 establishments in this category that operated for 
part or all of the entire year. Of this total, 784 had less than 500 
employees and 155 had more than 100 employees. Thus, under this size 
standard, the majority of firms can be considered small.
    94. Semiconductor and Related Device Manufacturing. These 
establishments manufacture ``computer storage devices that allow the 
storage and retrieval of data from a phase change, magnetic, optical, 
or magnetic/optical media. The SBA has developed a small business size 
standard for this category of manufacturing; that size standard is 500 
or fewer employees storage and retrieval of data from a phase change, 
magnetic, optical, or magnetic/optical media.'' According to data from 
the 2007 U.S. Census, in 2007, there were 954 establishments engaged in 
this business. Of these, 545 had from 1 to 19 employees; 219 had from 
20 to 99 employees; and 190 had 100 or more employees. Based on this 
data, the Commission concludes that the majority of the businesses 
engaged in this industry are small.
(c) Information Service and Software Providers
    95. Software Publishers. Since 2007 these services have been 
defined within the broad economic census category of Custom Computer 
Programming Services; that category is defined as establishments 
primarily engaged in writing, modifying, testing, and supporting 
software to meet the needs of a particular customer. The SBA has 
developed a small business size standard for this category, which is 
annual gross receipts of $25 million or less. According to data from 
the 2007 U.S. Census, there were 41,571 establishments engaged in this 
business in 2007. Of these, 40,149 had annual gross receipts of less 
than $10,000,000. Another 1,422 establishments had gross receipts of 
$10,000,000 or more. Based on this data, the Commission concludes that 
the majority of the businesses engaged in this industry are small.
    96. Internet Service Providers. Since 2007, these services have 
been defined within the broad economic census category of Wired 
Telecommunications Carriers; that category is defined as follows: 
``This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in operating 
and/or providing access to transmission facilities and infrastructure 
that they own and/or lease for the transmission of voice, data, text, 
sound, and video using wired telecommunications networks. Transmission 
facilities may be based on a single technology or a combination of 
technologies.'' The SBA has developed a small business size standard 
for this category, which is: all such firms having 1,500 or fewer 
employees. According to Census Bureau data for 2007, there were 3,188 
firms in this category, total, that operated for the entire year. Of 
this total, 3,144 firms had employment of 999 or fewer employees, and 
44 firms had employment of 1000 employees or more. Thus, under this 
size standard, the majority of firms can be considered small. In 
addition, according to Census Bureau data for 2007, there were a total 
of 396 firms in the category Internet Service Providers (broadband) 
that operated for the entire year. Of this total, 394 firms had 
employment of 999 or fewer employees, and two firms had employment of 
1000 employees or more. Consequently, we estimate that the majority of 
these firms are small entities that may be affected by rules proposed 
by the Second Further Notice.
    97. Internet Publishing and Broadcasting and Web Search Portals. 
The Commission's action may pertain to interconnected Voice over 
Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, which could be provided by entities 
that provide other services such as email, online gaming, web browsing, 
video conferencing, instant messaging, and other, similar IP-enabled 
services. The Commission has not adopted a size standard for entities 
that create or provide these types of services or applications. 
However, the Census Bureau has identified firms that ``primarily 
engaged in (1) publishing and/or broadcasting content on the Internet 
exclusively or (2) operating Web sites that use a search engine to 
generate and maintain extensive

[[Page 12457]]

databases of Internet addresses and content in an easily searchable 
format (and known as Web search).

D. Description of Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other 
Compliance Requirements for Small Entities

    98. The Second Further Notice proposes that carriers and 
interconnected text providers that enter into voluntary agreements to 
provide text-to-911 should be required to submit reports to the 
Commission on their adherence to their commitments in order to qualify 
for a safe harbor with respect to any adopted rules. The Commission 
proposes that any reporting should be robust enough to provide the 
Commission with data sufficient for it to make informed decisions about 
the effectiveness of the voluntary commitment. Small entities opting 
for this path would do so voluntarily, and assume any costs associated 
with such option. Alternatively, they may opt to comply with mandatory 
rules which may be adopted, and which do not include a proposal for 
reporting.

E. Steps Taken to Minimize Significant Economic Impact on Small 
Entities, and Significant Alternatives Considered

    99. The RFA requires an agency to describe any significant, 
specifically small business alternatives that it has considered in 
reaching its proposed approach, which may include the following four 
alternatives (among others): ``(1) the establishment of differing 
compliance or reporting requirements or timetables that take into 
account the resources available to small entities; (2) the 
clarification, consolidation, or simplification of compliance or 
reporting requirements under the rule for small entities; (3) the use 
of performance, rather than design, standards; and (4) and exemption 
from coverage of the rule, or any part thereof, for small entities.''
    100. The Second Further Notice analyzes a variety of possible means 
of implementing text-to-911 for interconnected text providers in a 
timely fashion and costs thereof, and seeks comment on these issues. We 
are also seeking comment on what waiver standards may apply and 
circumstances that may warrant a waiver of any rules we may adopt, 
including how financial constraints should be considered. Our proposals 
build on the recently filed voluntary commitment by the four largest 
wireless carriers--in an agreement with the National Emergency Number 
Association (NENA), and the Association of Public Safety Communications 
Officials (APCO) (Carrier-NENA-APCO Agreement) to make text-to-911 
available to their customers by May 15, 2014, and the previously 
submitted record suggesting that all CMRS providers can support text-
to-911 by December 31, 2014.
    101. Additionally, the Second Further Notice seeks comment 
implementing text-to-911 for roaming consumers, enhancing location 
accuracy for consumers sending texts to 911, and the evolution of 
texting applications and how consumers use them.

F. Federal Rules That May Duplicate, Overlap, or Conflict With the 
Proposed Rules

    102. None.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This document contains no new or modified information collection 
requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), 
Public Law 104-13.

Ex Parte Presentations

    The proceedings initiated by this Second Further Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking shall be treated as a ``permit-but-disclose'' proceedings in 
accordance with the Commission's ex parte rules. Persons making ex 
parte presentations must file a copy of any written presentation or a 
memorandum summarizing any oral presentation within two business days 
after the presentation (unless a different deadline applicable to the 
Sunshine period applies). Persons making oral ex parte presentations 
are reminded that memoranda summarizing the presentation must: (1) List 
all persons attending or otherwise participating in the meeting at 
which the ex parte presentation was made; and (2) summarize all data 
presented and arguments made during the presentation. If the 
presentation consisted in whole or in part of the presentation of data 
or arguments already reflected in the presenter's written comments, 
memoranda, or other filings in the proceeding, the presenter may 
provide citations to such data or arguments in his or her prior 
comments, memoranda, or other filings (specifying the relevant page 
and/or paragraph numbers where such data or arguments can be found) in 
lieu of summarizing them in the memorandum. Documents shown or given to 
Commission staff during ex parte meetings are deemed to be written ex 
parte presentations and must be filed consistent with rule Sec.  
1.1206(b). In proceedings governed by rule Sec.  1.49(f) or for which 
the Commission has made available a method of electronic filing, 
written ex parte presentations and memoranda summarizing oral ex parte 
presentations, and all attachments thereto, must be filed through the 
electronic comment filing system available for that proceeding, and 
must be filed in their native format (e.g., .doc, .xml, .ppt, 
searchable .pdf). Participants in this proceeding should familiarize 
themselves with the Commission's ex parte rules.

List of Subjects in 47 CFR Part 20

    Communications common carriers, Communications equipment, Radio.

Federal Communications Commission.
Marlene H. Dortch,
Secretary.

Proposed Rules

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Federal 
Communications Commission proposes to amend 47 CFR Part 20 as follows:

PART 20--COMMERCIAL MOBILE RADIO SERVICES

0
1. The authority for Part 20 is revised to read as follows:

    Authority: 47 U.S.C. 151, 152, 154(i), 157, 160, 201, 214, 222, 
251(e), 301, 302, 303, 307, 308, 309, 310, 316, 319, 324, 332, 333, 
615(a), 615(a) through 1, and 615(b).

0
2. Section 20.18 paragraph (n) is amended by adding paragraphs (9) 
through (12) to read as follows


Sec.  20.18  911 Service.

* * * * *
    (n) * * *
    (9) 911 Text Message. A 911 text message is a message, consisting 
entirely of text characters, intended to be delivered to a PSAP by a 
Covered Text Provider.
    (10) 911 Short Code. The 911 Short Code is the designated short 
code to identify a 911 Text Message to be sent to a designated PSAP.
    (11) No later than December 31, 2014, all covered text providers 
must have the capability to route a 911 text message to a PSAP. In 
complying with this requirement, covered text providers must route text 
messages to the same PSAP to which a 911 voice call would be routed, 
unless the responsible local or state entity designates a different 
PSAP to receive 911 text messages and informs the carrier of that 
change.
    (i) Covered text providers must begin routing all 911 texts 
messages to a PSAP making a valid request of the carrier within a 
reasonable amount of time, not to exceed six months.
    (ii) PSAPs may begin making valid requests prior to the December 
31, 2014, deadline for the capability to route 911 texts to PSAPs but 
covered text

[[Page 12458]]

providers are not obligated to begin providing such service until 
December 31, 2014.
    (iii) Valid Request means that:
    (A) The requesting PSAP represents that it is technically ready to 
receive 911 text messages in the format requested; and
    (B) The appropriate local or State 911 service governing authority 
has specifically authorized the PSAP to accept and, by extension, the 
signatory service provider to provide, text-to-911 service (and such 
authorization is not subject to dispute).
    (12) Covered Devices and Network Connection. Third party 
interconnected text providers that meet the definition of a ``covered 
text provider'' must offer the capability described in paragraph 
(n)(11) of this section during time periods when the mobile device is 
connected to a CMRS network.

[FR Doc. 2014-04731 Filed 3-4-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6712-01-P