Legislative Updates


Legislative Updates
(NENA would like to thank SCC Communications Corp. for providing these updates)

Last Modified 10/19/98

Received 10-19-98

U.S. Congress

Senator McCain and Representative Tauzin havejointly decided to withdraw the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1998(H.R. 3844/S.2519) from further consideration during the remainder of this legislativesession. The measure will likely be reintroduced early next year.


The Colorado 9-1-1 Task Force voted unanimously toadopt the Model Service Agreement drafted by the wireless carriers in consultation withrepresentatives of the public safety community. The Task Force is expected to travel thestate to familiarize authority boards with the statewide-averaged cost-based rates to beapplied to all 9-1-1 services, the terms of the new Model Service Agreement, and the formletters to be submitted to and accepted by carriers as valid requests for Phase I service.

Received 10-2-98

U.S. Congress

On Friday, September 25, Senate Commerce, Science,and Transportation Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) and Communications SubcommitteeChairman Conrad Burns (R-MT) introduced S 2519, the Senate version of the WirelessCommunications and Public Safety Act of 1998.

Support for the measure in the House (H.R. 3844) hassuffered a setback, however, due to objections raised by local governments. One issue ofparticular concern is the apparent preemption of local zoning powers relating to antennaeplacement on Federal properties. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 specifically providedfor the preservation of local zoning authority, but the language of H.R. 3844 would seemto preclude such land use restrictions except in accordance with very limitedenvironmental considerations established under Federal law.

In view of questionable support by local governmentand the number of other high priority measures facing the Congress, it is consideredunlikely that either the House or the Senate will schedule a vote on this measure beforethe current session ends.


The Colorado 9-1-1 Task Force Subcommittee hasadopted a final version of a Model Wireless E9-1-1 Service Agreement acceptable toCarriers and PSAP representatives. That version will be presented to the full Task Forceon October 8 where it is expected to be adopted. If that expectation is realized, it isanticipated that before the year ends virtually every PSAP in Colorado will have submitteda request for Phase I wireless E9-1-1 service.

The Task Force has already given its approval tostatewide-averaged cost-based rates for E9-1-1 services, as well as a Carrier-approvedform letter for Requests for Service & Collection of Surcharge. Agreement on a modelcontract will finally complete Task Force efforts to streamline and facilitate statewideimplementation of Phase I service in Colorado while providing full cost recovery forwireless carriers.




North Carolina

In North Carolina, Senate Bill 1242 has passed both houses, andawaits the governor’s signature. The Senate voted on third reading to concur with theHouse amendment to the bill, and the bill was enrolled September 10. The governor has 10session days, beginning the day after enrollment, to sign or veto the bill, or it becomeslaw.


Draft legislation previously known as Docket 2175has finally been assigned a bill number, Senate Bill 2328. The legislation, sponsored bySenator Pacheco, has been submitted to the Joint Committee on Government Regulation.

The legislation mandates cost recovery for wirelesscarriers in providing wireless enhanced 9-1-1 service, and imposes a $0.30 per month”Wireless Enhanced 911 Service Surcharge” on each telephone number, basedon the subscriber’s state of residence. The surcharge is to be remitted quarterly to theStatewide Emergency Telecommunications Board and placed in the “Wireless Enhanced911 Fund“. The Board is also ordered to reimburse wireless carriers from the fundand establish technical and operational standards for the state’s wireless E9-1-1 system.In addition, the Board has the authority to enter into service and equipment contracts andto increase the surcharge to a maximum of $0.75 per month.

If money is available, the Board may also distributesurcharge revenues to the PSAPs “…for the acquisition, upgrade ormodification of public safety answering point equipment to be capable of receivingwireless 911 service information, including necessary computer hardware, software and database provisioning, personnel costs, [etc]…

Wireless carriers are required to submit a reporteach quarter that specifies total surcharge revenues collected and the total amount billedby the carrier or reseller to the Board for providing wireless E9-1-1 service andequipment. The bill explicitly declares that such reports shall not be public documents.

The bill also proposes a limitation of liability:

No enhanced 911 provider, including wireless enhanced 911 service providers, or their employees, directors, officers, representatives or agents, or resellers, or any political subdivision, or officials, employees, agents, or representatives of a political subdivision, including the board, shall be liable to any person for civil damages resulting from, or caused by any act or omission in the development, design, installation, operation, maintenance, performance or provision of enhanced 911 service, except to the extent due directly to its willful misconduct or gross negligence. Also, no provider of enhanced 911 service, including a wireless enhanced 911 service provider, shall be liable to any person who uses enhanced 911 service, for the release of subscriber information, including but not limited to, billing information required under this act to any public safety answering point.

The provisions if the bill would take effect twomonths after passage. The surcharge imposed by the bill, and all authority to collect it,would expire five years after the effective date.




Assembly Bill 909 was amended on second reading July6. The amendment deleted the language granting wireless carriers limited immunity inproviding E9-1-1 service. All that remains of the bill is a provision that allows wireless9-1-1 calls to be routed to PSAPs instead of the California Highway Patrol in certainsituations. After amendment, the bill was sent back to the Senate Energy, Utilities andCommunications Committee, where a July 14 hearing has been postponed indefinitely.

Opponents of the bill offered the amendment, and thebill’s sponsors have been negotiating with those opponents to reintroduce compromiseimmunity language. An agreement has not been reached, prompting the postponement of thehearing scheduled for July 14. If the bill is amended and passed out of committee, it willthen face the August 31 deadline for non-urgency bills. If the measure is not passed bythis date, it must be reintroduced in the 1999-2000 legislative session.


Senator Pacheco has drafted wireless E9-1-1legislation, but has not yet been successful in having it assigned a bill number. Thelegislation is known only as Docket 2175, but activity of some kind is expected within thenext week. The legislature adjourns at the end of July, however, leaving the bill (ifintroduced) only two weeks to pass both chambers of the legislature.


Michigan has three pending E9-1-1 bills: House Bill5653, Senate Bill 1009 and Senate Bill 1010. HB 5653 is still in committee, while theSenate bills have both passed and await action in the House Judiciary Committee.

The House Bill addresses the funding issues that arepresented by FCC Docket # 94-102 and compliance therewith. This bill authorizes asurcharge of $0.65 per month per CMRS line. The proceeds of this charge are to bedeposited in a special CMRS emergency telephone fund. The bill provides that the fund isto be spent as follows: 20% shall be distributed evenly to counties in which a “final9-1-1 plan” is in place; 25% shall be distributed on a per capita basis to thosecounties in which a final 9-1-1 plan is in place; 5% shall be distributed to PSAPs fortraining and personnel needs; 50% shall be used by CMRS suppliers for installation of theequipment necessary to comply with the FCC Order. The bill also requires that theEmergency Telephone Service Committee appoint a subcommittee to be responsible forreviewing the expenditures related to CMRS 9-1-1 service. Finally, the bill requires thatthe Emergency Telephone Service Committee conduct a cost study, a report of which must besubmitted no later than August 31, 1999. The study will include information relating tothe extent to which CMRS 9-1-1 service has been implemented throughout the state, theactual costs incurred by PSAPs in complying with the FCC Order, and the adequacy of theservice charge imposed by the bill.

Senate Bill 1010, on the other hand, addresses otheraspects of CMRS 9-1-1 service. This bill adds specific definitions of ANI and ALI, as theyrelate to CMRS 9-1-1 service. In addition, the Senate bill sets forth a specificdefinition of Commercial Mobile Radio Service, as well as a definition of FCC Docket #94-102. Under this bill, CMRS users are specifically exempted from the tariff charged onwireline users. Furthermore, CMRS providers are exempted from the ALI requirements setforth in the original statute. However, CMRS providers are required to provide theinformation mandated by the FCC Order. Finally, this bill provides for liabilityprotection for CMRS service providers in connection with the provision of E9-1-1 service.Under the bill, a CMRS provider is not liable civil damages resulting from death or injuryto a person as a result of an act or omission in connection with providing CMRS E9-1-1service, unless that act constitutes gross negligence, willful or wanton misconduct, orcriminal behavior.

Senate Bill 1009 amends those sections of Michigan’sEmergency Telephone Service Enabling Act that address billing and collection of thestate’s emergency telephone technical charge. Under the current act, the technical chargeis computed as a percentage of the charge for a 1-party exchange access line. The billproposes to apply the percentage to the charge for a 1-party access line or $20.00 permonth, whichever is lower. The bill also allows emergency telephone districts to assignall or part of the revenues from the charge to any public entity that has issued bonds forthe benefit of the district.

The bills have a complicated interdependentrelationship. SB 1009 and SB 1010 cannot become law without passage of the other, while HB5653 cannot become law without the passage of SB 1009 and SB 1010. However, both Senatebills may become law without the passage of HB 5653.

If enacted, each of these bills will take effect 120days thereafter.


On May 21, 1998, the Missouri Legislature passed SB743 and presented it to the governor for signature. The governor signed the bill and ithas become law. The new law is an amalgamation of previously introduced public safetybills, addressing such issues as disaster management, ambulance service, and wirelessE9-1-1 service.

The new law amends RSMo 190.400 – 190.440 to addresswireless E9-1-1 issues. A Wireless Service Provider Enhanced 911 Advisory Board isestablished. Its primary duty is to advise the office of administration on theimplementation of FCC Docket No. 94-102.

The Wireless Service Provider Enhanced 911 ServiceFund is also established, to be funded by a surcharge not to exceed $0.50 per access lineper month. However, this surcharge is not automatically in force. The law directs thegovernor to place the $0.50 surcharge on the November 1998 ballot. Only if passed by thevoters would the surcharge become effective on January 1, 1999.

Funds raised by the surcharge are to be disbursed bythe office of administration, an executive office of the Missouri government that overseescapital investment and building programs. These funds are available for the reimbursementof actual costs incurred by Wireless Service Providers and PSAPs in implementing FCCDocket No. 94-102. Also, funds may be distributed to subsidize PSAPs in the state, basedon a formula created by the office of administration. This formula may include, but is notlimited to, call volume, population, and the number of wireless phones. The law doesrequire that at least 10% of the money distributed to subsidize PSAPs be given equally toall PSAPs providing wireless E9-1-1 service within the state.

The law also limits the civil and criminal liabilityof wireless carriers for the release of subscriber information in providing 9-1-1 serviceand “[any] act or omission in the development, design, installation, operation,maintenance, performance or provision of 911 service or other emergency wireless two- andthree-digit wireless numbers, unless such acts or omissions constitute gross negligence,recklessness or intentional misconduct.”

If enacted, the provisions relating to wirelessE9-1-1 would take effect immediately.

New York

Assembly Bill A03203 had passed the assembly and wasawaiting action in the Senate Rules Committee when the 1998 legislative session ended inlate June. The bill was effectively killed by the adjournment, and must be reintroducednext session.

Assembly Bill A03203 intended to address directlythe issue of equitable distribution of the wireless surcharge. These measure would haveplaced a limit on the amount of surcharge revenues flowing to the State Police, requiringthe balance of the funds to be distributed to the counties based upon population. Thesubstance of the bill had been incorporated in the body of a budget bill passed by thelegislature and presented to the governor for signature. The governor vetoed that bill,however, prompting the failed attempt to pass A03203.

North Carolina

On May 21, Senator Hoyle introduced Senate Bill1242. This bill is designed to establish a source of wireless E9-1-1 funding, limit theliability of CMRS 9-1-1 providers, and establish penalties for the misuse of the wireless9-1-1 system. The bill has been reported favorably from committee and passed a SecondReading on July 14. It is expected to pass a Third Reading and move to the House on July15.

Senate Bill 1242 creates a permanent cost recoverymechanism sufficient to meet the requirements of FCC Docket No. 94-102 (now moreappropriately cited as 47 C.F.R. 20.18). The Bill establishes the “Wireless911 Advisory Board,” which is instructed to maintain the “Wireless Fund.”The Wireless Fund’s source of revenue is a service charge of $0.80 per month on eachCMRS connection. The amount of the service charge is adjustable by the board every twoyears, beginning July 1, 2000, but cannot exceed $1.25 per month.

Sixty percent of the Fund is to be distributed toCMRS carriers to cover their costs of “designing, upgrading, purchasing, leasing,programming, installing, testing, or maintaining, all necessary data, hardware, andsoftware required in order to provide such service as well as recurring and nonrecurringcosts of operating such service.” The other 40% is distributed to eligible PSAPs.An “eligible PSAP” is defined as a PSAP that has opted to provide wirelessE9-1-1 and has submitted written notice to their CMRS providers and to the WirelessAdvisory Board. Fifty percent of the money is divided equally among all PSAPs in thestate, with only eligible PSAPs receiving their share. Money forfeited by the ineligiblePSAPs is then divided and distributed among the eligible PSAPs. The other 50% is dividedpro rata among the eligible PSAPs according to the population served.

Finally, the bill provides for immunity from civilliability for CMRS 9-1-1 service providers “in connection with developing,adopting, implementing, maintaining, or operating any wireless 911 system or wirelessEnhanced 911 system,” except in instances of wanton and willful misconduct. Thisprovision does not provide protection in the event of disclosure of subscriber informationin handling a 9-1-1 call.

The act is to become effective 90 days afterpassage. Within 30 days of this effective date, all appointments to the Wireless 911Advisory Board are to be made.

Rhode Island

Senate Bill 2838 has passed the Rhode Islandlegislature June 30 and became law without the governor’s signature July 7.

S 2838 expands the purposes for which moneysaccumulated in the E 9-1-1 fund may be used and provides that each telecommunicationsservices provider shall bill the funding surcharge. The measure also changes the makeup ofthe E 9-1-1 Uniform Emergency Telephone System Division advisory commission by adding theadministrator of the division of public utilities and carriers, and by eliminating therepresentative of New England telephone and telegraph company.




Assembly Bill 2596, which proposed immunity forwireless carriers in providing E9-1-1 service, has a new bill number, AB 909. The originalbill was stalled due to provisions unrelated to wireless immunity. The sponsor,Assemblywoman Helen Thomson, was then granted permission by Assemblyman George Runner toinclude the wireless immunity provision in AB 909. The wireless immunity languagecontained in AB 909 is identical to the original language of AB 2596.

The bill grants civil immunity to providersof commercial mobile radio service “in connection with the development, adoption,implementation, maintenance, enhancement, or operation of emergency telephone services,”unless the injury, death or property damage arises from intentional, willful and wantonmisconduct or gross negligence on the part of the CMRS provider. If enacted, this sectionwill not be retroactive, and will apply only to acts or omissions after January 1, 1999.

The bill has passed in the Assembly and is incommittee in the Senate.


Representative Cross introduced HB 646 in theIllinois House of Representatives during the 1998 term. However, on May 15 he filed amotion of non-concurrence, ending his affiliation with the bill. The 1998 regular term hasnow ended, and only a three-day veto session remains on the House schedule this year.Passage of HB 646 in the veto session is highly unlikely. The legislation may be assigneda new bill number for next year’s session, or new legislation may be introduced.


On May 21, 1998, the Missouri Legislature passed SB743 and presented it to the governor for signature. The governor has until July 15 to vetothe measure or it will become law. The bill is an amalgamation of previously introducedpublic safety bills, addressing such issues as disaster management, ambulance service, andwireless E9-1-1 service.

The bill amends RSMo 190.400 – 190.440 toaddress wireless E9-1-1 issues. A Wireless Service Provider Enhanced 911 Advisory Boardis established. Its primary duty is to advise the office of administration on theimplementation of FCC Docket No. 94-102.

The Wireless Service Provider Enhanced 911Service Fund is also established, to be funded by a surcharge not to exceed $0.50 peraccess line per month. However, this surcharge is not automatically in force. Thebill directs the governor to place the $0.50 surcharge on the November 1998 ballot. Onlyif passed by the voters would the surcharge become effective on January 1, 1999.

Funds raised by the surcharge are to be disbursed bythe office of administration, an executive office of the Missouri government that overseescapital investment and building programs. These funds are available for the reimbursementof actual costs incurred by Wireless Service Providers and PSAPs in implementing FCCDocket 94-102. Also, funds may be distributed to subsidize PSAPs in the state, based on aformula created by the office of administration. This formula may include, but is notlimited to call volume, population, and the number of wireless phones. The bill doesrequire that at least 10% of the money distributed to subsidize PSAPs be given equally toall PSAPs providing wireless E9-1-1 within the state.

The bill also limits the civil and criminalliability of wireless carriers for the release of subscriber information in providing9-1-1 service and “[any] act or omission in the development, design, installation,operation, maintenance, performance or provision of 911 service or other emergencywireless two- and three-digit wireless numbers, unless such acts or omissions constitutegross negligence, recklessness or intentional misconduct.”

If enacted, the provisions relating to wirelessE9-1-1 would take effect immediately.

New York

Assembly Bill A10191, which would have raised thewireless surcharge in New York from $0.35 to $1.00, has been held in committee and is deadfor this year. Assembly Bill A03203, sponsored by Assemblyman Sweeney, is still incommittee. This bill would raise the wireless surcharge to $0.70, and provides for thedisbursement of funds based solely on the proportional population of counties, cities,towns and villages.


Senate Bill 1010 has been passed and signed by theGovernor. The legislation creates the Statewide Emergency 911 Development Committee.Appointments to the committee must be made by January 1, 1999, and the committee isauthorized through November 1, 2002. Membership will include local and long distancecarriers, local government, a director of an emergency telephone system, the Commissionerof the Department of Public Safety, and various other political appointments. Thecommittee is empowered to oversee implementation of statewide emergency 9-1-1 services,establish statewide equipment and operating standards, and monitor technologicaladvancements in 9-1-1 technology. Most importantly, the committee is authorized to “selectand assist in the implementation of a model for an enhanced emergency nine-one-one (911)system and develop minimum performance and operating standards for the model system.”


HB 3190 passed both houses of the Tennesseelegislature and became law without the governor’s signature. The new law amends7-86-102 et seq. of the Tennessee Code, establishing an Emergency Communications Board.It establishes a statewide emergency telephone service charge for CMRS subscribers notto exceed the business-classification rate of $3.00 (but the lowest rate practicable).

The actual CMRS rate will be set by the Board, butbefore it may go into effect it must first be ratified by a Joint Resolution of thelegislature. In cases where a communications district is in financial difficulties, theBoard may independently institute within that district, a wireline service charge rate notto exceed $3.00 per access line per month. Previously, the imposition of such a raterequired a referendum in the area affected.

Wireless surcharge funds will be deposited in a 911Emergency Communications Fund to be disbursed primarily for implementing, maintaining,and enhancing wireless 9-1-1 service throughout the state, and establishing 9-1-1 servicethroughout the state. The wireless carriers will collect and remit the surcharge,retaining 3% as an administrative fee Carriers will have not more than 60 days fromnotification of the service charge rate (or of subsequent changes in rate) to implementthe charge. The charge will not be effective, however, until April 1, 1999.

Of the revenues remitted to the Fund, 25% must bedistributed directly to emergency communications districts based upon population. TheBoard will be free to spend the balance of the funds as it deems will best serve thepurposes of the Act.

The new law contains a provisionwhich purports to grant CMRS providers the same liability protections afforded wirelinecarriers under an existing statute. Specifically, the new law provides that acommercial mobile radio service provider shallnot have any greater responsibility or duty to its customers or other persons with respectto 911 calls and the operation of a 911 system than does a non-commercial mobile radioservice provider to its customers or other persons.”



U.S. Congress

On May 12, Representative Tauzin introduced H.R.3844, the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1998. This is the firstsignificant piece of federal legislation to promote wireless E9-1-1 implementation, costrecovery, and limitation of liability for wireless service providers since the FCC adoptedits Report and Order in CC Docket No. 94-102.

The bill seeks as its primary purpose to encourageand facilitate the “prompt deployment throughout the United States of a seamless,ubiquitous, and reliable end-to-end infrastructure for communications, including wirelesscommunications…” in order to meet the nation’s public safety and othercommunications needs. The focus of the legislation is directed upon the following areas ofconcern:

  • Designating 9-1-1 as the Universal Emergency Number
  • Establishment of the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Fund (WICAPS Fund)
  • Federal Assistance to States
  • Rural Assistance to States
  • Research & Development on Crash Information Systems
  • Use of Federal Property for Siting of Wireless Infrastructure
  • Parity of Protection for Provision of Wireless 9-1-1 Service

Universal Emergency Number

The number 9-1-1 would be designated as theuniversal emergency telephone number within the United States for reporting an emergencyand requesting assistance. The bill requires any department, agency, officer, orinstrumentality of the federal government to ensure that communications systems availablein whole or in part to members of the public for use in reporting emergencies (1)accommodate the number 9-1-1; (2) use the number 9-1-1 for reporting emergencies bymembers of the public; and (3) do not designate to the public any number other than 9-1-1for the reporting of emergencies.

The declaration by the federal government that 9-1-1is the universal emergency number wouldn’t ordinarily be of legal significance at thestate or local level. In this case, however, the sponsors have written into the measure arequirement that states enact similar declarations in order to qualify for the fundsoffered under the bill.


The most important provision of this bill involvesthe establishment in the Treasury of the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Fund(WICAPS Fund). This Fund has the potential of providing significant assistance to statesin implementing Phase I and II wireless enhanced services. One section of the billauthorizes matching grants to states as a whole, while a separate section authorizesdiscretionary rural assistance grants.

Population-Based Matching Grants

In order to qualify for participation in the grantsprogram created by the bill, the Governor of each state would first have to submit a plan.That plan must include the following components:

  • Certification that the state has designated 9-1-1 as a universal emergency telephone number.

  • Certification that the state has in place policies to encourage the public to report “significant risks to the safety of members of the traveling public,” which would include incidents of driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, aggressive driving, or other dangerous driving behavior.

  • Certification that the state makes significant efforts to minimize dangerous driving behavior (through youth and adult driver education, for example).

  • Certification that the state, in making qualifying expenditures for which matching funds will be provided, will not use funds provided by the Federal Government or funds “raised by a tax or surcharge on wireless carriers or subscribers.”

  • Provision for statewide coordination through a single focal point of the deployment and functioning of a “comprehensive end-to-end emergency communications system, including enhanced wireless 9-1-1 service.

  • A description of the mechanism used in the state for wireless carrier recovery of costs related to the provision of Phase I and Phase I ANI and ALI to requesting PSAPs.

  • A description of the activities to be undertaken with the grant in furtherance of the stated purposes of the grant program.

The WICAPS Fund would have as its Administrator theAdministrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Administratorwould have a maximum of 90 days from receipt of a plan submitted by a Governor (ordesignee) to make a grant to the state. The two major questions: How much grant money canthe state obtain? And for what purposes may it be used?

Grant size is calculated on a fiscal year basisaccording to the following formulae:

[2/3 of the total fiscal year appropriation forgrants]

X [State population ÷ U.S. population]= grantamount


3 X [State spending commitment, excluding federal

funds or wireless surcharge revenues]= grant amount

which ever is less.

New spending by the state is still a prerequisitefor obtaining a grant, even if the amount of the grant is finally determined on thebasis of population.

Grant funds are to be used exclusively for thefollowing purposes:

  • To pay the nonrecurring costs associated with the “acquisition, upgrade, or modification of equipment” to be used for the receipt of enhanced wireless 9-1-1 service information.
  • To pay the nonrecurring costs incurred by non-governmental entities “in providing enhanced wireless 9-1-1 service or in acquiring the capability to provide such service.
  • For implementation of “other emergency prevention, educational, or pre-hospital emergency programs and investments which will utilize or make effective the end-to-end system envisioned by this Act.”

The WICAPS Fund receives its capital from therevenues earned by government agencies from the leasing of government property to wirelesscarriers, as provided in this legislation. The projected amount of revenues likely to flowinto the WICAPS Fund from such leases is unclear, however. The size of the Fund, and byextension the amounts likely to be made available in grants to states, will largelydetermine whether this bill, if enacted, will have a meaningful impact on the scope andrate of wireless E9-1-1 implementation.

Rural Assistance Grants to States

In order to qualify for a Rural Assistance Grant,the state must submit a plan similar to that required for a matching grant. The onlydifference is that there is no requirement that the state commit to spending its own funds(however acquired).

The Administrator is not under any time constraintsor obligation to make Rural Assistance Grants. When a decision is made to provide a grant,however, the grant amount is whatever the Administrator deems “appropriate toassist in ensuring the achievement of the purpose of this Act in rural areas of the State.“This assumes, as the bill explicitly states, that sufficient funds are available in theWICAPS Fund to make the grant.

Rural Assistance Grants are available in additionto, not as a substitute for, Population-Based Matching Grants.

Research & Development on Crash Information Systems

Within 90 days of its enactment, the bill requiresthe Administrator to establish a program to fund (from the WICAPS Fund) R & Dinvestments in two areas:

  • An end-to-end crash notification system that, in the event of a crash, would automatically transmit via wireless telephone information about the crash to appropriate emergency personnel.

  • A uniform wireless telephone interface for motor vehicles that permits (a) the transmission of crash data, and (b) voice activated, hands-free use of all models of wireless telephones.

The bill places a lifetime cap on such investmentsof $60,000,000.

Use of Federal Property

In order to encourage the rapid construction andexpansion of the wireless communications infrastructure, this bill makes the real propertyof the United States available “to the maximum extent practicable for the sitingof facilities that are part of that infrastructure.” As a practical matter, theinfrastructure referred to will consist almost exclusively of cellular antennae andassociated hardware.

The bill establishes time frameworks in whichrequests for access to federal property must be processed, defines the content of suchrequests, and sets forth a process for judicial review in the event a request is denied.

Wireless Emergency Services Advisory Group

The bill would require the Administrator and theFCC, acting jointly, to establish the Wireless Emergency Services Advisory Group. TheGroup would advise the Administrator and the Commission on implementation of the Act, andwould make annual reports to Congress. Membership of the Group would includerepresentatives of appropriate agencies (federal, state, and local), thetelecommunications industry, emergency medical services providers, public safety, fireservice, law enforcement, trauma care personnel, and the general public.

Parity of Protection for Service Providers & Users

Perhaps the most immediate and tangible benefit ofthis bill is its resolution of the limitation of liability issue on a nationwide basis. Awireless carrier, and its officers, directors, employees, vendors, and agents would begranted immunity or other protection from liability “of a scope and extent that isnot less than the scope

and extent of immunity or other protection fromliability that a local exchange company, and its officers… have under applicablelaw.”

Included under the umbrella of such protection wouldbe acts or omissions involving virtually every aspect of service: design, installation,operation, maintenance, performance, or provision of telecommunications service, includingwireless 9-1-1 service. It would also include transmission errors, failures, network

outages, or other technical difficulties that mayarise in handling emergency calls or in providing emergency services. And it would alsocover the release of subscriber information related to emergency calls or emergencyservices involving the use of wireless services.

The bill also contains a parity provision for usersof wireless 9-1-1 service. Such users would enjoy immunity or other protection fromliability that is not less in scope or extent than that under applicable law in similarcircumstances of a person using 9-1-1 service that is not wireless.