911 location tracking should be added to VoIP calls, FCC chair says

Ajit Pai also wants people using multiline phone systems to have direct access to dial 911.

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Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert

People using tech platforms like VoIP to call 911 should have their location sent, too.

James Martin/CNET

The US Federal Communications Commission will be deciding next month whether to expand 911 location tracking to other calling platforms such as VoIP FCC  Chairman Ajit Pai said Tuesday that street address, floor number and suite number should be conveyed via all emergency calls.

Pai has produced draft rules that would see "dispatchable location" information provided to emergency responders "regardless of the technological platform used." This includes connected VoIP calls, multiline telephone systems, fixed telephone services and telecommunications relay services.

At the same time, Pai is pushing the FCC to implement Kari's Law, which would see dial-out requirements -- such as dialing 1 for an outside line in an office building -- removed from 911 calls being made from multiline phone systems. This includes offices, hotels, hospitals and college campuses.

During its August meeting, the FCC will also be voting on Pai's proposal to extend the robocalls ban to text messages and international calls.