The great migration from on-premises phone systems to cloud-based Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) increased in popularity this year. UCaaS capabilities seem to solve many UC-related administration and operational burdens although challenges remain, especially when it comes to Enhanced 911 (E911). With E911 compliance being of critical importance and one of the main E911 challenges for many enterprises, here is a high-level overview of the E911 rules and regulations that apply to a UCaaS environment, and how to plan an E911 strategy with E911 compliance in mind.
Organizations who operate on-premises, hosted or hybrid Multi-line Telephone Systems (MLTS) are required to fulfill their federal E911 regulatory obligations and meet state requirements where applicable.
Kari’s Law became effective on February 16, 2020. Enterprises with MLTS that were brought into use after February 16, 2020 must comply with two requirements of this federal law and the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) rules implementing Kari’s Law:
Permit users to directly initiate a call to 911 without dialing any prefix, suffix or trunk access code
Provide a notification to a central location whenever a 911 call is made from the system, if it can be done without an improvement to the system’s hardware or software.
The FCC’s rules implementing Section 506 of RAY BAUM’S Act require those same enterprises to convey a dispatchable location to the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) with calls to 911. MLTS managers and operators with fixed devices have until January 6, 2021 to comply while those with non-fixed devices have until January 6, 2022.
Additionally, 24 states within the United States have their own set of E911 regulations with various requirements such as square footage limitations for identifying caller locations, notification to a central point and elimination of dialing access codes.
Planning Your E911 Strategy for UCaaS
E911 compliance should be one of the first considerations to keep in mind when planning to migrate your UC deployment to the cloud. Can your users access 911 directly when calling from their soft client at home or remotely? Does your UCaaS platform have 911 notification capabilities and if so, are they enabled? Are 911 locations assigned to each user using a softphone and if so, does the location information meet the dispatchable location requirement? Does the 911 call route to the appropriate PSAP?
Intrado, in collaboration with Nemertes Research, dives deeper into E911 compliance for UCaaS in its thought-leading whitepaper, What Enterprises Need to Know About E911 and UCaaS. Download the resource to find out more about the E911 rules that apply to UCaaS platforms, and the E911 technologies that can be leveraged by UCaaS providers and enterprises in order to meet their state and federal E911 requirements.