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FCC to vote on rules to make it easier to call 911 from multiline telephones

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FCC to vote on rules to make it easier to call 911 from multiline telephones

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is slated to vote on a proposal that would make it easier to communicate with emergency services from multiline telephones at the FCC's open meeting later this month.

Multiline telephone systems, which are used in many office spaces and hotels, frequently require that a caller dial 9 to call an outside number. At its open meeting Sept. 26, the commission will consider a notice of proposed rulemaking that offers rules to help implement Kari's Law, which requires these phones be configured to dial 911 directly.

The law, which was signed earlier this year by President Donald Trump, is named after a woman named Kari Hunt Dunn who was murdered in a Texas hotel room in 2013. Kari's 9-year-old daughter tried to call 911 but couldn't get through because of the prefix requirement.

The rule would propose applying specific location information for emergency dispatchers when receiving calls from multiline telephone services, fixed telephone services, interconnected Voice over IP services, and relay services.

The commission will also vote Sept. 26 on a proposal to eliminate a form that requires cable operators to submit information about network operations. While the form requires information about functionalities like network structure, subscriber numbers and system capacity, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a Sept. 4 blog post that the disclosures are no longer necessary.

"We've found that much of the information on this form can be obtained from other sources without imposing a burden on cable operators and the Commission," Pai wrote. "Additionally, the video business has changed a lot, diminishing the usefulness of this form."

Pai has been vocal about his commitment to modernizing or repealing "outdated rules" throughout his time as the head of the commission.

Another vote is scheduled on a proceeding that aims to update rules governing how local franchising authorities, such as cities or municipalities, may regulate incumbent cable operators and cable television services. The proceeding stipulates that certain "in-kind" contributions or payments required by a franchising agreement should be treated as "franchise fees." Thus, they would be subject to the statutory cap on franchise fees, which states local authorities cannot impose fees above 5% of an operator's gross revenues.

Also on the FCC's agenda is the consideration of an order aimed at making it easier for network operators to deploy small cells, which are compact cellular base stations deemed necessary for 5G deployment. The wireless industry is hoping to deploy hundreds of thousands of small cells by 2026.