Technology and Disability Policy Highlights - January 2020


In January, The Wireless E911 Location Accuracy Requirements [PS Docket No. 07-114] final ruling was published in the Federal Register, which focused on the adoption of a z-axis location accuracy metric. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also noted that it now requires nationwide commercial mobile radio service (CMRS) providers to deploy dispatchable location technology to meet the latest rulemaking. This final ruling is effective on March 16, 2020. Related to this Final Ruling on compliance with E-911 services, the FCC released a Proposed Rule [PS Docket No. 07-114] seeking comments on the adoption of a timeline for narrowing the z-axis location accuracy metric and requiring the CMRS providers to deliver floor level information to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). The FCC requests comments on or before February 18, 2020 and reply comments on or before March 16, 2020.

In Wireless RERC news, we provided input to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 2020 Revision of Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 101: Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans. The last time the Guide was updated was in 2010, predating the commercial availability of Wireless Emergency Alerts. As such, among other things, recommendations were made to update the communications sections to make reference to mobile emergency alerting and to include guidance on elements of accessible emergency messaging. We also produced our annual content review of the TDPH. This past year’s hot topics included increased access via wireless technologies and next-generation connected devices, continued expansion of accessibility policy, the increased development of assistive technology research and design, and improved inclusive designs in public spaces. The top five most cited words for 2019 were access, policy, conference, research, and devices. Wireless RERC researchers published three regulatory filings. The Wireless RERC also kept busy with our three-part YouTube video tutorial series, Unboxing the Echo and Powering it up, What the four top buttons do, and What to expect when synching the Alexa app and your new Echo.

This issue also includes news about 5G, the ADA’s 30th Anniversary, assistive technology, an Inclusive Design Challenge, autonomous vehicles, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and more.