Emergency Services Interconnection Forum
Issue Identification Form
Informative Announcement for 9-1-1 Callers in Times of Network
ESIF Issue Number: ESIF-028
* Final Closure
Submission Date: September 15, 2003
Acceptance Date: (ESIF 7) October 14, 2003
Estimated Resolution Date: n/a
Initial Closure Date: January 22, 2004 (ESIF 8)
Final Closure Date: April 22, 2004 (ESIF 9)
* Current Status should be one of the following: Proposed, Active, Initial Closure, Final Closure,
Withdrawn, No Industry Agreement
Issue Statement/Business Need: The following issue is being submitted for review and action by
ESIF (Emergency Service Interconnection Forum) in response to an FCC inquiry as a result of the
Thursday, August 14, 2003 North East United States power outage.
During the power outage there was a significant increase of 9-1-1 calls, both wireless and
wireline. When a wireless customer saw a „READY‟ status on their cellphone they assumed that
they could complete a 9-1-1 call. When a wireline customer picked up the phone and heard „dial
tone‟, they expected to complete a 9-1-1 call. During periods of congestion, such as the power
outage, 9-1-1 callers received a „fast busy‟ signal, which indicated the 9-1-1 call did not complete.
If in fact the network is OK but simply overloaded, then a fast busy may be appropriate unless a
more informative announcement can be devised.
The advantage to the carrier in providing an informative announcement to the 9-1-1 caller, instead
of a fast busy, is that it should cut down significantly on the number of call attempts that cannot be
completed. The advantage to the 9-1-1 caller is that they may receive information that will enable
them to reach the needed emergency assistance.
Desired Results: The establishment of an informative announcement for 9-1-1 callers that could
be invoked during times of network congestion. The content of the informative message could be
preprogrammed or „ad hoc‟, based on nature of situation. There would be some manufacturer
software feature changes needed for switches / selective routers that handle 9-1-1 calls.
When a caller dials 9-1-1 over a wireless or wireline network and receives a fast busy, one of
several things has happened. Examples: 1) the network could be overloaded due to number of
callers dialing 9-1-1, 2) a cable cut between the wireless switching office and the wireline network,
3) cable cut between the calling end office and the E9-1-1 tandem, 4) failure of the E9-1-1
tandem, 5) cable cuts between the E9-1-1 tandem and the PSAP, 6) failure of SS7 where the E9-
1-1 trunks are controlled by SS7 and etc.
When a caller dials 9-1-1 they expect a person to immediately answer the call and ask questions
about their emergency situation. During times of increased call volume that is not always going to
happen. Most of the time, the caller receives a fast busy signal. At the present time, there is no
national operating standard other than providing a fast busy signal.
It‟s significant to note that wireless users are generating most of the calls to 9-1-1.
What Should ESIF Do?:
Investigate the establishment of a national operating standard that switch / selective router
vendors have the feature capability of producing an announcement when a 9-1-1 call can not be
completed. The issue of cost recovery should be part of the process, as it will be critical for
implementation, especially in rural areas.
Impact on Other Issues or Procedures: The impact would be that 9-1-1 callers, who previously
received a fast busy signal, would be receiving an announcement that would provide the
appropriate emergency assistance information.
Activity Log (can be very brief but this must be regularly updated on a meeting-by-meeting basis):
ESIF 7 – This issue was accepted and forwarded to Study Group B.
ESIF 8 – Mark Drennan, Subcommittee B Chair, noted that the announcement requires a lot more
time than a “fast busy.” The study group ultimately recommended a fast busy (Treatment 120). Mark
Drennan noted that he was not aware of whether or not there needs to be any educational outreach
with this issue. It was noted that if the FCC were to have any questions with the disposition of this
issue, that they should contact Roger Hixson, NENA. ESIF members agreed to place the issue in
ESIF 9 – The issue was placed in Final Closure.
Name: Jim Lankford
Company: SBC Communications
Address: 105 Auditorium Circle
San Antonio, TX 78205
Telephone: (210) 222. 3234
The issue was resolved with the recommendation of a “fast busy” (Treatment 120).