03/06/2007

CRTC decision on extending access to ILEC 9-1-1 database information to local authorities for the purpose of providing an enhanced community notification service.
Background:

In June 2004, Strathcona County on behalf of itself, AMO, the City of Fort Saskatchewan, the City of Brandon, the New Brunswick Department of Safety, Emergency Management Alberta, Emergency Management Ontario, the County of Essex and the City of Niagara Falls (“the Municipalities”) filed an application under Part VII of the CRTC Telecommunications Rules of Procedure. The application asked that government authorities responsible for providing emergency services be granted access to enhanced 9-1-1  (E9-1-1) database information with the purpose of providing telephone-based emergency alerts. Currently maintained by Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs), this information would allow local authorities to implement Community Notification Services (CNS). CNS would allow local authorities to notify citizens of imminent threats to public safety. ILECs largely embraced the concept of CNS. However, they did note several privacy-related concerns that would need to be addressed by the CRTC. 

The CRTC has received submissions and comments from the Municipalities, ILECs and other stakeholders on this issue.

The Decision

The CRTC determined that it is in the public interest to allow ILECs to provide E9-1-1 information for a telephone-based community notification service. ILECs must provide this information where available and as requested by a public authority. However, this permission is subject to several limitations, safeguards, notification requirements and other constraints outlined below. It will take one year before a full set of guidelines, security procedures and practices for enhanced CNS are in place.

The transfer of ILEC E911 information is limited to telephone numbers and associated addresses. Its use is limited to public authorities – broadly defined to account for the diverse structure of emergency service groups. The information may only be deployed when there is an emergency, defined as “an imminent or unfolding danger that threatens the life, health or security of an individual”, as determined by a public authority. The use of E9-1-1 information is limited to the specific emergency alert and parties must destroy 
E9-1-1 information once notification has been completed. If the CRTC determines that CNS information is misused, ILECs must suspend or terminate the disclosure of E9-1-1 information.

Authorized administrators for public alerts are restricted to PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points), which also manage 911 calls.

To ensure privacy is respected, public authorities must submit annual enhanced CNS reports detailing the circumstances surrounding any public alert. Non-disclosure agreements with ILECs must be in place, signed by the public authority, authorized administrators and CNS providers. The E9-1-1 information may not be enriched with additional personal information, except supplemental geographic information to be used to improve enhanced CNS delivery. 

A set of standard guidelines, security procedures and practices for enhanced CNS will be established by the CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee (CISC), to be put forth one year from the date of the decision. The Municipalities’ draft guidelines will inform this process. Prior notification regarding the use of enhanced CNS must be provided by local public authorities, who must bear these associated costs. At minimum, this must be in the form of a billing insert three months before the service becomes operational. 

Both ILEC and non-ILEC CNS providers may operate as the CNS provider. Neither GIS nor IVR (integrated voice response) capabilities are mandatory for ILECs to provide enhanced CNS. Centralized enhanced CNS functions across ILECs were recommended to ensure greater efficiency. Such centralization will be the responsibility of ILECs, but the associated costs will be included in the cost of the service. ILECs must file proposed tariff pages, following a request from a public authority. CISC will address all future operational issues as they arise.

CNS costs, including the implementation costs, will be recovered by the ILEC from the public authority through an explicit tariff rate. Mark-up on costs related by elements such as the E9-1-1 CNS repository are limited to a maximum of 10 per cent, in line with the constraint imposed on 911 service. ILECs must indemnify the local public authority in the event of a claim arising out of a breach of the agreement by the ILEC. ILECs are to be held to the same standard of limited liability that applies to 911 terms of service.

Action: 

For information.