Wireless carriers will have at least an additional six months to comply with the first benchmark designed to improve location information given to public safety answering points (PSAPs) when wireless 911 calls are made, according to a public notice released this week by the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.

Under the FCC order adopted Sept. 11, 2007, wireless carriers are supposed to meet new location-accuracy requirements in each economic area (EA) where it operates—the first step in a process designed to make the location-accuracy requirement apply to each PSAP territory by Sept. 11, 2012.

In the public notice, the FCC bureau said AT&T complained that the five-month delay in releasing and publishing the FCC order had “render[ed] it all but impossible to secure judicial review … prior to the September 11, 2008, effective date of the first benchmark.” Citing the delay, the FCC bureau agreed to stay the first benchmark deadline by six months, to March 11, 2009.

Public-safety organizations did not express any opposition to the benchmark deadline extension.

NENA has no objection to the extension in time and hope that all parties will use it wisely,” Patrick Halley, government affairs director for the National Emergency Number Association, said during an interview with MRT. “We continue to support the existing deadlines, understanding that there will be challenges in some cases. Hopefully, all parties can continue to work together to ensure that the deadlines will be met.”

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) also said it accepts the FCC extension notice.

"While APCO International has opposed a stay of the rules pending judicial review, we have no objection to the limited extension that the FCC granted today which reflects the delay in Federal Register publication of the rules," APCO International President Willis Carter said in a statement.

"However, this does not change the fact that PSAP-level accuracy will dramatically improve the 911 calltaker’s ability to locate and send appropriate resources to the growing number of callers using wireless phones and, because of this, wireless carriers should proceed as quickly possible toward reaching these goals."