Federal 911 Law to Take Effect in February

November 12, 2019

The new law, known as “Kari’s Law,” sets new requirements for multi-line telephone systems, used by many Minnesota cities.

A new federal law requires multi-line telephone systems (MLTS)—used by many Minnesota cities—to allow users to dial 911 without needing to dial any other number (such as 9) to access an outside line.

Work with provider

Most existing phone systems will comply with the new requirements through reconfiguration, but cities with MLTS should work with their telephone provider to ensure that their systems are in compliance. The new law, known as “Kari’s Law,” takes effect on Feb. 16, 2020.

In addition to the 911 dialing mandate, the law requires MLTS to be capable of providing a notification to a central location from wherever the call originates.

What MLTS includes

Under this law, MLTS includes “common control units, telephone sets, control hardware and software, and adjunct systems.”

This includes common network and premises-based systems such as Centrex and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

FCC rules

Since the passage of Kari’s Law in 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved rules to guide the implementation of the legislation. The FCC rules clarified that the requirements apply to legacy MLTS as well as network and premises based systems, including Internet Protocol-based systems and cloud-based services if they are installed or manufactured after Feb. 16, 2020.

The FCC rules also outline that MLTS must provide a valid callback number and provide dispatchable location information to 911. Dispatchable information includes the street address of the calling party, as well as additional information such as room number or floor number, to accurately identify the location of the calling party.

—View the FCC rules (pdf)