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Consultation of ACM’s policy rule regarding calls to Dutch emergency number 112

02-06-2020

Mobile telecom operators must ensure that Dutch emergency number 112 can be reached (officially in Dutch: ‘aankiesbaar’, which translates to ‘dialable’) using all technologies that they use for establishing regular phone calls. This is one of the conclusions in the draft policy rule that the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has made available to market participants for consultation. The draft policy rule additionally stipulates what personal and location details the telecom operators must also send, so that, in emergency situations, it is immediately clear who is calling and from what location. With the policy rule, ACM has clarified an obligation in the Dutch Telecommunications Act that telecom operators need to comply with.

New technologies

At the moment, mobile calls to emergency number 112 are usually made over the 2G or 3G networks. However, over the next few years, 2G and 3G will increasingly be replaced by 4G and 5G, and calls over Wi-Fi will also play a more and more important role. In order to make it clear that, in the future, the emergency number must also be reachable when using these new technologies, ACM explains in the draft policy rule how telecom operators should make and keep 112 reachable. In a nutshell, 112 must be accessible through all methods that consumers also use for making other calls. For example, if a telecom operator offers ‘Wi-Fi calling’, it must also be possible to use that technology for calling 112.

Location details

The draft policy rule also stipulates what location details telecom operators must also send with the 112 call under the Dutch Telecommunications Act, for example, the location of the tower to which the device is connected. However, more accurate location information from the device as well as information about the identity of the caller must be sent, too, if available. With such information, emergency services will be able to know sooner where they need to go to. Many telecom operators have already made the necessary adjustments so that this information is also sent along with the call.

The data must be as complete as possible

Finally, the draft policy rule also stipulates which technology should be used (and in what order) if the call can be made using multiple technologies. This is necessary, because certain technologies are not capable of transmitting as much data to 112 as other technologies can. According to ACM, providers should ensure that preference is given to those technologies that are able to transmit the most data. Therefore, emergency calls to 112 should, at first, always be made using the 2G/3G/4G/5G mobile network of the telecom operator. In the case of poor mobile coverage, Wi-Fi should be used if the telecom operator also uses that for establishing regular phone calls. If Wi-Fi is also unavailable, a mobile network of another telecom operator should be used.

Submitting your opinions

ACM wishes to have the draft policy rule enter into force on 1 January, 2021. ACM offers interested parties the opportunity to submit their opinions on the draft policy rule. Comments and opinions will be taken into account when finalizing the policy rule. Opinions are welcome through 23 June 2020. Please send your opinions to beleidsregel112@acm.nl, or to:

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets
Telecommunications, Transport and Postal Services Department (TVP)
P.O. Box 16326
2500 BH The Hague
The Netherlands

See also

02-06-2020 Draft policy rule regarding calls to Dutch emergency number 112 (in Dutch)