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Tuesday, April 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Wireless 911

WASHINGTON (CN) - A parent can have the technology to find a twelve year old at a party, but 911 centers can lack the information to find an emergency called in from a cell phone. Wireless companies are ultimately responsible for getting the dispatchers accurate location data by latitude and longitude, but many have been submitting progress results to the Federal Communications Commission showing accuracy averaged across states or the whole country.

The reports make it look like accuracy is improving overall, but it can be improving dramatically in the cities while locating emergencies in rural areas is inaccurate enough to be meaningless. Imagine a 911 call center receiving the location "Upstate New York" while trying to dispatch the closest vehicles to the emergency. The FCC scolds that "it is unreasonable to think that the Commission ever envisioned" the data to be presented this way, and requires data to be measured at the 911 center level, with progress being made each year, and for the wireless companies to be fully accurate within five years. Click here for details and other new regulations and notices.

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