Cellular 911

As many people leave their fixed line phones for wireless only devices there will be an inevitable problem of safety. You see cellular phones do not have the ability to relay location information as accurately as a fixed line phone. The CTIA reports that 230,000 calls to 911 are made from cell phones each day. The group also estimates that 8.4 percent of households are "wireless only."
In some areas of the country 71% of tests for 911 location accuracy would result in a failing grade. These locations include Marion County, Fla., which includes the city of Ocala; Onondaga County in New York and Jasper County, Mo.
But companies are allowed to measure their accuracy over a much larger area — an entire state, for example. That means highly accurate results in one area may drive up the average overall.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin told the AP earlier this month that he will recommend to the commission that it order companies to begin testing at the community, or "public safety answering point" level.

Joe Farren, spokesman for CTIA, said when customers call 911 "the first thing you should do if you can, is to provide your location."

Farren said the technology is "certainly not perfect" and it was "was never envisioned to be perfect," but that it is "as good as today’s technology allows it to be."

This is great advice and is worth sharing with loved ones. Until wireless location tracking technology improves it is imperative we are aware of such problems and realize the tradeoffs we make by eliminating fixed line use.

  • billo14
    April 28, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    As with cellular 911 issues of location, VoIP has very similar issues.
    Would a sticker be of value on a VoIP phone instrument cautioning the phone user to immediately “identify their physical location when calling 911”?
    Among many senarios that could happen in a home with VoIP service, house guests would certainly only be aware of this necessity of identification when using a VoIP service for emergency reporting.
    Maybe the VoIP vendors should implement such policy and provide such a sticker.

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