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* Wireless Week E911

A primer on E 9-1-1

E911... you've heard the term but what exactly does it mean and what does it have to do with location-based industries? In order to familiarize you with enhanced 9-1-1 (e911), we've provided a short primer and listed examples and pointers to agencies that are addressing e911 concerns

By GeoCommunity Staff
When a caller dials 911, the address and phone number of the caller is displayed on a screen at the 911 center. Enhanced 911 or E911 provides dispatchers with the location of callers and their phone number. This is also known as ANI/ALI - automatic number information and automatic location information.

Sounds simple but when you factor in wireless and cellular calls the issue of location gets a bit tricky. Currently, many 911 centers don't receive important location data from wireless telephone calls. This results in confusion and problems for emergency dispatch services. Also, areas that have multiple 911 centers may have problems routing calls as a result of insufficient location data.

Wireless E9-1-1 is one of the most pressing challenges facing the nation's public safety community. Roughly 25% to 30% of all E9-1-1 calls are currently placed from wireless phones, and this percentage is expected to increase sharply as wireless phone usage continues to accelerate over the next few years.

So, What's Being done?
The FCC has ordered cellular carriers to address the issue in an effort to help 911 centers. Phase I of the FCC plan requires carriers to transmit a number for each call. If additional information is required, the dispatcher can call the number and obtain 'rough' locational information about the caller. The second phase requires more precise location data to be transfered with the call, allowing dispatchers to trace the callers location to within 410 feet. Under the current plan, cellular companies have until October 1, 2001 to add this capability.
Phase 1 Requirements (by 4/1/98)
Wireless service providers were required by the FCC to have the capability to send wireless 911 calls to an E911 PSAP containing two important sets of data (presuming the 911 jurisdiction has implemented a cost recovery mechanism for the carrier and has requested the service):

The location of the cell tower through which the E911 call was processed.

The mobile dialing number (MDN) or "call back number" of the wireless phone placing the 911 call.

Phase 2 Requirements (by 10/1/2001)
Wireless service providers are required by the FCC to have the ability to send the actual caller's location (to within 410 ft. of accuracy, 67% of the time) to the E911 PSAP (presuming the 911 jurisdiction has implemented a cost recovery mechanism for the carrier and has requested the service).

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