WASHINGTON, September 23, 2010 - The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to improve the ability of 911 call centers, or Public Safety Answering Points, to quickly locate wireless 911 callers and dispatch emergency responders to assist them during emergencies.
The decision requires wireless carriers to meet the agency's wireless location accuracy requirements in more numerous and geographically smaller areas. The order requires wireless carriers to provide reliability data on each 911 call upon the request of a PSAP, which will improve the ability of public safety personnel to assess the accuracy of location information.
More than 240 million 911 calls, or nearly two-thirds of all calls received by 911 centers nationwide, are made annually from mobile handheld devices in the United States, according to the FCC.
These call centers can pinpoint the address of most calls made from landline phones, but up to 40 percent of emergency calls made from mobile devices fail to provide accurate caller location information, known as Enhanced 911 service. The commission has unanimously adopted a report and order requiring wireless carriers to meet the commission’s wireless location accuracy requirements in more numerous and geographically smaller areas. As a result, wireless 911 location information will be reported to PSAPs more accurately in many areas throughout the country.