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- E911 - An Important Public Safety Requirement-

E911 stands for electronic 911 and refers to the requirement by cellular network carriers to provide location information for emergency calls from cellular telephones. FCC in USA and similar bodies in other countries  in conjunction with associated public safety agencies have mandated that cellular carriers provide approximate location of distress calls from cellular phones. Original date for completing this implementation in USA was October 1, 2001 but very few carriers were able to meet this date. Therefore, this date has been relaxed somewhat.  

E911 is somewhat associated with commercial implementation of Location-Based Services. You may go there to get more information that is common in terms of technology and business applications. 

"This is work in progress as of November 2003" - MobileInfo editorial Comment

E911 Issues 

E911 is primarily an FCC (federal communications regulator in USA) initiative. Success of E911 has faced several hurdles. Hatfield report in USA has highlighted several concerns and issues. We are highlighting some of these issues for professionals to deal with: 

  • Accuracy of various location identification technologies - GPS, E-OTD, etc - Go to the relevant location-based page on our site to understand this. FCC has set compliance expectations - phase one (1998) and phase 2 (October 2001) - 100 metres for 67% of calls, and 300 metres for 95 % of calls
  • Lukewarm support of wireless carriers to meet the compliance requirements 
  • Availability of interoperable standardized handsets - A number of proprietary handsets are available now 
  • Retrofitting of PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points) - various agencies that receive these calls - mostly emergency dispatch centers.
  • State of Existing PSAP infrastructure - Somewhat antiquated in many places
  • Inadequacy of funding at local level to retrofit hardware and software - it is not a trivial effort - billions of dollars are required. Somebody must foot the bill - federal government, homeland security agency, state agencies or local jurisdictions.

MobileInfo News Pages on E911
MobileInfo has published a number of news stories regarding E911. To get a complete and current list, do a keyword search on this site using "E911" as the keyword. Here is a sample of these news items as of November 2001:

Global Positioning System & Automated Vehicle Location
Abstract: This page explains Global Positioning System & Automated Vehicle Location.
Does the Deadline of E911 Need to be Extended?
Abstract: News Issue #2001-31 - August 2001 - This news item is an overview of the progress made by carriers, police departments and call centers as they work towards implementing the FCC’s mandate for E911 service, as the October 1st deadline fast approaches.
Rhode Island First to Use Wireless E911 Thanks to Sprint
Abstract: News Issue #2001-42 - October 2001 - This news item is an overview of the status of the implementation of the FCC’s phase-two E911 mandate
Verizon Wireless and Allen Telecom Complete Wireless E911 Location Field Trial
Abstract: News - October 2000 - This news item describes Allen Telecom’s announcement of the successful completion of its wireless E911 location trial.
MapInfo Unveils PSAP Pro to Provide Telecoms with Accurate E911 Solution
Abstract: News Issue #2001-03 - January 2001 - This news item describes MapInfo’s announcement of its partnership with PSA to enable telecoms to accurately locate wireless 911 callers.
Oracle, Sun Developing E911 Applications
Abstract: News Issue #2001-25 - June 2001 -
Public Safety Agencies Ask FCC to Penalize Companies that Fail to Meet E911 Deadline
Abstract: News Issue #2001-41 - October 2001 - three national public safety organizations want the Federal Communications Commission to stop granting waivers and extensions to cellular communications companies that would allow them to miss the long-mandated start date for Enhanced 911 wireless location services.
Lucent Public Safety Systems and Navigation Technologies Partner in Digital Mapping
Abstract: News - August 2000 - This news item describes the partnership between Lucent Public Safety Systems and Navigation Technologies to bring digital mapping to the pubic safety market.
APCO Announces Status of Enhanced 911 Implementation bile Entertainment
Abstract: News Issue #2001-25 - June 2001
Editorial Comments - September 28, 2001- Aftermath of Sep 11, 2001 Tragey and a Call to The Industry
Abstract: This page gives editorial commentary on September 11, 2001 and responsibility of our industry to meet the challenge


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