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90 percent of 911 calls made in Washington, DC lacked accurate location info

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Data pulled from a recent Freedom of Information Act request reveals that an overwhelming majority of 911 wireless calls made over a six-month period last year in Washington, DC were delivered "without accurate location information to find callers who are lost, confused, unconscious or otherwise unable to share their location." Only ten percent of calls from the first half of 2013 within the city included detailed location data. At the moment, FCC regulations demand higher location accuracy only on outdoor calls, making built-up areas like DC harder to hone in on. Public safety officials told the Washington Post that these location issues are widespread.

According to Find Me 911, carriers typically able to offer "Phase I' data, which covers a phone number and the location of the base station transmitting the call. 'Phase I'I data, meanwhile, includes latitude and longitude coordinates, accurate to between 50 and 300 meters. According to the data, Verizon and Sprint offered this detailed information on 24.6 percent and 23.3 percent of emergency calls. However, T-Mobile included this location data on a dire 3.2 percent of emergency calls. Worse still, AT&T only did so on 2.6 percent of calls made. Fortunately, the FCC approved new technology last year that will apparently more accurately locate callers indoors. It reckons that updated rules regarding location accuracy from wireless callers would save around 10,000 lives a year.

Coverage: Washington Post
In this article: 911, carriers, emergency, emergencycall, fcc, phones
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