Wireless E911 Calls in the Washington D.C.

Wireless E911 Calls in the Washington D.C.

Carriers Failing Miserably at Location Data for Wireless E911 Calls

If you make a 911 call from your wireless cell phone in the D.C. area, don’t expect the dispatcher to know your location.

According to new data obtained from the FCC through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filed by the Find Me 911 Coalition, only 10 percent of wireless 911 calls made in Washington D.C. in the first half of 2013 were delivered with accurate location information needed to find callers who are lost, confused, unconscious or otherwise unable to share their location.

In a statement, Jamie Barnett, former Chief of the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau and Director of the Find Me 911 Coalition, called the results "an alarming public safety crisis."

"When nine in ten emergency callers in our nation's capital cannot be located on wireless phones, we know that the requirements for location accuracy must be updated immediately," Barnett said. "Thankfully, the FCC has proposed a strong new rule to help find wireless callers in need, both indoors and outdoors, and this should eliminate any doubt about the importance of rapid adoption of that rule."

 

Other data provided by the FCC offered a breakdown by carrier of wireless 9-1-1 calls in DC for a different period of time, from July 1, 2013 to September 30, 2013. That data showed significant variation for accurate "Phase II" information among carriers. For instance, only 2.3 percent of 31,135 wireless calls made to 911 on AT&T's network included accurate latitude-longitude information, also known as "Phase II" information. Of 13,899 wireless calls placed to 911 on Verizon's network during the time period 24.6 percent included.

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