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California 911 cell calls lack location info

15 Aug, 2013

The California National Emergency Number Association (CalNENA) discovered that  some major cell phone carriers have presided over a serious decline in the location information contained in 911 calls. CalNENA completed a study of five years of emergency calls in  the cities of Bakersfield, Pasadena, San Francisco, San Jose as well as Ventura County, and found that a majority of calls which reached dispatchers did not include location information.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

“[The study] found that in all five areas, fewer than half reached dispatchers with an estimate of the caller's location in December 2012, ranging from 49% passing along location data in Bakersfield down to just 20% in San Francisco.”

In the 3 million calls analyzed, CalNENA found that decline in location information centered primarily in calls handled by AT&T and T-Mobile. As yet, though, no one has a definitive explanation for the drop in info.

In a letter to Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn, CalNENA asked for federal help with the problem. “CALNENA urges the FCC,” wrote CalNENA’s Danita Crombach, “to issue the necessary orders to require carriers to deliver accurate Phase II location information with the wireless 9-1-1 call, in a timely manner, throughout their communities of service, and correct this problem as a matter of public safety.”

Speed Matters urges the state of California, the FCC and the wireless carriers to address this critical problem as quickly as possible.

Significant Decline in Wireless 9-1-1 Location Delivery in Major California Cities (California National Emergency Number Association [CalNENA], Aug. 2013)

Many 911 cellphone calls lack location information, study finds (LA Times, Aug. 13, 2013)

Wireless location letter to the FCC (CalNENA, Aug. 12, 2013)


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