E911 Location Service Still Not Available To Millions

Last year, Techdirt extensively covered the progress of carriers in upgrading their networks to be able to locate callers who dial emergency services using 911 from their mobile phones. Our position at the time was that it was unfair to push carriers to do the hardest part of the solution, and to collect the money for the government portion of the solution. And we discussed extensively the infuriating fact that local governments had redirected the funds that the carriers collected for them to buy such ridiculous items as boots and conference tickets. Well, here we are, a full year later, and the carriers have mostly delivered their side of the E911 location technology. Now it’s becoming abundantly clear that many public service access points (PSAPs, a.k.a. 911 call centers) are woefully behind on installing systems that can make use of the location data the carriers offer them. About 2/3 or the nations some 7500+ PSAPs have not even requested the location data feeds from the carriers. The PSAPs seem to be at different levels of readiness based on regional differences, for example Rhode Island is 100% up-to-date, where Nebraska PSAPs have NO capability whatsoever. Isn’t it time the PSAPs got on the ball? The carriers have done the lion’s share of the work, while we consumers have paid for it. We’ve paid in our cellular fees, and we’ve paid in the taxes that were tacked onto our phone bills. Now we demand results!

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