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printed October 24, 2014
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E-911

Enhanced 911

The wireless Enhanced 911 (E911) rules seek to improve the effectiveness and reliability of wireless emergency service by providing 911 dispatchers with additional information on wireless 911 calls.

The wireless E911 program is divided into two parts - Phase I and Phase II.

Phase I requires carriers, upon appropriate request by a local Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), to report the telephone number of a wireless 911 caller and the location of the antenna that received the call.

Phase II requires wireless carriers to provide far more precise location information, within 50 to 300 meters in most cases, using technologies such as A-GPS and U-TDOA.

The deployment of E911 requires the development of new technologies and upgrades to local 911 dispatching centers (PSAPs), as well as coordination among public safety agencies, wireless carriers, technology vendors, equipment manufacturers, and local wireline carriers.

The FCC established a four-year rollout schedule for Phase II, beginning October 1, 2001 and to be completed by December 31, 2005.

With landline phones, if a 911 caller could not speak or effectively communicate their location, a 911 dispatcher could use the street address associated with that phone number to send help to the correct location.

Before E911, no equivalent option was available to dispatchers for 911 calls made from wireless phones. E911 is designed to correct that.

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