FCC to Mandate Location-Based Routing for 911
The FCC has officially proposed new rules that would require wireless carriers to route 911 calls to the appropriate call center based on the caller's actual location, instead of the location of the nearest cell tower. This change should reduce incidents where 911 calls or texts are routed to the wrong 911 call center when the caller is near a city or county border. This mis-routing requires manual re-routing to the correct call center, "which can waste valuable time and resources during emergencies." The new rules take advantage of new technology that enables this capability. While mobile phones already transmit a phone's actual location to the call center when contacting 911, using this information in the call routing step is a new technology. The rules would only apply to newer 4G and 5G networks where this technology is easier to implement. AT&T has already deployed this technology.
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AT&T is the first US carrier to launch location-based routing of 911 emergency calls to the appropriate call centers on a nationwide basis. Previously, 911 calls were routed to call centers based on the cell tower location, and then a more precise phone location transmitted to that call center.
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