New data from U.S. Federal Communications Commission shows 90 percent of 911 wireless calls made in Washington DC last year were delivered without accurate location information.
The first thing that comes to mind in an emergency is call 911. But the system may not be of total help if the victim is calling from a cell phone. According to the data from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, nine out of ten wireless 911 calls made in DC were untraceable to the exact location. The data was collected during the first half of 2013 and was originally reported by Find Me 911 on Thursday.
The alarming results of 90 percent of the callers failing to get immediate help calls for action. The data showed that only 10 percent of the calls in the capitol had accurate data on the caller's location. According to the report, carriers can offer "Phase I" data, which includes the caller's phone number and the location of the base station transmitting the call. Carriers can also look up "Phase II" data, which accurately pins down the caller to about 50 to 300 meters using latitude and longitude coordinates.
Carriers were not fully participating in helping track the caller's location using Phase II data. Verizon and Sprint had higher rate of participation in providing the accurate location of the caller on 24.6 percent and 23.3 percent of the calls, respectively. However, T-Mobile offered up the essential info on just 3.2 percent of emergency calls. Even worse was AT&T that only looked up Phase II data on 2.6 percent of the calls, ARS Technica reports.
"These results reveal an alarming public safety crisis," Jamie Barnett, former Chief of the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau and Director of the Find Me 911 Coalition, said in a statement, Thursday. "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. 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."
The reference to the updated rules, which are yet to be finalized, can save as many as 10,000 lives a year, Barnett added. The proposed rule requires more accurate location info for calls from indoors within two years. This was supported by 99 percent of 1,014 managers and employees working in call centers attending 911 calls.