FCC Wants New Rules for Pinpointing 911 Cellphone Calls


The FCC proposed rules on Thursday that would require wireless phone companies to transmit specific information for 911 calls, down to the longitude and latitude on a floor in a multistory building, within five years, reports the New York Times. Seventy percent of all calls to 911 are now made from mobile phones, and wireless companies say they want to comply. But they don't have the technology to do so, and they call the target date unrealistic.

Most smartphones already have location finders, but they base their information on where a user is in relation to a known Wi-Fi hot spot. Hot spot databases are private, and public safety officials cannot rely on them for emergency information without rigorous testing of their reliability. The newly proposed rules would require location data to be correct in 80 percent of the cases within five years. In the most recent round of testing, the single technology tested found the correct floor in urban, multistory buildings in only about 67 percent of cases.

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