Bell, MTS Allstream launch E911 services; CRTC lauds improvements
February 01, 2010
MONTREAL; WINNIPEG and OTTAWA-GATINEAU – Both Bell and MTS Allstream debuted their enhanced wireless 911 services Monday, squeaking in just under the CRTC-imposed deadline.
Wireless E911 is now available to Bell Mobility and Solo Mobile clients with compatible handsets wherever wireline 911 service exists in Canada, while MTS Allstream introduced the service across its CDMA cellular network in Manitoba. Telus launched its upgraded emergency service last week.
The enhanced 911 (E911) phase II capability is the result of a year-long effort involving Canada's wireless carriers, local telephone companies and 911 call centres across the country. The CRTC set February 1, 2010 as its deadline for a new wireless emergency 911 standard last February.
Using GPS and triangulation technology, 911 operators can now determine a caller's location within a radius of 10 to 300 metres from where the call originated, depending on the cell phone’s model and the reception conditions. Previously, emergency responders could only narrow down the location to a sector within the area served by the cell phone tower nearest to the caller, which could represent a radius of up to 20 kilometres in rural areas.
The CRTC issued a press release to offer its congratulations to the Canadian wireless industry and the public safety community.
"We are delighted that wireless service providers have risen to the challenge of upgrading their 911 services," said CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein in the release. "Canada is now one of the few countries where 911 operators automatically receive location information from the moment a call is placed from a cell phone. Thanks to the collective efforts of everyone involved, the safety of Canadians will be greatly improved during emergency situations that require quick action."
The enhanced service has been tested and rolled out in 121 call centres across Canada, with 9 additional call centres still to go. The Commission said that it is “monitoring their progress” and expects that the technical issues that have delayed launch will be resolved “in the coming weeks”.
Click here for more information on wireless 911 services.