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Blackberry Mobility Featured Article

February 02, 2010

Bell Mobility Now Offers Mobile Enhanced 911 Capabilities

By Anshu Shrivastava, TMCnet Contributor

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, or “CRTC,” has announced that emergency responders across Canada will now receive much more precise location information, helping them find people calling 911 emergency services from mobile phones.

The new Enhanced 911, or “E911,” Phase Two capability is the result of a year-long effort. It involved close cooperation between Canada’s wireless carriers, local telephone companies and 911 call centres across the country.
In order to estimate a wireless handset’s longitude and latitude coordinates, E911 Phase Two uses GPS satellite location and triangulation of surrounding cell sites or towers.
Depending on factors such as clear line of sight between a handset and satellite or the distance between cell sites used for triangulation, location information may be more or less precise.
Wireless E911 is available to Bell Mobility and Solo Mobile clients with compatible handsets wherever wireline 911 service exists in Canada.
“As the first wireless provider to begin independent E911 trials in Canada, Bell is delighted that the intense effort by Canada’s wireless industry to ensure national E911 service has been a success,” said Stephen Howe, chief technology officer at Bell Mobility.
In addition, Howe believes that location information is crucial for police, fire and ambulance services responding to people in distress -- all the more so when wireless callers may not even know their own precise location.
“Improved E911 offers emergency responders a significantly greater ability to arrive at the right spot at the right time,” Howe added.
The wireless industry is said to have worked with over 120 Public Safety Answering Points – 911 call centers – and local phone companies to install technology needed to find the location of mobile handsets calling 911, route the calls to the most appropriate call centres, and display location information to 911 operators.
“This latest phase of wireless E911 puts Canada at the head of the wireless class globally,” said Howe. “Few countries in the world offer Enhanced 911 service and no other country in the world have rolled out a national E911 service as quickly as Canada, including the United States.”

Anshu Shrivastava is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anshu’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Kelly McGuire

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