Report highlights E911 holes

GAO Report: "Uneven Implementations of Wireless Enhanced 911 Raises Prospect of Piecemeal Availability for Years to Come"

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Wireless enhanced 911 services are still several years away in many states, according to a General Accounting Office report.

GAO officials found that about 65 percent of the public safety answering points — the facilities that receive 911 calls and dispatch help — had Phase I wireless E911 service, which provides the approximate location of the caller, as of October.

Only 18 percent had Phase II capabilities, however, which provide a more specific caller location, GAO officials found. The Transportation Department database providing the figures did not show how many of the answering points need equipment upgrades to move up a level and how many do not.

In a GAO survey of states, 24 said they will have Phase II E911 services by 2005. The rest either could not estimate a date or estimated dates beyond 2005.

Deployment of E911 services is estimated to cost more than $8 billion over the next five years. Lack of funding is one of the key hindrances, the GAO report said.

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