Public Tech to produce E911 guide

Public Technology Inc.

Public Technology Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit research group, announced it would produce a wireless Enhanced 911 guide and Web site to help emergency call centers implement the complex system.

Sponsored by the Public Safety Foundation of American, the initiative is designed to provide the call centers, known as public safety answering points (PSAPs), a blueprint to comply with Phase II of wireless E911 implementation. Phase II allows PSAPs not only to identify a caller's wireless phone number automatically, but also their location.

A recent General Accounting Office report said many states are lagging in offering such service, "raising the prospect of piecemeal availability of this service across the country for an indefinite number of years to come." As of October, nearly 65 percent of 6,000 PSAPs nationwide could identify a caller's number, but only 18 percent were compliant with Phase II. The Federal Communications Commission has set Dec. 31, 2005, as the deadline for nationwide implementation of Phase II. After requesting Phase II service, a wireless carrier has six months to provide the service to 50 percent of a coverage area and 100 percent within 18 months.

Public Technology's guide will offer best practices and general guidance to expedite such implementation. Users can also view articles from supporting jurisdictions, Web conferences, and consulting on the organization's Web site.

An estimated 200 million 911 calls are made in the United States every year. While most jurisdictions have basic or enhanced 911, funding and coordination problems have hampered deployment of wireless E911. Public safety officials are concerned because of the increasing reliance on cell phones.

There are currently there are 145 million cell phone users and in some of the largest cities, nearly half of all 911 calls are placed from wireless phone users.

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