Technology lags in tracing 911 mobile calls
MONTREAL- It will be a challenge to get new technology in place by next year to enable 911 dispatchers to pinpoint the locations of emergency cellphone calls, says the head of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association.
Currently some testing is being done on new technology to translate information sent from a mobile phone into an address for emergency officials, Bernard Lord said Monday.
Lord, a former premier of New Brunswick, said more than half of 911 calls in Canada now are made with cellphones.
But he said cautioned against the "false impression that it's just like the movies" when it comes to 911 service, warning that people can't be found just because their cellphones are in their pockets.
A number of people have died after making 911 calls from cellphones because emergency dispatchers couldn't specify their locations.
"In real life, it requires significant technology and investment that's being deployed now," Lord said.
"It's going to be a significant challenge to deploy this county-wide for next February."
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has given mobile network operators until February to make the upgrades, and emergency officials are being required to have their systems upgraded to work in tandem.
"Everyone is working very hard to meet that target, but it's a stretch target, do doubt," Lord said from Moncton, N.B.
He noted that some mobile phones don't have GPS service and some parts of Canada, especially rural areas, don't have many cellphone towers.