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Verizon responds to Find Me 911 Coalition

July 29, 2014

Several weeks ago, the Find Me 911 Coalition found data given to the FCC which shows that 9 out of 10 wireless 911 calls made in Washington, D.C. in the first half of 2013 were done so without the proper location information needed for first responders.

According to the data, which was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Find Me 911 Coalition, a public interest group, only 10.3 percent of the wireless calls made to the D.C. Office of Unified Communications from December 2012 to July 2013 included the latitude-longitude needed to find a caller. Of the 385,341 wireless calls made over that period, just 39,805 had that more accurate information, while the remaining calls only showed the nearest cell tower. – FierceWireless

According to the data, Verizon Wireless fared the best (which isn’t saying much) followed with Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T being the worst.

Now, Verizon Wireless is responding by claiming that their “internal review” shows Verizon handing over precise location information at a much higher rate than what the Find Me 911 Coalition found.

According to the report, Verizon Wireless provided “Phase II” location information 24.6 percent of the time. (Phase I location data shows the nearest cell tower, while Phase II location data includes the more precise latitude and longitude of a caller.) Find Me 911 said it obtained its data through a Freedom of Information Act request. Verizon said that the 24.6 percent figure is “patently misleading.” In fact, Verizon wrote in a July 25 filing, Verizon “provided location data derived from its ‘Assisted-GPS’ Phase II solution to the PSAP for 84 percent of 911 calls in the District.” – FierceWireless

It should be reminded to Verizon that the information found by the Find Me 911 Coalition was from the FCC. It was not simply made up out of thin air. The Coalition also reminded Verizon that 99% of 911 professionals in the field support the FCC’s proposed rule to improve wireless 911 location accuracy.

In a statement, the Coalition stood by their initial findings and stated that they could “understand why the wireless carriers are lashing out: their 911-location accuracy is embarrassing. Remember, this is data that was given to the FCC by the D.C. Unified Communications Center based on its experience over that time period. It is completely consistent with data from elsewhere in the nation.”