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Verizon Wireless 95-Percent Users with E-911

Verizon Wireless 95-Percent Users with E-911
By LongDistanceUS.com on Friday, June 2 2006

Verizon Wireless announced that 95 percent of its customers are now using location-capable handsets. Verizon Wireless is the first carrier using a handset-based approach to E-911 to meet the FCC’s 95-percent threshold. However, it did so six months after the Federal Communications Commission’s deadline of Dec. 31, 2005.
The nation’s second-largest carrier said in October it would meet the threshold by June, and asked the FCC to waive the Dec. 31, 2005, deadline. The commission has yet to act on the waiver request, and Verizon Wireless told RCR Wireless News that it still has not heard whether it will face FCC enforcement action for missing the milestone by six months.

Verizon Wireless said about one-third of the nation’s public-safety answering points have upgraded their systems to receive location information from Verizon subscribers.

The FCC’s E-911 mandate is aimed at giving police and other public-safety workers the location of cell phone users who dial 911. Most wireless carriers using handset-based solutions are installing GPS location-tracking capabilities into their phones to meet the requirements. Cingular Wireless L.L.C. and T-Mobile USA Inc. have chosen to use network-based solutions to meet the FCC's requirements.

Alltel Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp. have also asked for waivers to the FCC’s deadline, but both said they would need much more time than Verizon to meet the threshold. The FCC has yet to act on their waiver requests. The commission has granted some limited waivers for Tier II and Tier III carriers.

In a separate waiver request filed last July, CTIA and the Rural Cellular Association said their members that chose handset solutions to meet the wireless enhanced 911 rules would not meet the deadline. Rural carriers long have complained about the handset requirement, noting that many customers prefer their 3-watt analog phones to digital phones.

Handset-based E-911 solutions must be able to locate callers within 50 meters 67 percent of the time and within 150 meters 95 percent of the time. Network-based approaches to the E-911 mandate include slightly different requirements.

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