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Posted on December 8, 2014 by West Corporation 


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New Consensus Plan on Location Accuracy: A Big Step in the Right Direction

On November 14, 2014, the four largest U.S. wireless carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon) and two key industry groups (APCO, and NENA) announced they reached consensus on a plan to improve wireless location accuracy for both outdoor and indoor environments that they will present to the FCC.

This is big step in the right direction!

The consensus plan proposes:

  • 1 Year: Create a technology test bed.
  • 2 Years: Obtain location fix using heightened location accuracy technologies for 40% of wireless 9-1-1 calls that provide a dispatchable location or x,y within 50 meters.
  • 3 Years: Obtain location fix using heightened location accuracy technologies for 50% of wireless 9-1-1 calls that provide a dispatchable location or x,y within 50 meters.
  • 5 Years: Obtain location fix using heightened location accuracy technologies for 75% of VoLTE wireless 9-1-1 calls that provide a dispatchable location or x,y within 50 meters.
  • 6 Years: Obtain location fix using heightened location accuracy technologies for 80% of VoLTE wireless 9-1-1 calls that provide a dispatchable location or x,y within 50 meters.

To put this in context, consider that earlier this year the FCC put forth a Notice of Public Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing increased location accuracy standards and urged that industry participants bring forth their expertise to collaborate in the industry-wide discussion. From the onset, the initial proposed standards were viewed by many industry stakeholders as being too aggressive to achieve in the given timelines.

The consensus plan, while being more conservative in terms of the percentage of location fixes than the FCC’s NPRM, spotlights “dispatchable location”. This is a very important detail because public safety does not dispatch to an x,y coordinate. They need to dispatch to a location and this plan emphasizes that very critical point. The plan also states the utilization of multiple location technologies including Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth®. We couldn’t agree more that to solve the very difficult problem of accurately finding a 9-1-1 caller in an indoor environment (and providing a dispatchable location) will require leveraging several existing and emerging technologies.

We applaud the carriers, APCO and NENA for coming forward with a plan that sets a stake in the ground for an aggressive but realistic future location accuracy goal. Having a well defined goal and evaluation criteria creates an open and competitive environment that encourages many vendors to develop and test solutions that can help the carriers meet their goals and provide better location accuracy to public safety.

We look forward to continuing to partner with our carrier customers to help them meet the goals put forth in the consensus plan.



West Corporation

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