Verizon Wireless said today that more than 95 percent of the handsets being used by customers on its network are able to be located by 911 operators, when those local emergency systems have upgraded their technology to receive the location information transmitted by phones, PDAs, smartphones and other wireless devices.
Wireless phones that are GPS-capable can help Public Safety authorities determine the location of a caller -- even if the caller doesn't know his or her location or is unable to speak -- when the 911 call is placed from an area with Enhanced 911 capabilities. The GPS location technology integrated in the phones makes it possible for the handset to transmit location data automatically to Public Safety, helping them to better dispatch emergency assistance.
For the past several years, Verizon Wireless worked diligently to educate customers about the safety benefits of GPS-capable handsets; offered customers competitive and affordable choices among those handsets; provided detailed information on its Web site about the benefits of upgrading to GPS-capable handsets, including a Web-based look-up tool for customers to confirm their handset's Wireless Phase II E911 capability; and stopped activating or re-activating non-GPS handsets on the Verizon Wireless network.
When it crossed the 95 percent threshold earlier this month, Verizon Wireless became the first national service provider to meet the Federal Communications Commission's requirement for wireless Enhanced 911 handsets.
"To reach this milestone, Verizon Wireless employees remained focused over a period of several years on the 95 percent goal established by the Federal Communications Commission," noted Steve Zipperstein, Verizon Wireless General Counsel.
Verizon Wireless has worked with public safety officials across the country to implement Phase II E911 services, and to date about one-third of the country's 6,700 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) have our Phase II capabilities, and about half of the PSAPs employ our enhanced Phase I wireless E911 service.