AT&T Launches First-Ever Nationwide Location-Based Routing for Wireless 9-1-1 Calls

AT&T, a MACo Platinum Corporate Partner, is the first carrier to launch location-based routing to automatically transmit wireless 9-1-1 calls to the appropriate 9-1-1 call centers on a nationwide basis.

Through this new “Locate Before Route” feature from Intrado, AT&T can quickly and more accurately identify where a wireless 9-1-1 call is coming from using device GPS and hybrid information to route the call to the correct 9-1-1 call center, also known as public safety answering point (PSAP).

With location-based routing, a device can be located and routed within 50 meters of the device location. Prior to this launch, wireless 9-1-1 calls were routed based on the location of cell towers, which can cover up to a 10-mile radius. This can cause delays in emergency response, especially when a call is made within PSAP border areas where state, county or city boundaries overlap.

The nationwide rollout has started and is available in Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Guam. Additional regions will be rolled out over the next several weeks. The nationwide rollout is scheduled to be completed by the end of June.

According to a press release:

Today, 68% of adults don’t have a landline in their homes. When AT&T worked with the FCC to establish the first 9-1-1 systems over 50 years ago, communication technology was drastically different with landline phones dominating the market. And now 80% of 9-1-1 calls come from a mobile device. With the tremendous growth of wireless connections and mobile 9-1-1 calls, AT&T is deploying this public safety network feature so when an emergency happens, the public has the same fast, accurate and reliable connection to PSAPs, whether they’re calling from their mobile device or a landline phone.

AT&T is paving the way to create safer communities and is the only carrier to provide the most accurate solution to reduce wireless 9-1-1 call transfers beyond what the FCC is requiring carriers today. This is especially important in an emergency when lives are on the line.

AT&T is also the only public safety carrier with FirstNet, Built with AT&T to deliver end-to-end emergency communication solutions to support the public safety community. Additionally, AT&T is the market leader in the U.S. with NextGen 9-1-1 solutions that are critical to keeping communities safe and helping save lives. For three consecutive years, AT&T has been recognized by Frost & Sullivan with the Market Leadership Award for U.S. NextGen 9-1-1 Services.

Maryland residents demand and expect 9-1-1 emergency services to be reliable and efficient. Next-generation technology is required to keep up with this increasingly complex public safety function – improving wireless caller location, accommodating incoming text/video, and managing crisis-driven call overflows.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Commission to Advance NG911 across Maryland, a 2018 MACo Legislative Initiative, was established to update state laws and the 9-1-1 financing system to provide the flexibility and resources needed for the deployment of a statewide NG911 system. In 2019, the General Assembly passed landmark legislation to update state laws and the 9-1-1 financing system to provide the flexibility and resources needed to deploy a statewide NG911 system.

The Commission includes 9-1-1 directors, technology and telecommunications industry representatives, cybersecurity professionals, a bipartisan group of legislators, and other stakeholders to assure a smooth and equitable transition to NG911.

As a result of the Commission’s work, Maryland passed several laws to bolster the framework and resources to guide a successful statewide transition to NG911, enhancing public safety communications in Maryland and in our local communities.

MACo also successfully supported legislation to designate the Maryland Department of Emergency Management (formerly the Maryland Emergency Management Agency) as a Cabinet-level entity and transfer the 9-1-1 Board from the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to the Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM), as a fully autonomous agency.

Read the full press release for more information.