When calling 911 wirelessly, AT&T now knows your location

When calling 911 wirelessly, AT&T now knows your location

AT&T inaugurated the first statewide location-based routing system this week, which routes wireless 911 calls to the proper center automatically.

When calling 911 wirelessly, AT&T now knows your location

When you dial 911, you are not automatically connected to the local police or fire department. Cell tower positions, which can cover up to a 10-mile radius and make identifying an approximate location difficult, have typically been used to make wireless emergency calls. It’s especially troublesome in border locations where state, county, and city lines intersect.

AT&T may now use GPS to find a mobile device within 50 meters and direct it to the nearest public safety answering point, thanks to Intrado’s Locate Before Route capability (PSAP).

Enter location-based routing technology, rolling out now across the US—first in 16 states and Guam, with additional regions coming soon. AT&T aims to complete its nationwide release by the end of June.

Once ubiquitous, landlines are quickly falling out of fashion. In the first six months of 2021, 68% of adults (about 172 million) did not own a home phone—but had at least one wireless handset, according to a study by the National Center for Health Statistics. In many areas, 80% of emergency calls come from a mobile device, the National Emergency Number Association reported.

“With the tremendous growth of wireless connections and mobile 911 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,” the carrier said.

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