AT&T says it is the first carrier to implement location-based routing for 911 calls nationwide, a feature that allows the company to transmit wireless emergency calls to the correct call center based on a device’s GPS location. As announced in Press releaseAT&T says the feature should allow the operator to accurately locate and route 911 calls within 50 meters of where the call was made.
AT&T previously routed calls based on the location of the cell tower picking up the call’s signal, an area that could cover up to a 10-mile radius. This means that a call center miles away, or even an entire city, could receive your call, potentially delaying the time it takes for emergency services to reach your precise location. In theory, location-based routing is supposed to help solve this problem by connecting callers with the appropriate call centers for the fastest response times.
As has been pointed out by ferocious wireless, AT&T said it will not use the feature to track mobile device locations and that it only activates when you make a 911 call. An AT&T spokesperson further clarified to the outlet that only call center dispatchers will receive your Location Information. . In 2019, a report from Motherboard revealed that mobile phone operators were resell user location data which eventually ended up on the black market, available for purchase by bondsmen and bounty hunters.
Location-based routing will not be available nationwide to start with. So far, the feature has been released in Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Guam. AT&T says it will add support for “additional regions” over the next few weeks and expects nationwide support “by the end of June.” In 2020, T-Mobile announced was launching location-based routing; however, it is not yet available throughout the country.
Last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ordered AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon to transmit vertical location information (z-axis) to call centers with the goal of helping dispatchers pinpoint the precise location of a caller from within a multi-story building. Later implementation deadline is missing Set by the FCC, the agency gives carriers until June 2, 2022 to certify their implementation.