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Deficiencies exist in Canada’s proposed wireless enhanced 9-1-1 services: IDC

Canadian public safety experts view Canada as  being “late in the game” in adopting new rules to i...

June 29, 2009  

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Canadian public safety experts view Canada as  being “late in the game” in adopting new rules to implement wireless enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) services and there is a definitive need for regulators to play a stronger role in setting national wireless E9-1-1 policies and standards, a new research study conducted by IT market research and advisory firm IDC Canada Ltd. reveals.


The research includes a comparative study by IDC on wireless enhanced E9-1-1 services offered in Canada, the United States and Europe. In addition, IDC sought the views of a select number of leading Canadian first responder organizations that are stakeholders in the use of wireless E 9-1-1 services and Canada’s approach to implementation.


The company notes that the widespread adoption of wireless communications poses a number of problems for public safety officials, particularly how to effectively dispatch emergency response services when 9-1-1 calls are made on cell phones.


There are more than 21 million wireless subscribers in Canada and over half of all 9-1-1 calls in Canada and the U.S. now come from cell phones.


The number of wireless subscribers in Canada overtook the number of land lines for the first time in 2007 and IDC Canada expects wireless penetration in Canada to rise to 27 million subscribers, or almost 80% of Canada’s estimated population in 2012.


“Effective implementation of wireless enhanced E9-1-1 services is of great concern to emergency service providers particularly with major international events, such as the 2010 Olympics, coming to Canada,” said Lawrence Surtees, IDC Canada Vice President, Communications Research and Principal Analyst.


“Canada is significantly lagging behind the U.S. as well as Europe in adopting wireless emergency service technology. This technology exists today and it is imperative that Canada’s emergency call centres are well equipped to quickly and accurately pinpoint the location of a 9-1-1 cell phone caller.”