Apple Announces Device Enhancements Impacting 9-1-1
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This week, Apple announced significant enhancements for devices running iOS 13. For both of these advances, wireless carriers will need to update their networks to utilize the new features before ECCs begin seeing improvements. First, for text-to-911, historically only the location of the cell tower serving the user has been delivered to the emergency communications center. Now, device-based hybrid location information, which is much more accurate, will be available. This accuracy improvement for texts is comparable to the difference between Phase 1 and Phase 2 location information for voice calls to 9-1-1.
Second, historically wireless calls to 9-1-1 have been routed to an ECC based on a predetermined relationship between the coverage area of a cellular tower sector and the ECC that has jurisdiction for that area. However, this practice can result in a call first being routed to an ECC that is not the center that serves the user’s location. Now, a quick location estimate will be available during 9-1-1 call setup. This will enable “location-based routing” which will make it more likely that the first ECC a wireless 9-1-1 call is delivered to is the appropriate ECC.