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April 13, 2018

CTIA Celebrates the Public Safety Community & the Role of Wireless in Emergency Response .

CTIA Celebrates the Public Safety Community & the Role of Wireless in Emergency Response


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Matthew Gerst
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs

Today we celebrate National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week and 9-1-1 Education Month by thanking public safety telecommunicators, emergency responders, and the larger public safety community for their tireless efforts to help people and make our communities safer.

The wireless industry is proud to be a partner of the public safety community and provide the wireless technologies that connect people in need to 9-1-1 professionals and first responders. The wireless industry, the FCC and the public safety community work together to continuously enhance the wireless 9-1-1 experience that millions of consumers use every day.

Let’s take a look at our partnership over the years:

You can’t tell this story without exploring our complex 9-1-1 system, which is made up of 6,000 local 9-1-1 call centers with different capabilities, technology and resources. And most of our 9-1-1 system is still built around 40 year-old landlines, not today’s commercial wireless networks and our 300 million wireless devices with different capabilities and settings.

Our industry is working tirelessly with the public safety community to continue to enhance our 9-1-1 location accuracy capabilities, especially for calls that take place indoors.

The National Emergency Address Database

CTIA is working with other stakeholders to develop a database that will support wireless providers’ ability to provide 9-1-1 call centers with a dispatchable location no matter if you’re on the first floor of a building or the fifteenth, making it easier for first responders to find you when you call 9-1-1.

The National Emergency Address Database (or NEAD) will be populated with the addresses of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth reference points, which are generally indoors.

Over the next year and beyond, we’ll be testing the carriers’ dispatchable location solutions to ensure they meet certain standards and will ask the companies and facilities that manage lots of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth reference points—think ISPs, hotels, and public institutions—to submit that data.

9-1-1 Location Technologies Test Bed

To support further innovation in emergency communications, including indoor location accuracy, the wireless industry, along with the FCC and public safety professionals, is rigorously evaluating new technologies under real-life conditions at two test sites. We are pleased that our 9-1-1 Location Technologies Test Bed has helped evaluate whether new communications technologies will improve 9-1-1 location accuracy and help first responders.


We’re investing in and collaborating on other enhancements to the system to ensure that 9-1-1 is accessible to everyone. In 2012, the wireless carriers voluntarily committed to support Text-to-911 to any 9-1-1 call center equipped to accept texts—over 1,400 of these call centers, known as Public Safety Answering Points, are now or will soon be able to support Text to 9-1-1 so that Americans, especially those with disabilities or in dire situations, have this option.

For 20 years, Americans have relied on wireless in emergencies—to call 9-1-1, receive alerts, or simply tell friends and family that you’re ok. That’s why we remain focused on evaluating the latest and greatest technologies and delivering solutions that will improve 9-1-1.

Thank you again to our public safety telecommunicators and first responders. CTIA and our member companies are committed to working with you and the FCC to harness innovative and evolving technologies that enhance Americans’ public safety. That’s a promise.

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