Brevard County 9-1-1 Administration Wireless
For many years, the public safety community encountered difficulty providing the same level of service to people dialing 9-1-1 from wireless telephones as from conventional, wireline phones. Unlike calls placed from conventional phones, cellular and PCS telephone calls were not accompanied by a valid call back number. As a result, the 9-1-1 call taker was not able to re-establish the call if it was disrupted for any reason. In addition, wireless 9-1-1 calls did not provide location information pertaining to the source of the call; consequently, calls were often routed to the wrong agency. In Brevard’s case, many calls were routed to the wrong County and vice versa resulting in delayed response.
Cognizant of this problem, the FCC took action to correct this situation by establishing wireless Enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) rules. These rules seek to improve the effectiveness and reliability of wireless 9-1-1 service by providing 9-1-1 call takers with additional information on wireless 9-1-1 calls.
The wireless E 9-1-1 program is divided into two parts - Phase I and Phase II. Phase I requires carriers, upon appropriate request by a local Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), to report the telephone number of a wireless 9-1-1 caller and the location of the antenna that received the call. Phase II requires wireless carriers to provide far more precise location information, within 50 to 100 meters in most cases.
The deployment of E 9-1-1 requires the development of new technologies and upgrades to local PSAPs, as well as coordination among public safety agencies, wireless carriers, technology vendors, equipment manufacturers, and local wireline carriers. The FCC established a four-year rollout schedule for Phase II, beginning October 1, 2001 and to be completed by December 31, 2005.
9-1-1 System Modifications
The FCC requirements are subject to two other factors, the ability of the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) to receive the new data (twenty digit Automatic Number I.D.) and the existence of a cost recovery mechanism to pay for any new infrastructure. A monthly 50 cent local access fee provides funding for wireline 9-1-1. This amount, less a 1% service fee, is returned to the County to support the 9-1-1 System.
In 1999 the Florida legislature established a 50 cent monthly wireless fee to ensure full cost recovery for providers and for counties, over a reasonable period, of the costs associated with developing and maintaining a 9-1-1 system. The provider retains one percent of the fee for administrative costs and remits the remainder to the State Wireless Board. The Board returns 44% of these funds to the counties, with an additional 2% earmarked for rural counties for the purpose of establishing or upgrading 9-1-1 systems. Fifty four percent is returned to the wireless carriers in response to sworn invoices submitted to the Board to reimburse them for the actual costs incurred to provide 9-1-1 or E9-1-1 service. Up to 2% of the carrier's portion may be used by the Wireless Board for operating expenses.
Over the last three years Brevard County made significant improvements to the 9-1-1 telephone answering equipment at our eleven PSAPs, including the addition of Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) and state-of-the-art mapping software. These improvements enable us to handle Phase II wireless calls more efficiently and effectively.
Current Wireless Telephone Operation
Wireless telephone calls amount to about 33 percent of all the 9-1-1 calls received in Brevard County. Wireless calls from are selectively routed to the appropriate PSAP, based on a study of the coverage area for each antenna in the wireless network. If the call is not in that agency's jurisdiction, then the receiving agency transfers the call to the proper answering point.
In 2003, BellSouth installed the equipment needed to provide Phase II information - the wireless caller's latitude and longitude - to the 9-1-1 call taker. At present, two wireless carriers (AT&T and Verizon) are providing Phase II location information to our PSAPs. When these data are transmitted to the PSAP, the coordinates of the caller are translated by our mapping software to display the caller's location on an electronic map. Our Wireless Coordinator is working with the other four wireless service providers (Cingular, Nextel, Sprint and T-Mobile) to implement Phase II for their customers.