E911 Still Struggling After 10 Years

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 12-05-2006
There's a 16 percent chance your wireless 911 call won't go through. And if it does go through, there's one chance in eight that the 911 center will know where you are.

It gets worse. According to a study released Dec. 4 by Consumer Reports, a magazine published by Consumers Union, your chances are nearly as bad if you're using a VOIP (voice over IP) phone.

According to Consumer Reports Editor at Large Greg Daugherty, who reported the results, this is about the same level of success the organization found the last time it conducted this survey—back in 2002. It's been 10 years since the Federal Communications Commission first mandated E911 (Enhanced 911).

Consumerreports.org subscribers took the survey, which was conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, according to Daugherty. "We can't say it's a nationally representative sample," Daugherty told eWeek, adding, however, that it's an accurate representation of his readers. The survey, he said, asked about 911 service in the year preceding the survey date of September 2006.

"I would say that the system still has a ways to go," Daugherty said. He noted that with its current level of service, it's best not to give up your land line completely. "If you do call 911 on a cell phone, it's good to have some idea where you are," Daugherty pointed out. "If you're calling from the highway, give some location information. Don't depend on them knowing where you are."

Read the full story on eWeek.com: E911 Still Struggling After 10 Years