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Australian Mobile Networks to Offer Location Information to Emergency Services

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Australian mobile networks will be required to provide mobile location information to the emergency services from the end of April, under new plans announced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). The new rules only mandate situations where a "Triple Zero" caller is unable to verbally report their location, although it can be presumed that the service will be offered as routine due to the time saving it can offer the emergency services.

"Locating callers quickly and with confidence is clearly a crucial element of the Triple Zero emergency call service. The ACMA's new rules enable emergency service organisations to access the most precise location information that is currently available on the mobile networks and also to automatically capture the benefits from any future developments in location-based services offered by the mobile carriers," said Acting ACMA Chairman, Mr. Richard Bean.

The ACMA said that Australian mobile phones now account for around 63 per cent of calls made to the "Triple Zero" emergency phone number. Unlike fixed landline phones, emergency calls from mobile phones do not automatically give emergency service organisations accurate details about a caller's whereabouts.

This is not an issue for the vast majority of mobile calls made to Triple Zero because, in most cases, the caller can tell the emergency operator where they are located, including where the emergency is at the subscriber's address. But there are times - estimated at less than one percent of calls - when people are too distressed or unfamiliar with their environment to report their location. In these cases access to enhanced location information will assist emergency services organisations to locate callers.

The Telecommunications (Emergency Call Service) Amendment Determination 2011 (No. 1) will commence on 20 April 2011. This will allow carriers time to trial their systems before making the enhanced capability available to all emergency service organisations.

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Tags: e911  acma  emergency services  emergency  Australia