Oregon carrier to initiate Phase II wireless E911 next week
Customers of a Bend, OR-based wireless carrier, Edge Wireless, are expected to be the first on the West Coast to use GPS-enabled wireless phones to send their location to emergency service providers when they dial 9-1-1. This implementation of Phase II wireless E911 service is the result of a collaboration between location technology providers Airbiquity, Bainbridge Island, WA, and Temecula, CA-based Plant Equipment, working in tandem with Edge Wireless and the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.
As early as next week, Edge customers in Douglas County will be able to use Airbiquity’s GPS accessory to transmit a GPS signal to the nearest public safety answering point. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center uses an integrated 9-1-1 telecommunications system with digital mapping from Plant Equipment to receive the data and pinpoint the caller’s location. By June, Edge customers in Josephine, Curry and Coos counties will have the same availability of service.
“This four-county region is by far the largest geographic area in the United States to implement Phase II for wireless users, and we are pleased to be a part of this highly effective solution,” said Dan Allen, president and chief executive of Airbiquity. “With the increased public demand for wireless services, especially emergency location services, this is a solution that can be deployed effectively and affordably in many areas of the country.”
The GPS accessory is a battery attachment compatible with 40 Nokia-brand phones. The device allows users to “fix” their position via satellite with the push of a button, and send the location data over the wireless voice channel to the PSAP. At the PSAP, GPS data are decoded by Airbiquity’s aqServer and Vesta, a telecommunications system that integrates computers and telephony. The precise location is then plotted on Orion MapStar, a digital mapping display. The Vesta and MapStar systems are from Plant Equipment.
“The combination of equipment provides a proven platform that does not require cellular service providers to implement any additional network infrastructure,” said Timothy J. Fuller, president of Plant Equipment. “This makes it a viable option for public safety uses across the United States, and it also opens the door for commercial uses such as telematics, asset tracking and automatic vehicle location. Our telecommunications and mapping platforms blend very well with the GPS location technologies from Airbiquity.”
In Oregon, Edge Wireless customers will be able to purchase the GPS accessory battery pack for far less than the cost of a stand-alone GPS unit. Airbiquity described the result as an economic and efficient solution for locating wireless callers.
“According to the National Emergency Number Association, nearly one-third of all accident victims in rural areas do not arrive at the hospital within an hour, largely due to the inability of public safety providers to quickly locate the victims and reach the scene,” a statement from Airbiquity reads.
“Today, more than 40% of our emergency calls are coming in on wireless phones, and that number is on the rise,” said Ken Keim, section director for technology and response services for Oregon OEM. “Our primary concern is to provide the public with the best possible emergency services. This collaboration of vendors, service providers and agencies working together is an excellent example of getting the job done for the benefit of the public.”