Cellular Phone Location Identification

Res #: 25-03M
Number: 25
Year: 2003
Midterm: Yes
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Canadian Radio-Telvision Commission

Resolution No. 25-03M

WHEREAS, there is extensive use of cellular phones to contact 911; and

WHEREAS, there is no ability to locate such calls for delivery of service;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that SARM lobby to have GPS capabilities built into cellular phones.

Response from Larry Shaw, Director General, Telecommunications Policy Branch, Industry Canada:

The Minister of Industry is responsible for the Telecommunications Act, which sets out the objectives of Canadian Telecommunications Policy. These objectives include the rendering of reliable and affordable telecommunications services of high quality accessible to Canadians in both urban and rural areas in all regions of Canada. A further objective is to respond to the economic and social requirements of users of telecommunications services. T

he Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is an independent agency of the federal government, charged with implementing these objectives through its regulation of the telecommunications industry. The implementation of 9-1-1 emergency services is regulated by the CRTC. Today, 9-1-1 service, or enhanced 9-1-1 service (E9-1-1) are available in various Canadian regions, in a market environment of competing wireline and wireless telecommunications service providers.

To fulfill its regulatory responsibility and in guiding the evolution of 9-1-1 services, the CRTC is assisted and advised by the CRTC Interconnection Steering Committee (CISC), which has the mandate to undertake studies related to technological, administrative and operational issues on matters assigned by the CRTC, or originated by the public, that fall within the CRTC's jurisdiction. Membership to the CSIC is open to all interested parties. Accordingly, inquiries concerning the status of still further advances emergency service, including wireless services with GPS capability, may be addressed directly to the CRTC.

Response from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission:

The CRTC is certainly well aware of the safety benefits of being able to identify the location of 911 calls from cellular phones, a functionality commonly referred to as a wireless enhanced 911 (wireless E911). Wireless E911 (phase 1) capabilities allow a 911 call center to determines the approximate location of a 911 caller by providing data identifying the tower and antenna sector (i.e. approximate direction) from which the call originated. Wireless E911 (phase 2) provides 911 call centers with more accurate information about the 911 caller's location, using either network-based triangulation methods or relying on Global Positioning System (GPS) capabilities built into the cellular handset.

Wireless E911 services require coordinated technical capabilities and operational arrangements between 911 call centers, the incumbent local telephone company's 911emergency network and the wireless service provider. In August 2003, the CRTC issued Telecom Decision CRTC 2003-53 in which it directed wireless service providers to provide wireless E911 service (phase 1) wherever E911 network access services are available. Copies of this decision and the news release which accompanied it are enclosed for your reference. While the CRTC did not set a firm deadline for E911 implementation, the service is currently deployed or will shortly be deployed in many parts of the country where wireless E911 network access services are offered.

In Saskatchewan, the wireless E911 service is currently not provided by wireless carriers since the wireless E911 network access service is not offered by SaskTel. To accelerate introduction of wireless E911 services in your communities, I suggest that you contact SaskTel about their plans to offer wireless E911 network access service in your respective communities. With regard to wireless E911 phase 2 capabilities, a service trial is currently being planned in the Toronto area.