Tom Wheeler, president and chief executive officer of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, last week opened the Location Technology Implementation Conference in San Francisco by calling for cooperation in the public-safety communications community in addressing E911 requirements.

“Our goal should be to develop a plan that will resolve all of the wireless E911 implementation issues on a coordinated basis,” said Wheeler in opening remarks at the conference. “We should resolve to develop an implementation plan that we can jointly present to the [Federal Communications Commission] and we should urge the commission to address these issues on a collective, coordinated basis, rather than through piecemeal and ad hoc decision making.”

Wheeler asked the National Emergency Numbering Association and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials Inc. to join it in reactivating the coalition consisting of the three that in 1994 drafted a consensus agreement that was the basis for the FCC’s mandate on wireless enhanced 911 services.

In a letter to the presidents of NENA and APCO, Wheeler said the FCC “has frustrated the realization of our approach by its tendency to deal with wireless E911 issues on an ad hoc basis. While ad hoc decision making may be appropriate for other policy matters, the FCC’s actions in FCC Docket 94-102 have exacerbated the resolution of the wireless E911 implementation issues that can be best addressed through the organized and collective efforts of wireless industry and public-safety professionals.”

Wheeler’s concerns with the implementation of E911 services range from cost recovery to legal liability, interoperability and availability of equipment. “Wrestling the laws of physics to the ground to develop multiple technologies for E911 was the easy part of the job-now comes the hard part,” said Wheeler. “Working together, we need to wrestle the issues that stand in the way of implementing the Phase I and Phase II Wireless E911 capabilities.”

While policy issues are being addressed in Washington, progress is being made both on Phase I and Phase II implementation.

Xypoint Corp. and U S West Inc. said they have completed the testing and deployment of a network of real-time database connectivity, which provides coverage in U S West’s 14-state region. The network interconnection will allow Xypoint to update dynamically the U S West E911 databases with the 10-digit call-back number and location information of wireless E911 callers.

U.S. Wireless Corp., in conjunction with the show, staged a live demonstration of its RadioCamera location technology. The trials simultaneously demonstrated the wireless location and tracking technology in Baltimore; Oakland, Calif.; and Billings, Mont. The demonstration, which took place at the company’s San Ramon, Calif., headquarters, showed the system’s ability to detect multiple live calls simultaneously, locate and track each call, feed the information to a remote hub and display the location of the caller from inception and throughout the call.

Another location technology vendor, SnapTrack Inc., announced an investment by TI Ventures L.P., the $100 million venture capital fund established by Texas Instruments and Hambrecht & Quist. The investment will help to accelerate market development efforts linked to digital signal processing, said SnapTrack.


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