The Sunday Brief

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Republishing RCR Wireless Article “When Z Location Doesn’t Matter”

by | Nov 6, 2019 | TSB

RCR Wireless article referred to in this post is here.

I usually do not repost other articles, but Charley Simon’s article is spot on.  Location, particularly altitude (also called Z location) is difficult to obtain from wireless devices.  In the 5th R&O, the FCC basically says “Wireless carriers, you need to get it right in the lab environment, but we aren’t going to hold you accountable for actual Z-location accuracy.”  Read more in Section 45 here.   The FCC says in this section:

Although our vertical location requirements do not include live call compliance metrics, reporting on the use of z-axis technologies in live calls will provide important real-world data on how frequently z-axis location is provided, the types of technologies being used, and trends in such usage over time. We emphasize, however, that live call z-axis data reported by CMRS providers will be used solely for informational purposes, not compliance purposes

We know that there are several dozen FCC staffers who are regular subscribers to TSB.  Please reconsider the approach here.  Serviceable address can be implemented soon per Precision Broadband’s filings, and should go first, not second.  Real world example:

Today:  Address would be 215 N. Pine Street, Charlotte, NC.  This is the address for The VUE apartment complex in downtown Charlotte.  Additional information would be communicated by the caller.  No Z-location information passed.

With Precision Broadband:  Address would be 215 N. Pine Street, Apartment #3303, Charlotte NC.  This would occur because the cable modem (which is tied to the billing address and already validated in the ALI database) would transmit this information to the PSAP provider.  No software changes for the PSAP provider – no latitude/ longitude translations – just more accurate information.

With Precision Broadband and Z-Location:  Address would be 215 N. Pine Street, Apartment #3303, rear bedroom, Charlotte, NC.  This additional information is very important in the cases of a burglary/ break-in,  Thinking about this in purely practical terms, however, a responder needs to enter the apartment so the unit number is needed now.

Precision Broadband’s solution can be implemented quickly and is a practical “first dip” for public safety.  There is no new software needed for the PSAPs.  Let’s start there, and then add Z-Location.  That’s how we can save more lives – tomorrow.

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