September 28, 2016–West Corp. has been selected to develop and operate the National Emergency Address Database (NEAD), a key component in implementing indoor 911 location accuracy rules adopted by the FCC last year (TRDaily, Jan. 29, 2015). “With a NEAD operator in place, the wireless industry remains on schedule to enhance indoor 911 location accuracy by harnessing commercial technologies,” according to a news release issued by CTIA, which established the 911 National Emergency Address Database (NEAD) LLC. Last year, the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions was named the project manager for the NEAD (TRDaily, Oct. 30, 2015).
The NEAD will include “access point (e.g., Wi-Fi hotspots) and beacon (e.g., Bluetooth Low Energy) location information that will enable wireless service providers to deliver a dispatchable location that will help 911 call centers respond to emergencies,” the news release noted.
“The NEAD is a critical element of the wireless industry’s efforts to enhance our country’s emergency 911 services,” said CTIA Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Tom Sawanobori. “Our partnerships with West and ATIS to operate the NEAD will enable wireless carriers to provide 911 call centers and first responders with dispatchable location information that will help save lives while reflecting Americans’ preference for wireless capabilities.”
The news release also included reaction from public safety groups. “APCO is pleased to be part of this important milestone in the collaborative efforts to improve 911 location accuracy. Establishing the NEAD will put us another step closer to enabling the provision of dispatchable locations, the gold standard for public safety,” said APCO Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Derek Poarch.
“The NEAD represents a huge advancement in our ability to locate people who call 911 from indoors using their wireless phone,” said Evelyn Bailey, executive director of the National Association of State 911 Administrators (NASNA). “The public, 911 dispatchers and first responders will benefit greatly from having more reliable indoor location information. We look forward to the day when the NEAD becomes operational.”
“NENA is pleased that work on the NEAD is moving forward with the selection of an operating partner. This database is one crucial element of a broad-based strategy aimed at making sure that every person who calls 911 can be located quickly and accurately. Getting the database online, with appropriate privacy and security controls, is a major milestone in our location accuracy agreement with the wireless carriers, and we look forward to the day when that milestone is reached,” said Brian Fontes, CEO of the National Emergency Number Association.
“West is committed to developing new technologies for carriers that promise improved wireless location accuracy during a 911 emergency,” said John Kearney, SVP and general manager-West Safety Services-Mobility. “We agree with the FCC that providing a dispatchable address to our public safety partners is the ‘gold standard’ that the industry must pursue. We’re passionate about the NEAD project, which we believe will more effectively assist first responders in locating wireless callers.”
Meanwhile, CTIA’s 911 Location Accuracy Technologies Test Bed LLC is evaluating 911 location accuracy technologies pursuant to the FCC’s rules. – Paul Kirby, firstname.lastname@example.org