By now, those of us who are interested in the telecommunications industry are aware that the old public switched telephone network is on its way to extinction, and that next generation communications, like VoIP, are ready to take hold. This transformation, of course, is poised to have a large impact on 911 services in places like Canada. In order to address this public safety matter, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has put together a committee to look into these matters and is calling for public comments before moving forward with legislation.
Heading up the Commission is Inquiry Officer Timothy Denton, who has been given the task of addressing several issues. First, he’ll look into the performance and adequacy of the current 911 technology, including whether mobile phone users can be accurately located. Second, he’ll examine issues related to the provisioning of 911 services on next generation networks, such as system design and institutional arrangements. Finally, he’ll take a general look at 911 policy considerations.
The Commission is calling for comments, asking for Canadian citizens to weigh in on these matters on or before February 1, 2013. Citizens can do so by mail or by clicking on a link. Denton and the committee will review these comments and take them into consideration as they move forward with their legislation, targeting the end of May, 2013, as decision time.
Citizens are encouraged to comment on several specific topics. The Commission wants to know positive and negative aspects with the current system and any problems people have experienced. It also seeks comment on the topic of funding upgrades to the 911 system, as well as costs of the current network infrastructure and PSAPs.
Finally, the Commission wants to know more about number, type and timing of calls across the existing system. It would also like to know about visions of the future of 911, including data collection, caller location, communication with emergency responders, changes to infrastructure and standards, timing of implementation and more.
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo