South Carolina Wireless Location Integrity Testing

January 3rd, 2018

Posted In: Next Generation 911 Networks

Mission Critical Partners Helps South Carolina Counties Resolve Wireless Location Integrity Challenges

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BACKGROUND

Wireless location is one of the biggest priorities for any public safety answering point (PSAP). The inability to accurately locate an emergency caller makes it intrinsically more difficult for telecommunicators to determine the appropriate response to an incident. Location issues exist with 911 calls to PSAPs because of the ever-increasing number of wireless emergency calls, the addition of new cell sites to networks, and changing demographic and jurisdictional boundaries.

THE CHALLENGE

Several counties in South Carolina suspected that PSAPs in the state were experiencing wireless location accuracy issues. The relatively high percentage of 911 calls that were being misrouted to the wrong PSAP was the big red flag.

The South Carolina counties selected Mission Critical Partners to complete wireless integrity testing and determine the root cause of the issue.

THE SOLUTION

MCP subject matters experts conducted wireless integrity testing in fifty locations that were identified across each county.  Tourist areas were targeted because callers in these locations typically will not know where they are, which makes wireless 911 calls from them more difficult to process. Locations where wireless 911 call activity tends to be higher were also targeted.

Four cellular phones, one from each of the major carriers, were used during testing, and a statistically valid testing model that is replicable was applied to determine accuracy. The testing took two weeks to complete and revealed several interesting facts.

THE RESULTS

The wireless integrity testing conducted by MCP provided the counties with empirical data it can use to validate the aforementioned anomalies, which is the first step toward working collaboratively with the wireless carriers serving the state to resolve wireless integrity issues, especially in advance of FCC accuracy rules tightening in April 2017.