Today AT&T and Intrado announced the first-ever location-based routing to improve public safety response for wireless 911 calls. This industry-first technology can identify the location of the call more quickly and accurately, resulting in quicker response by first responders.

Prior to this launch, wireless 911 calls were routed based on cell towers, which cover a broad area. This can cause delays in emergency response when a call is made within an area where state, county or city boundaries overlap.

Through this new “Locate Before Route” feature from Intrado, AT&T can quickly and more accurately identify where a wireless 911 call is coming from by using device GPS and hybrid information and then route the call to the correct 911 call center.

“In today’s environment over 93% of the U.S. population have cell phones and rely on these for communications. It is critical that when they dial 911 the call routing is going into the closest dispatch center. This will be a game changer for wireless 911 calls that previously were routed based on the location of cell towers, which could cover up to a 10-mile radius. With the new release of AT&T location-based routing, a device can be located and routed within 164 feet of the device location, taking away the transfer time of the past systems and be a quicker response for emergency personnel responding saving valuable time,” says Kim Zagaris, retired fire chief and Western Fire Chief Association technology and policy advisor.

The nationwide rollout has started and is available in Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Guam. Additional regions will be rolled out over the next several weeks. The nationwide rollout is scheduled to be completed by the end of June. No action is required by the consumer or public safety answer point to have this technology enabled.

Today, 68% of adults don’t have a landline in their homes. When AT&T worked with the FCC to establish the first 911 systems more than 50 years ago, communication technology was drastically different with landline phones dominating the market. Now 80% of 911 calls come from a mobile device. With the tremendous growth of wireless connections and mobile 911 calls, AT&T is deploying this public safety network feature so when an emergency happens the public has the same fast, accurate, and reliable connection to 911 call centers whether they’re calling from their mobile device or a landline phone.

AT&T is paving the way to create safer communities and is the only carrier to provide the most accurate solution to reduce wireless 911 call transfers beyond what the FCC is requiring of carriers today. This is especially important in an emergency when lives are on the line. AT&T is also the only public safety carrier with FirstNet, built with AT&T, to deliver end-to-end emergency communication solutions to support the public safety community. Additionally, AT&T is the market leader in the U.S. with NextGen 911 solutions that are critical to keeping communities safe and helping save lives. For three consecutive years, AT&T has been recognized by Frost & Sullivan with the Market Leadership Award for U.S. NextGen 911 Services.