COMCARE asks Bush to veto decision on 911 cell location technology

The COMCARE Emergency Response Alliance called on President Bush to veto a decision by the US International Trade Commission (ITC) that banned the importation of new lines of broadband cell phones containing advanced E9-1-1 position location capability. The ITC decision bans the importation of new lines of cellphones that, among other features, provide more accurate cell phone-based GPS measurement capability for 9-1-1 calls by the public, plus mobile broadband communications for emergency responders.

“The FCC’s mandate last week to improve wireless E9-1-1 accuracy will be undermined by this ill-conceived ITC order,” said David Aylward, a Director of COMCARE. “Americans place over 230,000 calls to 9-1-1 over their cell phones each day. The ITC older is halting improvements in accuracy.” The new telephone lines banned by the ITC would be replacing older phones with less accurate GPS position location.

“E9-1-1 performance at all US CDMA carriers will be impacted by the inability to release new handset models after June 7 and the public will ultimately suffer any adverse impact of not being able to access new E9-1-1-related performance enhancements”, he said. “We take no position on the underlying patent dispute here, but American companies should resolve their patent arguments in court, not with this kind of blunt trade policy weapon that harms the public. We call on the President to reverse this order.” Along with other representatives of national safety organizations, Aylward testified before the ITC in opposition to the ban.

COMCARE is a national non-profit alliance dedicated to advancing emergency response. We promote the adoption of modern, interoperable emergency systems and the development of new procedures, training, and tools to maximize their value for emergency responders. We encourage cooperation across professional, jurisdictional and geographic lines, seeking to improve effectiveness through solutions that integrate emergency response professions, government, and the public and private industry. COMCARE’s 100+ organizational members represent the wide diversity of the emergency response community.


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