With the recent CRTC announcement that our Canadian carriers are mandated to upgrade their 911 service by February 1st, it has been targeted that Vancouver is taking center stage as a “hot spot” priority due to the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
The dollar amount has been rumoured to be round $70 million from the Governments perspective, or around $500 million from the carrier point of view. Either way, there are conversations going back and forth about who wants to pick up the charges – carriers say the Government and clearly the CRTC says the carriers as they’ve raked in nearly $157 million a year on 911 service fees.
With all this drama going on. Ray Vilis, VP of SolaCom Inc. (an organization who specializes in updating 911 systems) said: “There is going to be a high density of cellphones and a lot of potential for something to go wrong. The last thing I want is for someone [in the U.S.] to say American tourists are not safe in Canada because the 911 is not equivalent. It would be a shame to have something stupid like a mismanaged 911 call be the cause of embarrassment. Or worse, there is a fatality as a consequence.”
With more than half the emergency calls coming from cell phones, it’s been acknowledged that 911 dispatchers are missing the necessary equipment to locate emergency calls placed from a cell phone.