While I do not really understand why the Globe and Mail chose to use “Voice Over IP” as an example of how Canada’s 911 system is in bad shape, it’s pretty bad everywhere. I think their article under values how successful our landline based systems are, as well as the technology behind it. However, the article makes a good point as to how the wireless system is messed up:
When it comes to locating calls, Canada is dangerously behind the times. Despite the proliferation of GPS-equipped cellphones, the ability to locate callers using GPS does not exist here.
To make matters worse, much of the technology needed to solve the problem is manufactured here, then exported to the United States where it is purchased by the major wireless carriers. Gatineau-based SolaCom Inc., a company that designs such equipment, has contracts in eight U.S. states.
What’s really bad is how the wireless providers do not want to pay for the upgrades to make GPS based 911 calls work. The wireless providers claim there is no profit in paying for such a system, even though they charge us system access fees, and even a 911 access fee. The article makes this observation:
An internal Industry Canada document indicates the government was advised that the money is “retained as additional revenue” by the wireless companies.
Can the government please force the wireless providers to pay to have this system implemented with the 911 access fees they already collected? Or can the government at least collect these fees from the wireless providers who are doing nothing with them?
The United States government forced wireless providers to implement a GPS based 911 system, and now they have such a system that has saved lives.