AT&T is making some potentially life-saving changes to 911 calls

Android Phone Calling 911
(Image credit: Skrypnykov Dmytro / Shutterstock)

Reaching emergency services and getting help after an accident is now even easier with AT&T as it has launched location-based routing to automatically transmit wireless 911 calls to the appropriate call centers across the US. 

By using the new “Locate Before Route” feature from Intrado, the mobile carrier can now more quickly and accurately identify where a wireless 911 call originated from by using device GPS and hybrid information to route the call to the correct call center.

Location-based routing makes it possible for a device to be located within 50 meters of its location so that emergency services can more easily find those in need of help. 

Prior to this launch, wireless 911 calls were routed based on the location of cell towers which can cover up to a 10-mile radius. As a result, this often caused delays in emergency response especially when calls were made within a public safety answering point (PSAP) border where state, county or city boundaries overlap.

Calling emergency services from a mobile device

Over 50 years ago when AT&T worked with the FCC to establish the first 911 systems, landline phones dominated the market. Now though, 80 percent of all 911 calls come from a mobile device.

For this reason, AT&T is deploying location-based routing for mobile devices so that Americans can have the same fast, accurate and reliable connection to PSAPs regardless of how they’re calling emergency services.

EVP at AT&T Network, Chris Sambar provided further insight on the latest addition to the company’s mobile network in a press release, saying:

“Providing our customers with reliable connectivity and high-quality service on America’s largest wireless network is what we strive for everyday at AT&T. Launching this industry-leading public safety solution allows us to ultimately help improve the connections and efficiency for our wireless customers by offering more accurate service when making emergency calls.”

AT&T’s nationwide rollout of location-based routing has already started and is currently available in Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Guam. However, the mobile carrier plans to roll out the new service to additional regions over the next several weeks with the rollout expected to be completed by the end of June.

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.