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AT&T launches new feature to make it easier for emergency services to locate 911 callers

This is AT&T's first of its kind 911 upgrade that will make it easier for emergency services to find and send help to wireless 911 callers - Vanessa Gongora reports

Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - AT&T says a new "Locate Before Route" feature began launching this week across the country that uses GPS instead of cell towers to give a more precise location for people who call 911 from a mobile device.

Through this new feature, AT&T can quickly and more accurately identify where a wireless 911 call is coming from using device GPS and hybrid information to route the call to the correct 911 call center, also known as public safety answering point or PSAP.

According to Adrian Quintanilla, AT&T's Southern California Vice President and General Manager, the technology helps narrow down location of a wireless caller from a 10 mile radius based on cell towers to within about 50 yards.

"It means that when people are in need and have to call 911 from their wireless device, that we now are going to be able to have access to technology that gets emergency responders to these individuals that was once 176 footballs fields in radius to now down to half of a football field," said Quintanilla. 

AT&T expects the Arizona and California launch to be live by June.

With a better location, public safety and first responders can respond faster.

AT&T says this is important because 68% of adults don't have a landline in their homes.

80% of 911 calls today are made from cell phones, so this technology fills a significant need, according to Quintanilla.

"We don't know where we are and the ability to call on our mobile device and get a very tight, tight accuracy of our location is huge. It means everything and it could be a matter of life and death in some situations," said  

This new location based routing is only available on the AT&T network. It'll automatically work on mobile 911 calls for AT&T customers nationwide by the end of June.

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Vanessa Gongora

Vanessa Gongora joined the KYMA team in 2022 and is the anchor/producer for CBS at 4 p.m.

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