ACMA Media Release 10/2011 - 28 January
Police, fire brigade and ambulance services will more readily be able to
access location information about callers using mobile phones, as a result of
new rules made by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
The new rules require mobile carriers to provide emergency service
organisations with the most precise mobile phone location information available
for emergency calls made from mobile phones, in situations where a Triple Zero
caller is unable to verbally report their location.
'Locating callers quickly and with confidence is clearly a crucial element
of the Triple Zero emergency call service. The ACMA's new rules enable
emergency service organisations to access the most precise location information
that is currently available on the mobile networks and also to automatically
capture the benefits from any future developments in location-based services
offered by the mobile carriers,' said Acting ACMA Chairman, Mr. Richard
Mobile phones now account for around 63 per cent of calls made to Triple
Zero. Unlike fixed landline phones, emergency calls from mobile phones do not
automatically give emergency service organisations accurate details about a
This is not an issue for the vast majority of mobile calls made to Triple
Zero because, in most cases, the caller can tell the emergency operator where
they are located, including where the emergency is at the subscriber's address.
But there are times―estimated at less than one percent of calls-when people are
too distressed or unfamiliar with their environment to report their location.
In these cases access to enhanced location information will assist emergency
services organisations to locate callers.
The new Determination requires mobile carriers to:
- provide the most precise location information they have available on
request from an emergency service organisation
- resolve emergency call location queries with the highest possible
- ensure emergency service organisations are provided with a designated
contact point and telephone number for location queries, or have a
dedicated process for location queries
- assist an emergency service organisation to identify the relevant
mobile network carrying the emergency call.
The Telecommunications (Emergency Call Service) Amendment Determination
2011 (No. 1) will commence on 20 April 2011. This will allow carriers time
to trial their systems before making the enhanced capability available to all
emergency service organisations.
The new rules were made after consultation with mobile carriers, the
Emergency Call Person (Telstra) and emergency services organisations, and have
the support of all groups as an important step in improving the delivery of
mobile location information to enhance the emergency call service.
In addition, the ACMA is continuing to explore with industry and emergency
services organisations the potential automatic provision of enhanced mobile
location with every emergency call.
It is worth noting that mobile coverage is not universally available outside
population centres and Australians should not assume they can be located
accurately and quickly anywhere in Australia. If people travel away from
population centres and into areas without mobile coverage, they should take
personal safety precautions and consider using other mobile safety devices such
as personal locator beacons.
The ACMA regulates and monitors the provision of the Emergency Call Service
under Part 8 of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards)
Act 1999. Further information about its role with Emergency Call
Services is available.
The ACMA is Australia's regulator for broadcasting, the internet,
radiocommunications and telecommunications. The ACMA's strategic intent is to
make communications and media work in Australia's public interest. For more
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