Vancouver targeted as priority for 911 upgrade

911feesWith 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.