Verizon agrees to upgrade 911 call-routing in wake of complaints from Denver’s East Colfax neighborhood

Verizon announced Wednesday that it will work with Denver and other cities across the United States to install upgraded 911 call-routing in the wake of the shooting death of Ma Kaing, a beloved East Colfax neighborhood resident whose family said their calls went to dispatchers in Aurora rather than Denver when they needed help.

The technology, called location-based routing or geospatial routing, more accurately pinpoints where a caller is standing by using GPS and other data. Denver and Colorado 911 officials say that technology likely would have sent Kaing’s family members, who were calling from Verizon phones, directly to Denver’s emergency operators.

It’s unclear whether faster routing would have saved Kaing’s life, but community members said after her death that the call-routing issue has been a frequent problem in their neighborhood.

The company, which is one of three major wireless carriers in the U.S., previously had declined Denver’s request to add location-based cellphone routing to the area, The Denver Post reported Monday after obtaining a copy of a Verizon email to Denver 911 director Andrew Dameron.

The email said the company would not work with the city to install the technology because Verizon’s policy was that 911 authorities were responsible for call-routing, not the company.

In a statement emailed to The Post on Wednesday, Verizon spokeswoman Heidi Flato said the carrier plans to implement location-based routing not only in Colorado, but nationwide. The company will start the work during the first quarter of 2023.

Flato’s statement said location-based routing is a “stopgap measure” until local 911 centers implement next-generation call-routing, which is more reliable.

“This is not just Verizon’s position, but the position of the public safety community at large,” the statement said. “Indeed, Verizon recognizes that wireless service providers must also upgrade their own networks to support (Next Generation) 911, and Verizon has taken a …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

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