WJAR-TV Exposes Misuse of Enhanced 9-1-1 Services in RI

WJAR-TV (Ch. 10) , in Providence, known as “Southern New England’s News Leader” that was once owned by NBC, and has had massive quality control problems leading to the station’s talent referring to technical glitches on a daily basis as “dastardly computers” apparently got lucky that reputation muted for a day by boutique press of a serious investigative story.

According to Broadcasting & Cable, WJAR reported on the fundamental and systemic failures in the State of Rhode Island’s Enhanced 9-1-1 system. B&C reports”that found major call center problems due to underfunding” and problems such as  wait times, delayed emergency response and the inability to invest in new systems, was citied as a concern.

Worse, the state admitted the diversion of E-9-1-1 funds. By order of the F-C-C, any monthly charge of E-9-1-1 that gets put on any telephone service bill to a customer is supposed to use those funds to the agency (or agencies that depends on the state) that handles emergency calls that is a three-digit telephone number.

Channel 10 also reported that over $10 million dollars was diverted into the state’s General Fund, of a line item that could profit the emergency services of $15 million

More can be seen in the B&C article.

Enhanced 9-1-1 since the 1990s has become a challenge. Hard wired lines are no longer available or consumers and even enterprises are cutting the cord; replacing such technologies such as mobile and SIP trunking. This makes 9-1-1 calls more complex to get location information. Cell phones, Voice over IP or IP Telephony services are not as magical as the traditional landlines that would automatically provide street addresses on a private database provided by the telephone company known as Automatic Location Identifier or ALI. It’s sister technology the Automatic Numbering Identifier or ANI is basically a private Caller ID for the emergency services.

Rhode Island is not the only state. Recently the Feds were contacting the state’s CEOs in New York State, Montana,  Oklahoma as well since the E9-1-1 managers were ether MIA or didn’t give the FCC the information that pleased them.

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