Canada’s cell phone service providers have been ordered to upgrade their systems to allow 911 emergency services to locate callers within a radius of 10 m (30 ft.) in urban areas and 100 m (300 ft.) in rural areas by 2010.

That would bring Canada’s cell infrastructure into line with existing U.S. standards.

The Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), in its order to the cell companies, referred to the upgrade as ‘a cost of doing business’, which is seen as a signal to the cell providers that they should not attempt to raise their 911 system access fees, currently ranging from (C)$0.50 to (C)$1 based on the carrier.

Cell companies will be required to use cell tower triangulation, GPS or a combination of the two to meet the CRTC requirements for locating callers.

“GPS is becoming like air conditioning in cars,” Ken Englehart, head of Regulatory Affairs at Rogers Communications, told the Globe and Mail recently. “It’s going from being an option to the point where all of the handset manufacturers are putting it into all of the phones. So I would guess in another three or four years, pretty much all the phones that are being sold will have GPS in them.”

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