How Many Deaths Will It Take?

Another death attributed to a out-of-date 911 system here in Canada. Here is the text of a letter that I just sent to the Prime Minister.

Dear Prime Minister:
cc: Mr. Ken Dryden

How much do the cell phone companies receive in fees attributed to 911 service? I myself pay 75 cents per month.

How much do the cell phone companies spend on 911 service? According to the Globe and Mail, a lot less than they charge. Possibly as little as 10 cents.

An article in that paper states, “Adding the ability to locate cellphone callers if the person on the line can’t speak or identify a location would cost an estimated $50-million. There are now nearly 21 million wireless subscribers in Canada. More than half of all 911 calls placed each year are made on cellphones.”

If the Globe and Mail’s claims from my second sentence are accurate, then my arithmetic says that this is a no-brainer. Let’s even lower it to 25 cents extra left over per subscriber, rather than the Globe’s claim of 65 cents. Times 21 million subscribers. Equals about $5 million per month. So the capital costs of a better system would take only 10 months.

Like I stated – a no brainer.

And if the Globe’s 10 cent figure is accurate? About 4 months payback.

As the Globe went on to say, “The probe discovered that a lack of federal oversight, regulatory loopholes and outdated technology have left this country’s emergency dispatchers scrambling to find callers who place 911 calls from a cellphone or Internet phone.”

Mr. Prime Minister. Please bring some pressure to bear on the companies. Is the Globe correct in that only 10 cents of my 75 cents goes to actual 911 costs? If so, either get them to gives us our money back, or get them to spned it on a better system.

Thank you for your time.

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