The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved rules to precisely route wireless emergency phone calls and real-time texts, a move which now requires mobile operators and cable MVNOs to implement location-based routing nationwide to connect to emergency call centres.

In a statement, the US regulator explained wireless emergency calls on IP-based networks have historically been routed to emergency call centres based on the location of the mobile tower handling the communication, but in some instances the nearest tower may be in a neighbouring area instead of the caller’s location.

The FCC noted in such cases, calls need to be redirected to the correct centre, which can delay response times and waste resources during emergencies.

Under the new rules, all wireless service provides are required to use location-based routing nationwide for wireless calls and real-time messaging to the call centres.

With this approach, the FCC argued emergency voice calls and texts will be routed based on the actual location of the call instead of that of the mobile tower which typically handles it.

The FCC stated the end result is millions more wireless callers will connect with emergency responders without the need for transfers or delays. 

Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said some of the largest operators in the US started using location-based routing technology in their networks “so we know it works”.

“Now we look forward to having it work everywhere,” she noted.