Any Cell Phone Will Reach 911, But Land Lines Are Better 3


“Extending the critical benefits of 911” was one of T-Mobile’s arguments for its new series of cell towers in Glendale residential areas.

This is odd, because 911 is a public service, and T-Mobile is a private company. Most of us would assume T-Mobile and other cell phone companies are constructing their towers and equipment to make money, not provide free services.

The company has used this argument in several communities, Glendale Organized Against Cell Towers has learned. Just across the border in Burbank, one of T-Mobile’s applications says that a new tower located on top of an apartment building will provide:

…the following community benefits: Alternative emergency response communication for police, paramedics…[and] the added safety and security brought to the community cannot be overlooked.

If you are calling 911, added safety and security can best be found by calling from a land line. Dispatchers can’t immediately trace cell phone 911 calls to a specific address. They may be able to call you back, but what if you can’t answer? Communities are not yet prepared to transition from land lines, which provide the critical safety and security 911 callers really need.

Further, one of GOACT’s members demonstrated that T-Mobile is making a specious claim about increasing 911 coverage. He printed AT&T and Verizon coverage maps showing that the area surrounding T-Mobile’s proposed tower in northwest Glendale has excellent coverage and noting that any cell phone, even one with an expired contract, can successfully connect to 911.


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