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Popularity of internet calls could hinder 111 service

Published: 3:34PM Friday February 15, 2013 Source: ONE News

Potential problems are being predicted for the 111 emergency call system as more and more people make phonecalls over the internet.

A technical review of the service has been completed, and among the objectives is to ensure emergency services receive accurate and reliable caller location information to help them respond quickly.

Communications and IT Minister Amy Adams said there will be challenges as more people move away from using traditional land lines and adopt internet phones.

She said that in an emergency response internet phones make it difficult to locate the caller, with call centre staff forced to trace an IP address and go to the internet service provider to find out where they are.

Her department's review of the 111 service covered the operation of the system to the point where calls are handed over by Telecom to emergency service providers.

"The review shows the service is working well, however, we need to ensure it is well positioned to adapt to changing technology and needs," Adams said.

 A number of objectives have been set out to improve the emergency call service, including making it free of charge for genuine calls, ensuring it is of sufficient quality and clarity, and that service providers can obtain accurate and reliable caller location information in order to respond promptly to emergencies.

For more information about the changes click here.

- with Newstalk ZB