COVID-19 is Hindering the Progress of Our Emergency Services

COVID-19 graph

The next generation of wireless technology is prepared to enhance virtually any industry you can think of with emergency services being no exception but now that progress is being halted as a result of the outbreak. Testing is an important factor in unleashing 5G networks and with the current restrictions in place by buildings to limit the spread of COVID-19, field technicians are unable to gain access to physical locations thus limiting their testing abilities.

Under normal circumstances it can be difficult for field technicians to gain access to begin with. The pandemic and outbreaks that come with it continue to add to this challenge. A focal point to address is the accuracy of GPS inside of emergency buildings, particularly those with multiple floors. The FCC has attempted to assist in providing a solution by metrics for handsets for 80% of indoor wireless calls for 911. The race is on for major providers as a result as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon must meet deadlines in 2021 and 2023 to deploy the z-axis technology used to comply with the metric in place in the top 25 and then 50 markets in the U.S.

Testing is conducted by simulating calls from across various locations including venues, offices, apartments, etc. Such testing has already been reported as on hold from various entities that could hinder companies’ abilities to deliver by the deadlines they are required to. After months of attempts and reaching out to over 450 building managers the CTIA has only received “positive feedback” from three buildings. Proper testing requires 50 buildings from multiple regions to gather comprehensive data. “The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges to safely gaining access to test buildings for field collection teams across multiple test cities, including Atlanta, Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle,” the CTIA said. Access to residential buildings is difficult due to a reluctancy from building owners trying to limit access during this time with the CTIA looking to conduct further testing when conditions allow it under safer terms.

2020 has had a great year in the world of wireless with mergers, acquisitions, and more all happening, yet COVID-19 has still hindered the year from living up to what it could have been. Supply chain issues and other testing hindrances unrelated to emergency services are suffering hindrances due to outbreaks, a lack of a workforce, and unsafe working conditions. Still, the future is bright with carriers continuing to find ways to expand their 5G network capabilities.

Source: Fierce Wireless