What’s worse than getting into an accident, having to whip out you phone to dial 911, and then when you’re asked to give you current location you just stand there in shock, totally confused and hopeless? Nothing. It’s why the FCC has recently mandated that by 2018, each and every mobile phone sold has to come with GPS onboard. Now such a goal shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish. Even the FCC predicts that by 2018 over 85% of all handset on the market will come with GPS. It’s impossible to find a smartphone on today’s market without GPS, and while feature phones sometimes ship without it, the idea of buying a feature phone in 7 years time seems laughable. We’ve got to wonder though, what’s wrong with cell tower triangulation? It’s pretty damn accurate, and if a police officer is in his car then he can visually see where an accident has taken place. Now if it’s a crime that was committed indoors then it becomes a little bit more tricky, but GPS never works indoors anyway, so … is this mandate useless?
Not for nothing, we like when the government tries to help us out, but we’d rather see the FCC tell operators that they need to expand their coverage by a certain date or risk losing their spectrum. That would be infinitely better for consumers since not having enough signal to even dial 911 would be a whole other world of pain should they be so unfortunate to find themselves there.
Anyway, it’s nice to see the FCC try to tackle a real world problem, but we kind of wish they were a little bit more demanding with the operators, imposed stricter deadlines, and looked out not just for our personal safety, but for our pocket books as well. Does that really sound like too much to ask?