ITU Group Considers Global Emergency Services Number (12/17/12)
Monday, December 17, 2012 | Comments

A new resolution tabled at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) would allow travelers to access a single well-known number to access local emergency services if the need ever arises.

The formulation of the resolution at WCIT-12 instructs the director of the Telecommunications Standardization Bureau to take the necessary action so that ITU-T Study Group 2 can continue exploring the option of introducing a single globally harmonized emergency number for access to emergency services in the future.

During the WCIT-12 negotiations, a preliminary draft of the proposed resolution was tabled to member states. The resolution invites member states to introduce, in addition to their existing national emergency numbers, a globally harmonized national number for access to emergency services.

The vice chairman of Study Group 2 of ITU-T explained the significance of the resolution because it is not currently possible to harmonize national numbers globally for access to emergency services. Therefore, ongoing research and study is essential.

With 193 member states each managing their own numbering space in their own way, these emergency access numbers have been allocated in different ways in various countries. Therefore, it is not possible to do so — if it can be done at all.

The outcome of the WCIT-12 new resolution specifies two globally harmonized emergency numbers that potentially could provide a solution for the challenges facing a single harmonized national number for access to emergency services.

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