After years of having a GPS-equipped phone, the idea of not having GPS is a little crazy. Even with smartphone adoption rates dramatically increasing, there are still plenty of folks out there with maps and awesome memories. But come 2018, all of our directionally gifted friends will have GPS on their phones like it or not.
The FCC has ruled that all telephone service providers — including VOiP services — must offer only GPS-capable handsets by 2018 to better aid in pin-pointing the location of 911 calls.
According to Courthouse News Service, it’s still unclear what the sunset deadline is for use of phones not equipped with GPS. 911 calls from phones without GPS require the carrier to triangulate the caller’s location from cell towers, which is less efficient than the phone’s GPS simply relaying location data back to emergency services.
Either way, the FCC estimates that with or without the new rules, 85 percent of cell phone owners will have GPS-equipped devices by 2018. Hopefully the leftover 15 percent gets with the program before anything that requires a call to 911 goes down.