THOMASVILLE — Testing is to get under way this morning on a system that will make cell phone callers’ whereabouts known to E-911 dispatchers.

BellSouth installed software Wednesday that will show a 911 dispatcher a cell phone caller’s latitude and longitude.

“That will give us the location as to where the caller is calling from,” Ann Powell, E-911 chief, explained.

ALLTELL was to begin testing at 8:30 this morning. ALLTEL personnel will go from cell phone tower to tower and make calls to ensure the calls are accurately reaching E-911.

“There are six (cell phone) providers we will be providing services for,” Powell explained.

Other providers are Verizon, Cingular, Nextel, T-Mobile and Sprint.

Providers will test individually. Dispatchers could not handle testing of all providers at once and tend to regular 911 calls, Powell said.

As testing is completed with a provider, that company will go live with 911.

Powell anticipates having all testing done and providers live with 911 by the end of February.

Thomas County commissioners last year approved a measure to enter E-911 Phase II, the cell phone concept now under way.

Beginning April 1, a $1.50-a-month fee will be added to cell phone customers’ bills for each phone to pay for the service.

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 220.

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