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Verizon wants extension on E911 deadline

Verizon Wireless joins other telephone service providers seeking a delay in meeting a deadline to have a system in place so police can locate a cell phone caller dialing 911.

Verizon Wireless on Wednesday joined the growing number of telephone service providers that have asked for a delay in meeting an October deadline to have a system in place so police can locate a cell phone caller dialing 911.

The carrier, which is the largest in the United States with 27 million subscribers, submitted a delay request to the Federal Communications Commission late Wednesday.

"Wireless location capability, like any new technology, requires considerable time and effort by service providers, vendors and (police) to ensure that it will work in real-world situations," Verizon attorneys wrote in the request.

"Only now are technically feasible complete solutions starting to become available, but this is not in time for Verizon Wireless--or, it believes, any other wireless carrier--to meet the deadlines in the rules."

Verizon asked for a one-year delay in implementing the system, known as E911, which is short for Enhanced 911, or technology capable of pinpointing the location of a mobile phone caller in distress.

The FCC wasn't commenting on Wednesday. A spokesman said each of the delays requested by carriers, which now number about nine, are being handled individually.

Verizon joins Cingular Wireless, AT&T Wireless, Nextel Communications and at least six other carriers that have asked the FCC for a delay in meeting their end of the E911 requirements. All of these requests are pending.

VoiceStream Wireless is the only carrier so far to have been granted a formal delay by the FCC.