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311 for non-emergency Government Services starting-up in part of Louisiana

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  • Mark J. Cuccia
    The 311 code for access to non-emergency local government services is now beginning in East Baton Rouge Parish in Louisiana. Note that the 311 code is NOT to
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 4, 2006
      The 311 code for access to non-emergency local government services is
      now beginning in East Baton Rouge Parish in Louisiana.

      Note that the 311 code is NOT to be confused with the 211 code which
      has been reserved/assigned for use by non-governmental agencies such
      as the United Way, which also provides community information and
      support services. But the 211 code used mostly by United Way or
      similar agencies, thoughout the US and Canada, is NOT exactly the same
      as the 311 code used by local GOVERNMENT agencies.

      Note also, that FCC/CRTC and NANPA assignment/identification of these
      and other codes for such services does NOT automatically mean that the
      associated use/function of the code will take effect. It has taken
      30+ years for 911 Emergency services to be implemented throughout the
      US/Canada and other parts of the NANP -- and I would assume that there
      might even be some places which still don't yet have an active 911
      service. However, I seem to think that all wireless providers in the
      US, and possibly Canada, will accept 911 to route to the state police,
      or in Canada to the Provincial Police or RCMP, when 911 is not yet
      active on landlines....

      The following article comes from the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate
      Newspaper, on how East Baton Rouge Parish (county) is starting up 311
      service. But note that while 311 will work on (non-PBX) BellSouth
      landlines, it might not necessarily work from PBXes which would need
      to program 311 and routing into internal translations, wireless
      providers, CLECs, and private payphone internal chips, etc. The article
      does state that for those wireless providers who do allow access to 311
      that it is SUPPOSED to be a free call.

      I know that the private Acadiana Ambulance service was "assigned" 311
      statewide by BellSouth back in the early or mid-1990s era. When the
      FCC/Fed.Governemnt/etc., and the US-side of the NANP telephone industry
      worked out the standards for 311, back in the mid/late 1990s, it was
      agreed that if any Louisiana-based local government desired to start up
      a 311 service, that Acadiana Ambulance would be moved to the 511 code.

      However, since that happened, 511 has been flagged by the FCC and NANPA
      for locally provided travel/traffic/transit/weather/etc. service, such
      as road/weather conditions, etc. It is to be provided by state or local
      governments whenever THEY choose to provide the service. I don't know
      if any such agencies in Louisiana have started up the intended 511 use,
      but I wonder what will then happen to Acadiana Ambulance? Of course,
      the UNDERSTANDING by the ILECs such as BellSouth, and the non-telco,
      non-government, etc. assignees of at-the-time surplus N11 codes back
      in the early/mid 1990s was that these are NOT to be "owned" by the
      assignee, and they could be "bumped" to a different unused/unassigned
      N11 code, or even "bumped off completely" with six-months notice, if
      the telco industry/NANPA/etc. or FCC/CRTC/Regulatory/government/etc.
      chose to re-associate the use of the N11 code for a "higher" function
      or standardized nationwide or NANP-wide function.

      Regarding the 511 code in Canada, the CRTC has finally decided that
      it will be reserved/assigned/whatever for the same function as it is
      reserved/assigned for in the US -- travel/traffic/road conditions/
      weather, to be provided by local/provincial authorities. Again, just
      because it is ASSIGNED/RESERVED for such doesn't automatically make it
      magically implemented for such, "overnight". When 511 was still not
      officially ear-marked in Canada, the suicide-prevention groups also
      wanted the CRTC to flag 511 in Canada for their services. But the CRTC
      has since decided to make it the same as in the US.

      Anyhow, here is the news article from the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate
      newspaper, regarding East Baton Rouge Parish's new activation of the
      311 service code....


      New system allows EBR residents to call 3-1-1 to request services
      By SCOTT DYER, Advocate staff writer
      Baton Rouge Morning Advocate
      Wednesday 04 October 2006

      Tired of scouring the blue pages in the telephone book to find the
      proper city-parish phone number to report a problem or lodge a

      Under a system created by Mayor-President Kip Holden's administration,
      the only number East Baton Rouge residents will have to remember to
      contact any city-parish department is 3-1-1.

      "From potholes to permits, stop signs to sidewalks, loose dogs to
      overgrown lots, the services that you want are available, simply by
      dialing 3-1-1," Holden said.

      Under the new system, callers won't have to work their way through a
      menu of recordings, but will be connected with a real person, known
      as a citizen services specialist.

      After discussing the caller's concern, the specialist will forward
      the call to the correct city-parish department.

      The new system automatically creates a service request based on the
      call, enabling city-parish officials to monitor their response.

      The call center was established earlier this year by the Department
      of Public Works to assist in the transition from manual garbage
      collection to automated garbage collection.

      The 3-1-1 call center was later expanded to all Public Works-related
      complaints, and is now ready to field calls on behalf of the entire
      city-parish government, Holden said.

      City-parish Information Services Director Don Evans said 3-1-1 will
      be a free call on cellular phones, but noted that some cellular
      providers still need to install software to access the new call

      Cellular customers who have trouble accessing the 3-1-1 call center
      should dial 225-389-3090 and report their service providers, Evans

      Evans said the initial software for the new call center cost $41,000.

      "This is a state-of-the-art Nortel system, and we're going to
      continue to enhance it as time goes on," Evans said.

      Public Works Director Pete Newkirk said eight employees have been
      assigned to field calls from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. on weekdays.

      Previously, each city-parish department handled its own calls,
      and response was sometimes slow.

      Newkirk said the new system will avoid the duplication that sometimes
      occurred when callers reported the same problem to several city-parish

      Holden said one of his top priorities when he was sworn in as mayor
      was to improve customer service in city government.
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