FCC seeks comment on NG911

Deltek Analyst Kristin Howe reports.

Last Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission adopted and released a notice of proposed rulemaking for the deployment of text-to-911, next generation 911 (NG911) applications, and an NG911 framework. The goal of this notice is to “accelerate the development and deployment of next generation 911 technology that will enable the public to send emergency communications to 911 public safety answering points (PSAPs) via text, photos, videos, and data …” While many states and localities are working to implement NG911 technology that will eventually be able to receive texts and videos, even those that have NG911 systems installed cannot take full advantage of the technology. In most cases, these systems are not fully-featured NG911 systems; they are “NG911-ready” systems, which means that the infrastructure is in place to eventually support add-ons that will allow for the receipt of videos and texts.

At present, only a few communities involved in trial programs, such as Durham, N.C., have full access to this technology. As stated during the Texas Commission on State Emergency Communications’ August 9 board meeting, the majority of states and communities’ NG911 systems are “capable of handing live calls, but will not be capable of handling text messaging, yet. Text messaging is one of many advance features that can be added, once the infrastructure [is] in place.” Texas is currently under negotiation for its Emergency Services IP Network (ESInet) project, which will provide the installation of the basic infrastructure as well as the necessary hardware, software and system training to make the state NG911-ready.

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