Initial FCC comment period on NG911 closes

Deltek Analyst Evan Halperin reports.

On September 22, 2011, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) during the next generation 911 (NG911) proceeding. On October 12, the Federal Register published the NPRM on NG911, giving vendors and others the ability to file comments for 60 days. Yesterday, the initial 60-day period came to a close, and now 30 days remain for the FCC and vendors to reply to those comments.

Deltek Analyst Kristin Howe initially reported on the FCC’s NPRM in September, when only a handful of agencies across the country had fully implemented NG911 systems. Since then, the city of Durham, N.C. began a trial program, and the state of Texas awarded a contract to AT&T to begin a build out of its Emergency Services IP Network (ESInet). Once the final comment period for the NG911 NPRM concludes, the FCC may move closer to establishing a set of standards for the emerging technology. Many agencies nationwide have remained on the sidelines of NG911 implementation due to its lack of standards, though funding is also a major issue.

Last month, I reported on The Next Generation 9-1-1 Investment Act (H.R.2629), which, if passed, would provide $250 million in grant funding for NG911 projects across the country. In addition to the NG911 Investment Act, several other bills that would allocate the much-needed $250 million in grants are making their way through the congressional channels. The JOBS Act of 2011 and the SPECTRUM Act each include amendments for similar funding in the form of federal grants. It remains to be seen which (if any) of these bills will be voted on in a full session of the House or Senate, but lawmakers would likely see the funding better spent if the FCC were to develop standards for NG911.

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