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FCC holds summit on Next Generation 911 network and data issues

On February 25th, the Federal Communications Commission held a summit on Next Generation IP-Enabled 911 and E911. The summit was held in response to the New and Emerging Technologies 911 Improvement Act of 2008 (NET 911 Act), which requires that the FCC work with industry to promote consistency in the deployment and operation of new 911 technologies. The topics discussed centered on issues related to an IP-enabled 911 network along with issues pertaining to data transfer.

Some of the key areas of discussion included:

Best practices

  • Agencies are limited by existing infrastructure and funding when it comes to implementing new 911 networks.
  • Standards are in place and available through non-profit organizations such as APCO and NENA.
  • The biggest challenge for PSAPs is how to handle a variety of different calls (land-line, cellular, or IP) with legacy infrastructure.

How to handle call overflow

  • It is up to each individual agency to determine the best way to handle overflow.
  • Suggestions included consolidation or shared resources.
  • There needs to be more consolidation of administration and not of facilities.

This summit is one of the many summits that will take place over the course of 2009 as the FCC works to understand and respond to the NET 911 Act. GovWin has seen a large influx of PSAPs that are moving towards an IP-enabled infrastructure. While a switch to updated technology can be expensive, many agencies are utilizing their 911 surcharge tax money to pay for these much needed upgrades. States like Michigan, Minnesota, and Texas are in the process of moving towards IP-enabled networks and more are to follow.

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