The FCC and NG911: Five Steps to Improve the Deployment of Next Generation 911 Across America

Posted in All, NGA911 on Sep 18, 2022

With the increasing demand for emergency services to keep up with our digital society, the need for more efficient 911 telecommunication systems is more essential than ever. No one understands the need for a faster, more precise emergency response than the public safety industry. 

Government agencies have worked with 911 organizations since the early 2000s to improve and deploy emergency communication infrastructures. And the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has been a big part of the push to implement NG9-1-1 across America. In fact, the FCC has put together a five-step action plan dedicated to streamlining the process of getting NG911 setup and running smoothly in as many emergency call centers as possible. 

In this blog post from our trusted NG911 providers and experts at NGA, we'll discuss:

  • What is NG911

  • Why NG911 is Important

  • The five steps of the FCC NG911 Action Plan

What is NG911?

NG911, or Next Generation 911, is the next generation of 911 services. It is an emergency response telecommunications system that runs on secure IP (Internet Protocol) and cloud-based networks to allow for seamless communication between 911 callers, dispatchers, and first responders.

NG911 also refers to a nationwide initiative. This initiative aims to deploy and implement the Next Generation 911 infrastructure in all 911 call centers to provide efficient and effective emergency response services to every individual in America. 

Why Do We Need Next Generation 911?

As our country's communications infrastructure has evolved, so must our 911 emergency response system. The current system, Enhanced 911 or E911, was designed primarily for landline telephone calls.

With the rise of internet-based voice services and the ubiquity of mobile devices, however, more and more people are using these technologies to place 911 calls. This presents several challenges for emergency responders, who must now contend with a more complex communications landscape.

Next Generation 911, or NG911, is a modernized version of the E911 system designed to address these new challenges. NG911 features include the ability to receive text, photos, and videos from 911 callers and route calls to the appropriate emergency response agency based on the caller's location.

The NG911 system is, therefore, a vital tool in our country's effort to modernize its emergency response capabilities which can often result in more 911 calls being answered and more lives saved. 

The FCC's Five-Step Action Plan for NG911 

To ensure that NG911 is deployed quickly and effectively across the country, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released a five-step action plan. This plan outlines the steps that need to be taken to improve the deployment of NG911 across America.

1. Develop Next Generation 911 Tools for Caller Location Accuracy

The FCC's Location Accuracy proceeding is constantly working on improving system technology so that automatic location information for NG911 remains accurate and up-to-date.

2. Allow Consumers to Send Photos, Texts, and Videos to Dispatchers

The Federal Communications Commission will soon vote on a proposal known as the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that could dramatically increase the spread of 911 upgrades. 

The NPRM will help clarify enabling text, photo, and video delivery methods for emergency services. It will also include infrastructure conversation to ensure that Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) have the capacity needed to support NG911 features successfully.

As part of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposal, the FCC will look into solutions for making sure that smartphone carriers and service providers support the action of text-to-call-911. 

3. Ensure that All NG911 Technical Standards are Completed and Implemented

NG11 cannot be effective without technical standards for the hardware and software carriers, and public safety answering points (PSAPs) used to communicate NG911 information.

The FCC will collaborate with NG911 stakeholders to resolve issues regarding NG911 standards and help speed up the adoption of a standards-based architecture.

4. Develop A Structure for Governing NG911 Emergency Services

Because no single government entity has complete jurisdiction over NG911, the FCC will work with state 911 authorities, federal agencies, and other governing bodies to provide technical assistance and establish a unified approach to managing NG911.

5. Create A Model for Funding Next Generation 911 

To help 911 authorities and Congress make decisions about NG911 funding, the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau will create a cost model which evaluates the cost-effectiveness of having an NG911 network linking PSAPs and carriers.

In Conclusion 

The FCC has created its five-step action plan to help the public safety industry improve the deployment of NG911 in communities across America. Because Next Generation 911 is an IP-based system that enables more efficient emergency communications by integrating voice, data, and video, it will provide first responders with the information they need to assess and respond to emergencies more effectively. 

Would you like to know more about NG911 deployment and implementation? 

If so, connect with our NG911 providers and experts at NGA today