For years, emergency response organizations and the federal government have been working on updating the 9-1-1 system for the 21st century. Along with the NG911 system, Next-Generation 9-1-1 legislation has been implemented to ensure the continued progress and modernization of our nation’s public safety. With each new federal Act and Bill, America moves closer to a more efficient and integrated emergency response system.
In this blog post from our trusted NG911 providers at NGA, we’ll discuss the legislation timeline of Next-Generation 9-1-1.
We'll also look at some of the critical pieces of legislation aimed at updating 9-1-1.
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What are the modern next-generation needs of 9-1-1 systems?
The NG911 system accepts and supports different types of multimedia such as real-time text messages, videos, images, and more. The NG911 system leverages IP (internet protocol) and cloud-based platforms to optimize the connection between multiple public and private networks.
What is Next-Generation 9-1-1?
Next-Generation 9-1-1 is a telecommunications system that allows emergency response personnel to share data more quickly and efficiently than ever before.
It enables agencies to send text messages, photos, videos, and other multimedia information in real-time over dedicated networks. This allows 9-1-1 operators to respond faster to emergencies by having access to all the necessary data they need.
Planning for Next-Generation 9-1-1, known as NG911, began in 2000. The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) published expectations for the new emergency telecommunication system in 2001.
Following the unprecedented events of September 11th, 2001, the need for a more reliable and streamlined emergency response system became evident. NENA’s NG911 Project Plan for Next-Generation 9-1-1 nationwide implementation began in 2003 and has continued for the last two decades.
In 2008, the New and Emerging Technologies (NET) 911 Improvement Act of 2008 promoted the enhancement of all IP-based 911 services. The Act also instructed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to enable these services, helping improve access to emergency response services for individuals with disabilities.
The NG911 Advancement Act of 2012 provided funds for Next-Generation 9-1-1 and began the process of building an interconnected public safety broadband network. The law required research examining current emergency response system costs associated with NG911. This information was needed for Congress to address Next-Generation 9-1-1 system development, deployment, maintenance, and funding issues.
A significant piece of NG911 legislation was the Smart 911 Act, passed in February 2015. This Act offered a grant program that provided funding to states wishing to implement new technology into their emergency call centers.
One of the main focuses of this grant program was text-to-911. This feature enabled individuals unable to make voice calls an alternate way to contact emergency services.
In 2017, the Act of Kari's Law 2017 was passed. This law required all businesses in America with Multi-Line Telephone Systems (MATS) to ensure that employees can dial 9-1-1 without an access code.
The first Kari's Law was named after Kari Hunt Dunn, who was murdered in 2013 while staying at a hotel. Her daughter attempted to dial 9-1-1 but could not because she needed permission from an outside line before making an emergency call.
In 2018, President Trump signed the RAY BAUM'S Act—a sweeping piece of telecom legislation that included provisions related to NG911 services. This Act codified requirements for carriers and public safety answering points (PSAPs) regarding location accuracy and verification during emergencies.
Additionally, the Act clarified requirements related to training and certification for public safety dispatchers. It also mandated that PSAPs create an incident data reporting structure for use during emergencies. This Act also incentivized states and local governments to upgrade their legacy systems to NG911.
The Next-Generation 9-1-1 Act of 2019 and the NG911 Act were identical Bills introduced in May 2019. These Bills provided federal funding to support nationwide Next-Generation 9-1-1 implementation.
The Leading Infrastructure for Tomorrow’s American Act, or LIFT American Act, was another bill introduced in May 2019. The Bill included various infrastructure provisions regarding NG911 system investments. Requirements included ones that aligned with the Next-Generation 9-1-1 Act.
On July 27th, 2022, the House Representatives passed the Spectrum Innovation Act. If put into effect, the Act authorizes the FCC to allocate funds for Next-Generation 9-1-1 grants. The funds would also go to the Secure and Trusted Communications Network Reimbursement Program.
NG911 legislation has numerous benefits for both citizens and emergency responders. First, more federal support and funding allow for more updates to 9-1-1 systems and technology.
9-1-1 telecommunications technology allows for more accessible emergency response and will enable citizens to report emergencies using multiple forms of communication.
Next-Generation 9-1-1 legislation also provides faster response times due to improved data sharing between agencies. It also provides accuracy in locating incidents due to improved digital mapping.
Finally, legislation facilitates better coordination between agencies by giving them access to real-time data about an incident for collaborative decision-making.
As you can see, efforts by the public safety industry and federal government are in place to improve emergency response systems across America.
While work upgrading existing infrastructures and implementing new technologies is still required, Next-Generation 9-1-1 legislation laws have improved the public safety infrastructure.
Would you like to know more about Next-Generation 9-1-1 legislation?