NG911 - FCC Proposes Advancing the Transition: What this proposal means?

Posted in All, NGA911 on Jun 11, 2023

On June 8th, 2023 The Federal Communications Commission proposed rules to advance the transition to Next Generation 911, help ensure that the nation’s 911 system functions effectively, and support the deployment of advanced 911 capabilities—including video, text, and data—that will help first responders save lives.

Read the FCC Press Release

In this blog post, our NGA team will break down the proposal.

Table of Contents:

  1. What is the purpose of the proposed rules?

  2. What is an IP-based NG911 system?

  3. What does it mean to have service providers make sure emergency calls are formatted to be compatible with the new IP-based system?

  4. What do call service providers have to do to be compatible with the new IP-based system for emergency calls?

  5. What does a PSAP need to do to get ready for IP-Based NG911 systems

  6. What must a PSAP director do to collaborate with call services providers?

  7. What do NG911 Solution Providers (Vendors) have to do to collaborate with call service providers?

  8. Conclusion 

What is the purpose of the proposed rules?

Currently, over 200 million emergency assistance calls are made to 911 annually. To enhance the capabilities of the system, state, and local 911 authorities are transitioning from legacy circuit-switched networks to Internet Protocol (IP)-based networks and applications. This transition will enable new features like text, video, and data, improved interoperability, and system resilience. However, the completion of the NG911 transition relies on originating service providers, responsible for connecting 911 callers' phones, to format calls in line with NG911 requirements and deliver them to the designated IP networks determined by 911 authorities.

Some state and local 911 authorities have reported difficulties in the transition process, as originating service providers have refused to connect to the new destination points or have caused delays. This situation poses additional costs and delays for the 911 authorities. In response to these challenges, the FCC proposed requirements for wireless, wireline, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and Internet-based Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) providers to deliver 911 calls in IP format upon the request of NG911-capable 911 authorities. The proposed rules also address the allocation of costs for transmitting all IP-based 911 calls.

What is an IP-based NG911 system?

An IP-based NG911 system refers to a Next Generation 911 system that utilizes Internet Protocol (IP) technology for the transmission and handling of emergency communications. It represents a modernized and advanced approach to emergency communication infrastructure.

In an IP-based NG911 system, emergency calls, multimedia messages, and other data are transmitted over IP networks, such as the Internet or private IP networks. This allows for more efficient and flexible communication compared to traditional circuit-switched networks.

Key features of an IP-based NG911 system include:

  • Multimedia Communication: IP-based NG911 systems support the transmission of multimedia data alongside voice calls. This includes text messages, images, videos, and other forms of data. This enables callers to provide more detailed information to emergency services, enhancing situational awareness for responders.

  • Enhanced Location Accuracy: With an IP-based system, accurate location information can be obtained from various sources, such as GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular networks. This allows emergency services to pinpoint the caller's location more precisely, improving response times and efficiency.

  • Flexible Call Routing: IP-based NG911 systems utilize advanced call routing techniques to direct emergency calls to the most appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) based on the caller's location, language preferences, or specific needs. This ensures that emergency calls are efficiently routed to the appropriate response center.

  • Data Integration and Exchange: IP-based NG911 systems enable seamless integration and exchange of data between emergency response agencies and other relevant stakeholders. This facilitates information sharing, interoperability, and collaboration among different entities involved in emergency response.

  • Scalability and Flexibility: IP-based systems offer greater scalability, allowing for easier expansion and adaptation to changing needs. They can accommodate the integration of new technologies and services as they emerge, ensuring the system remains up-to-date and adaptable to future advancements.

  • Overall, an IP-based NG911 system leverages the power of IP technology to enhance emergency communication capabilities, improve response times, and provide a more comprehensive and efficient emergency response experience for both callers and emergency service providers.

What does it mean to have service providers make sure emergency calls are formatted to be compatible with the new IP-based system?

Having call operating service providers ensure that emergency calls are formatted to be compatible with the new IP-based system means that they ensure the proper conversion and transmission of emergency calls from traditional formats to the Internet Protocol (IP) format. This compatibility ensures that emergency calls can seamlessly traverse the IP-based infrastructure and reach the appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) or emergency dispatch center.

The call operating service providers play a crucial role in this process by implementing the necessary technical protocols and systems to ensure that emergency calls are correctly formatted, including capturing the caller's location information and transmitting it to the PSAP. They work closely with telecommunication networks, service providers, and emergency response agencies to establish standardized procedures and guidelines for call formatting.

Call operating service providers enable the smooth transition to Next Generation 911 (NG911) technology by ensuring compatibility with the new IP-based system. This transition allows for more advanced features and capabilities, such as multimedia communication (text, images, video), improved location accuracy, and enhanced call routing. Ultimately, the goal is to provide faster and more efficient emergency response services to better serve and protect the public.

What do call service providers have to do to be compatible with the new IP-based system for emergency calls?

To be compatible with the new IP-based system for emergency calls, call service providers need to undertake several key steps:

  • Implement IP-based Infrastructure: Call service providers must upgrade their existing infrastructure to support IP-based communication. This involves adopting Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology and ensuring compatibility with the signaling protocols used in NG911 systems.

  • Support SIP Protocol: Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is the standard protocol used for call setup and signaling in IP-based communication. Call service providers need to ensure their systems can handle SIP-based signaling for emergency calls, allowing seamless communication between the caller, service provider, and emergency response agencies.

  • Capture and Transmit Location Information: One essential aspect of NG911 is accurate location information for emergency calls. Call service providers must enhance their systems to capture and transmit precise location data from the caller to the emergency dispatch centers. This may involve integrating with location-based services or leveraging GPS technologies.

  • Enable Multimedia Communication: NG911 supports multimedia communication, allowing callers to send text messages, images, videos, and other data alongside voice calls. Call service providers should enable the transmission of multimedia content in a secure and reliable manner, ensuring that emergency response personnel receive all relevant information during an emergency.

  • Ensure Quality of Service: Call service providers need to prioritize the quality of service for emergency calls. This includes implementing measures to minimize latency, jitter, and packet loss, which can affect the clarity and reliability of calls. Robust Quality of Service (QoS) mechanisms should be in place to prioritize emergency calls over non-emergency traffic.

  • Collaborate with Emergency Response Agencies: Call service providers must work closely with emergency response agencies, such as Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) and dispatch centers, to ensure seamless integration and compatibility. This collaboration involves establishing technical interfaces, data exchange protocols, and testing procedures to ensure smooth communication and interoperability.

By undertaking these steps, call service providers can ensure their systems are compatible with the new IP-based system for emergency calls. This compatibility enables the efficient and reliable delivery of emergency services in the digital age, enhancing public safety and emergency response capabilities.

What does a PSAP need to do to get ready for IP-Based NG911 systems

To prepare for an IP-based NG911 system, a PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) tech should undertake the following steps:

  • Assess Current Infrastructure: Evaluate the existing technology infrastructure within the PSAP to identify any gaps or areas that require upgrades or modifications. This includes assessing the readiness of network connectivity, hardware, software, and equipment for IP-based NG911 systems.

  • Network Readiness: Ensure that the PSAP's network infrastructure is capable of supporting IP-based communication. This involves evaluating bandwidth requirements, network reliability, and security measures to handle the increased volume of multimedia data transmission.

  • Upgrade Call Handling Equipment: Determine if the PSAP's call handling equipment and systems are compatible with IP-based NG911 systems. This may involve upgrading or replacing legacy systems with modern IP-enabled call-handling platforms that can handle multimedia communications.

  • Location Accuracy: Assess the accuracy of location information received from callers and identify any improvements needed. IP-based NG911 systems rely on precise location data, so it's important to ensure that the PSAP has access to accurate and reliable location information.

  • Staff Training: Provide comprehensive training to PSAP staff on the new IP-based NG911 system. This includes familiarizing them with the features, functionalities, and protocols associated with IP-based emergency communications. Training should cover call handling procedures, multimedia data management, and any new tools or interfaces introduced with the system.

  • Collaboration with Service Providers: Collaborate with NG911 solution providers and service providers to ensure seamless integration and interoperability. Work closely with them to establish interfaces, data exchange protocols, and testing procedures to ensure smooth communication and information sharing.

  • Testing and Validation: Conduct rigorous testing and validation of the IP-based NG911 system to ensure its functionality, reliability, and compatibility with existing PSAP workflows. This involves simulating emergency scenarios, conducting interoperability tests, and verifying the accuracy of call routing and data transmission.

  • Security Measures: Implement robust security measures to protect the PSAP's network and data in an IP-based environment. This includes firewall protection, encryption protocols, intrusion detection systems, and regular security audits.

  • Collaboration and Communication: Maintain open lines of communication with NG911 solution providers, service providers, and other PSAPs to share experiences, best practices, and lessons learned during the transition to an IP-based NG911 system.

By following these steps, PSAPs can ensure that their PSAP is adequately prepared for the transition to an IP-based NG911 system. This will help facilitate a smooth implementation and optimize the capabilities of the new system for effective emergency response.

What must a PSAP director do to collaborate with call services providers?

To collaborate effectively with call service providers, a PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) director should undertake the following actions:

  • Establish Communication Channels: Initiate communication with call service providers to establish a direct line of communication. Identify the appropriate contact persons within the provider's organization and establish regular channels for information sharing and collaboration.

  • Share Operational Requirements: Communicate the operational requirements of the PSAP to the call service providers. This includes information about call handling procedures, call routing preferences, data exchange protocols, and any specific needs or challenges faced by the PSAP.

  • Participate in Coordination Meetings: Actively participate in coordination meetings or working groups organized by call service providers. These meetings facilitate collaboration, allow for information exchange, and provide an opportunity to address any concerns or challenges that may arise.

  • Collaborate on Technical Integration: Work closely with call service providers to ensure seamless technology integration. This involves establishing compatible interfaces, protocols, and standards for data exchange between the PSAP and the provider's systems. Collaborate on testing and verification procedures to ensure the interoperability of systems.

  • Provide Feedback and Input: Offer feedback to call service providers based on your experience and operational requirements. This feedback can help inform the provider's system improvements, feature enhancements, and future developments. Act as a liaison between the PSAP and the provider, sharing insights and suggestions for system optimization.

  • Stay Informed about Updates and Changes: Maintain regular communication with call service providers to stay updated on any system updates, changes, or advancements. This ensures that the PSAP remains informed about new features, capabilities, and emerging technologies that could benefit emergency response operations.

By actively collaborating with call service providers, a PSAP director can ensure a smooth integration, interoperability, and effective communication between the PSAP and the provider's systems. This collaboration enables the delivery of efficient and reliable emergency response services.

What do NG911 Solution Providers (Vendors) have to do to collaborate with call service providers?

NG911 solution providers play a crucial role in collaborating with call service providers to ensure effective integration and compatibility. Here are some critical steps they need to take:

  • Establish Relationships: NG911 solution providers should initiate contact and establish relationships with call service providers. This involves identifying the appropriate contacts within the provider organizations and building rapport to foster collaboration.

  • Understand Operational Requirements: NG911 solution providers need to gain a thorough understanding of the operational requirements of call service providers. This includes their call handling procedures, data exchange protocols, technical specifications, and any unique needs or challenges they face.

  • Customization and Integration: NG911 solution providers should work closely with call service providers to customize and integrate their solutions into the existing infrastructure. This involves collaborating on system configurations, interfaces, and protocols to ensure seamless interoperability between the NG911 solution and the call service provider's systems.

  • Testing and Validation: Rigorous testing and validation procedures should be conducted in collaboration with call service providers. This ensures that the NG911 solution functions correctly within its environment, meets its operational needs, and aligns with industry standards and regulations.

  • Ongoing Support and Maintenance: NG911 solution providers should provide ongoing support and maintenance services to call service providers. This includes timely updates, bug fixes, and addressing any technical issues that may arise. Regular communication and support channels should be established to facilitate efficient troubleshooting and problem resolution.

  • Training and Education: NG911 solution providers should offer training and educational resources to call service providers. This helps their staff understand the features, functionalities, and best practices of the NG911 solution. Training sessions and documentation should be provided to ensure smooth adoption and utilization of the technology.

  • Collaboration on System Enhancements: NG911 solution providers should actively seek feedback from call service providers and collaborate on system enhancements. This includes soliciting input on feature improvements, addressing specific operational needs, and incorporating valuable suggestions into future product development cycles.


This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking signifies the FCC's commitment to advancing the transition to NG911 and ensuring the efficient functioning of the nation's emergency response system. Chairwoman Rosenworcel, Commissioners Carr, Starks, and Simington have approved this action, with Chairwoman Rosenworcel and Commissioner Starks issuing separate statements expressing their perspectives.

The proposed rules seek to support the ongoing development of NG911 capabilities, improving emergency response effectiveness and helping save lives through enhanced communication and data exchange between 911 callers and first responders.

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