Moving to NG9-1-1: It’s more possible than impossible! A 2-part series

Posted on Mar 05, 2020

In the first of this two-part series, we are going to talk funding. Stay tuned for part two of this series, where we cover the learning curve during implementation and the skills needed to operate Nex Gen systems.

There is little dispute that the nation’s 9-1-1 systems require a transition to digital technologies that will support the diverse ways in which the public communicates. Implementation of advanced communications services will provide significant benefits and will result in improved service delivery for the public and first responders.

To set your agency up for the greatest success, keep in mind the distinction between Next Generation 9-1-1 and Enhanced 9-1-1. As you seek out solutions, it’s not uncommon to find that the incumbent 9-1-1 service providers recommend the construction of new facilities, data centers, and physical servers connected to the PSAP by expensive data links on top of the existing E911 system. These approaches lead to hybrid solutions that do not bring all the promised enhancements and cost twice as much to build and operate.

Moving all the way over to Next Generation 9-1-1 will allow you to save money and increase efficiencies. You will not have to operate dual systems or use supplemental data. Better technology will reduce your risk of outages and prepare you for the future of public communication – no matter what that looks like.

The difference is simple; anything on the market today that has a Selective Router in the call path is not Next Generation 9-1-1. It is technology overlaid on a legacy system. Legacy systems are prone to security risks and outages and cannot deliver new technology and data seamlessly. (Read our previous post on Selective Routers)

Next Generation 9-1-1 technology is designed to make your life easier and make it easier for your residents and visitors to communicate with you during an emergency.

A Case Study in Funding

The most common concerns we hear in the communities we visit are concerns over the cost of next gen and how to fund it. This leads many PSAPs to wait or to pull in a patchwork of solutions. To avoid the pitfalls of patching old tech or delaying implementation, our customer in Elko County Nevada decided to skip E911 and move their basic system to NG9-1-1. Here is how they did it:

Elko County faced several challenges on the journey to Next Generation 9-1-1. They started by forming a 9-1-1 advisory board and worked with a consultant, who recommended to best serve the residents the county aim for NG9-1-1 rather than take the “middle road of Enhanced 911.”

Nevada does not have a Statewide 9-1-1 Coordinator, meaning they are not eligible to receive federal funds designated for Next Generation 9-1-1. Funding for the Elko project came via a surcharge, grants, and fundraising. Members of the community rallied support early on to gather donations and get approval for the surcharge.

Another complicating factor was having three separate PSAPs governed by different bodies. To solve this problem, the three dispatch centers will be tied together in an Emergency Services Internet Protocol network (ESInet). This will enable one-click call routing during transfers to include all the location information and other data, with no fear of dropped calls.

We are proud of the work they have done in Elko, and proud to be part of their story. If you would like to read more about Elko’s move to Next Gen, check it out here.

If you have additional questions about implementation for your specific situation, please reach out to our industry professionals. It is our pleasure to assist!