FCC's 5-step plan for deploying Next-Gen 911
The Federal Communications Commission has outlined a plan to help the public safety community make the move to a new generation of 911 emergency call services that will incorporate a variety of new digital media.
Next Generation 911, or NG911, would support IP-based communications using text, data, photos, videos and voice. This offers the promise of not only improving public access but also providing more information for first responders even before they arrive on the scene.
But with the public adoption of these technologies outpacing government’s ability to accommodate them, the public safety community must make the shift in an organized way or risk the uncoordinated, patchwork deployment of services at the expense of efficiency and interoperability, said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
FCC aims to add text, images, video to 911 services
Genachowski unveiled a five-step plan to improve the current generation of 911 services and enable NG911 at last year’s conference of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials:
1. Develop location accuracy mechanisms for NG911. The FCC has launched development of a framework for providing automatic location information in the NG911 environment.
2. Enable consumers to send text, photos and videos to public safety answering points. The FCC has released a notice of proposed rules to accelerate NG911 adoption, addressing practical, technical questions about how to enable text, photo and video transmission to 911, including how to deliver the bandwidth PSAPs will need.
3. Facilitate the completion and implementation of NG911 technical hardware and software standards, which are essential for NG911 to be effective. The FCC is working with stakeholders to resolve standards issues and facilitate implementation of a standards-based architecture.
4. Develop a NG911 governance framework. Because no single governing entity has jurisdiction over NG911, the FCC will work with state, federal and other governing entities to develop a coordinated approach to NG911 governance.
5. Develop an NG911 funding model. To assist 911 authorities and Congress in considering funding options, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau will prepare a cost model focused on the cost-effectiveness of the NG911 network infrastructure.
William Jackson is a senior writer of GCN and the author of the CyberEye blog.