Overview of E911 Initiatives including CGIA Funding for Geographical Data and Durham Pilot Project for Next Generation E911 for Text

Richard Taylor, Executive Director of NC E911 Board
Phone: 919-754-2942
E-mail: Richard.taylor@nc.gov

Richard Taylor, NC E911 Board, Executive Director, who provided the Board with an overview of the NC 911 Board Initiatives. Richard told the Board some interesting facts regarding the Public Safety Answering Point or PSAPs in the US, over 240 Million called are placed annually, there are over 6,000 PSAPs in the Nation, there are 276 Million Wireless customers in the US, 26% of all households are wireless only now, in 2012 Voice Over Internet Protocol or VoIP, such as Skype, Vonage and the cable provider phone service, will have 33.8 Million subscribers and over 77% of the Nation will have access to VoIP in 2012, these callers are not associated with an address like a land line, there is also a huge increase in telematics, such as OnStar users, one provider reports over 6,000 requests per month. Because of all these additional technological advances, the expectation of the user and of fist responders has changed drastically, and it is hard to meet all these. Richard also explained that with the craze of texting by mobile users, latitude and longitude does not get sent when a text does, so this is a monumental problem if you are trying to locate a person via text message. Richard also stated that FCC Chairman Genachowski on August 10, 2011 released a five-step action plan, the FCC will:

  1. develop automatic location accuracy mechanisms for NG-911,
  2. facilitate the completion and implementation of NG911 technical standards for the hardware and software that carriers and public safety answering points (PSAPs) use to communicate NG911 information,
  3. work with state 911 authorities, other Federal agencies, and other governing entities to provide technical expertise and develop a coordinated approach to NG911 governance,
  4. develop an NG911 Funding Model focused on the cost-effectiveness of the NG911 network infrastructure linking PSAPs and carriers and
  5. enable consumers to send text, photos, and videos to PSAPs.

Additionally the FCC Chairman added the following to his action plan: Next Generation 911 supports seamless, end-to-end IP-based communication of emergency-related voice, text, data, photos, and video between the public and public safety answering points. NG911 systems will continue to support the legacy 911 system on a transitional basis for as long as is necessary. Richard went on to say that the NC 911 Board provided funding, over $12 million, for CGIA (Center for Geographical Information and Analysis) to help create NC OneMap. The Council for CGIA also agreed to fund the necessary updates that are needed by remapping a quarter of the State each year. This service was provided to each county free of charge in order to have the most up to date map available. Richard explained that the NC 911 Board funded a project in Surry and Forsyth counties, to connect two PSAPs, they can now move information from Winston-Salem to Surry County in its entirety, and this is voice and data over an IT network. The NC 911 Board is hoping to be completed in the early months of 2012 to connect Haywood County, to Stanley County, then to Brunswick County with the same ability as the Forsyth and Surry County project. The NC 911 Board also helped to establish the Durham Text Project which is only a pilot and it is not operational and a long way from being able to deploy across the State. It will only be operational till December of 2011 then it will be turned off, and it can only be done with Verizon Wireless customers in Durham County. As of the first week of October Durham has not received a single 911 “call” via text. Intrado as the vendor of this pilot project and a full service 911 vendor has been providing proposals to other NC Agencies specifically to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Fire Department with a quote for $4-5 Million proposal, on the premises that text works in Durham and it does not at this point and it is premature to sell this as a completed pilot. It is only Intrado and Verizon doing this pilot and Verizon is not providing the location of the caller at all. Richard made the point that without Standards, then the most aggressive companies will be building these new Next Generation models to their specifications which will create additional problems in the future.

Overview of E911 Next Generation