Next Generation 9-1-1
Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) refers to an initiative aimed at updating the 9-1-1 service infrastructure in the United States to improve public emergency communications services in a growingly wireless mobile society. In addition to calling 9-1-1 from a phone, it intends to enable the public to transmit text, images, video and data to the 9-1-1 center (referred to as a Public Safety Answering Point, or PSAP). The initiative also envisions additional types of emergency communications and data transfer. This NG9-1-1 infrastructure is intended to replace the current services over time.
View brief overview and benefits of NG9-1-1 for additional information: NG9-1-1 Video
Purpose and history
Planning for NG9-1-1 started in 2000 and was published in NENA's Future Path Plan in 2001. NENA's NG9-1-1 Project began in 2003 and continues to an ultimate goal of establishing national NG9-1-1 architecture and operations standards, and implementation plans to accomplish advanced 9-1-1 systems and services. Public safety communications experts recognized that the nation's current 9-1-1 system was not capable of handling the text, data, images and video that are increasingly common in personal communications. The stated goal of a related USDOT project is: "To enable the general public to make a 9-1-1 “call” (any real-time communication – voice, text, or video) from any wired, wireless, or IP-based device, and allow the emergency services community to take advantage of advanced call delivery and other functions through new internetworking technologies based on open standards." The project is aimed at supporting establishment of a national architecture for an NG9-1-1 system that would meet these goals, and to create a transition plan for NG9-1-1.
The "Proof of Concept" phase of the DOT project, using the architecture designed by NENA, was completed in 2008, and a report was issued on the results of a proof of concept demonstration conducted over the course of that year. That report has served as a basic blueprint for planning and implementation of these capabilities. Actual implementation of these capabilities is expected to take several years, and will require changes to existing communications infrastructure, as well as changes to the way PSAPs operate.
In 2000 Palm Beach County, FL implemented the first ESInet in the US. AT&T connecting multiple PSAPs utilizing the SIP protocol. In 2012, the State of Washington completed the first Statewide ESInet implementation in the US.
In 2015 the FCC initiated a nationwide task force. The FCC Task Force on Optimal Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) Architecture (Task Force or TFOPA) has been directed to study and report findings and recommendations on structure and architecture in order to determine whether additional consolidation of PSAP infrastructure and architecture improvements would promote greater efficiency of operations, safety of life, and cost containment, while retaining needed integration with local first responder dispatch and support.
The NG9-1-1 vision relies on 9-1-1 specific application functionality on an Emergency Services IP Network (ESInet) to deliver voice, video, text and data "calls" to the PSAP. The protocol used for delivering these "calls" will be the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), or IP Multimedia Subsystem The functional and interface standards developed by NENA describe general SIP and IMS-based architectures that allow responsible 9-1-1 Authorities flexibility in developing an infrastructure to support the envisioned features of NG9-1-1.
The 911 Improvement Act of 2008 requires IP-enabled voice service providers to provide 9-1-1 service, allows state and tribal fees to pay for such services, and directs the Federal Communications Commission to gather information to facilitate these services. The Act also provides for grants to public agencies, and requires the 911 Implementation Coordination Office to develop a national plan for migrating to a national IP-enabled emergency network.
Today's 9-1-1 vs. Next Generation 9-1-1
In today's 9-1-1 environment, the public can primarily make only emergency voice calls and Teletype calls (by deaf or hearing impaired persons). Only minimal data is delivered with these calls, such as automatic number identification, subscriber name and Automatic Location Identification, when available.
In the Next Generation 9-1-1 environment, the public will be able to make voice, text, or video emergency "calls" from any communications device via Internet Protocol-based networks. The PSAP of the future will also be able to receive data from personal safety devices such as Advanced Automatic Collision Notification systems, medical alert systems, and sensors of various types. The new infrastructure envisioned by the NG9-1-1 project will support national internetworking of 9-1-1 services, as well as transfer of emergency calls to other PSAPs—including any accompanying data. In addition, the PSAP will be able to issue emergency alerts to wireless devices in an area via voice or text message, and to highway alert systems.