Project 43: Broadband Implications for the PSAP
States Should Establish a State-Level Coordinating Entity
States Should Update 9-1-1 Funding Mechanisms
Other Roles for States or Coordinating Entities
Outreach and Education
Amend Laws and Regulations that Impede 9-1-1
Role of the U.S. Congress
- States should establish a coordinating entity that actively engages with local stakeholders, including PSAPs. The specific type of coordinating entity can vary. More important is that a governance structure exists to aid in the planning, implementation, and management of NG9-1-1 and broadband technologies, and that it incorporates local participation and local control. A statewide or regional coordinating entity will help to achieve economies of scale, cost savings, coordination, and interoperability, among other benefits.
- A coordinating body can also serve to establish a strategic vision for the entire 9-1-1 ecosystem. The vision should detail what the state wants to achieve and include a framework for conveying this vision to policymakers, PSAPs, and the public. Early-adopting states can create these frameworks to act as a blueprint for planning and deployment in later-adopting states.
- Congress should continue to provide incentives as conditions of NG9-1-1 related grant programs for states to establish a single officer or governmental body to serve as the coordinator of implementation of NG9-1-1 services (but not vest such coordinator with legal authority to implement NG9-1-1) and coordinate its grant application with the local PSAPs.62
- States should establish and oversee a sufficient, enforceable, technology-neutral funding mechanism. During the transition period to NG9-1-1, states will need to continue to fund both the existing legacy 9-1-1 system and the costs associated with planning and implementing NG9-1-1 and other broadband-related systems. Funding mechanisms should also anticipate long-term needs such as maintenance, upgrades, new requirements, etc.
- States should ensure that diversion of 9-1-1 fees does not occur. Creating a separate 9-1-1 fund can help ensure that 9-1-1 fees are not commingled with other state monies and thus less likely to be diverted for other non-9-1-1 related purposes. It would be beneficial to specifically devote a portion of 9-1-1 spending to NG9-1-1 planning and implementation.
- Funding mechanisms will also benefit from legislation or regulations that specifically mandate what 9-1-1 funds may be used for, and empower a coordinating entity to audit the provision and use of 9-1-1 funds, and take enforcement action if funds are not being remitted properly or are not being utilized properly by receiving entities.
- Provide training support to localities and PSAPs. This can be in the form of funding, training materials, training programs, etc.
- Have effective rule-making authority and enforcement authority.
- Ensure redundancy and interoperability in the NG9-1-1 system.
- Collect and analyze data, which in turn can be used to inform policy development and strategic planning.
- Promote coordination, mutual aid, and information and resource sharing within and among PSAPs. This can be accomplished in part by enabling the creation of interlocal and mutual aid agreements or memorandums of understanding between localities and PSAPs.
- Encourage PSAPs to develop or update operational, technical, security, privacy, and training policies for an NG9-1-1, broadband environment.
- Ensure that NG9-1-1 networks and equipment be built to widely deployed commercial standards, and other standards approved through organizations such as ANSI that accredit the procedures of standards development organizations to ensure openness, balance, consensus, and due process, that are commonly used in public safety communications, and that are proven to achieve and maintain seamless interoperability among PSAPs, ESInets, originating networks, FirstNet, and other government and public safety enterprise networks.
- States and coordinating entities should conduct outreach and education for policymakers, PSAPs, and the public to advance NG9-1-1 progress and adoption of broadband technology.
- This could include explaining how technology is shaping the 9-1-1 landscape, the benefits of NG9-1-1, the funding and other challenges PSAPs face, and how FirstNet and other broadband technologies will be integrated into the 9-1-1 system.
- States and coordinating entities should also monitor changes and trends in NG9-1-1 and broadband technologies in order to continuously update outreach and education for policymakers, PSAPs, and the public.
- States should remove barriers to 9-1-1 modernization within existing legislation. This includes outdated, legacy-based regulations such as 9-1-1 SSP certification requirements and regulations that impede IP-based routing. Regulations should instead promote competition, IP connectivity, and broadband technologies.
- States should update legislation and regulations to promote technology adoption and NG9-1-1 implementation, and address new and existing legal, regulatory, funding, liability, security, and privacy concerns in a broadband environment. This could include creating legislation and regulations that comprehensively and uniformly define and promote NG9-1-1, create a coordinating entity, establish or expand a 9-1-1 funding mechanism, extend liability protection to NG9-1-1 service providers and systems, and address privacy, cybersecurity, and data security in an NG9-1-1 environment.
States should follow fair, open, transparent, and competitive procurement practices.
Where feasible, states should coordinate FirstNet and NG9-1-1 implementation.
Congress should establish a substantial grant program to modernize 9-1-1 services across the country as a national imperative. APCO will continue its efforts to achieve federal legislation that would help ensure that all PSAPs have the resources needed to upgrade in approximately the same timeframe, while leaving to the responsibility of state and local governments to address funding for workforce, training, and sustainability. A grant program can be used to serve certain objectives, such as to achieve and maintain seamless interoperability including through use of widely deployed commercial standards, promote information and resource sharing, drive cost efficiencies, require use of open and competitive procurement practices, ensure states create sustainable funding mechanisms to support continued operations, and prevent fee diversion.
Further, Congress has the opportunity to fund additional research and development to assist with the development of technologies to advance NG9-1-1. This can be patterned after the existing public safety wireless communications research and development program that the FirstNet legislation assigned to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
62 Note that incentivizing effective governance structures does not include the regionalization or consolidation of PSAP facilities, functions, equipment, or services. Regionalization and consolidation must be a local decision.