APCO International


Next Generation 9-1-1

The monumental advances in technology over the past few decades, and the trend towards an ever more mobile, and networked, society mean that NG9-1-1 technologies - the capability to send and receive data in real time, share data between agencies and centers, receive calls from other than traditional phone sources, and to route calls, and resources, based on real time GIS data -- will soon be more than a luxury, it will become a necessity. In this section, we review some of the proposed components, how they tie together to provide truly integrated services, what regulatory and funding hurdles we face, and what this new approach to integrated communications will do for PSAP’s and the agencies and citizens they serve.

Enabling Technologies

NG9-1-1 relies on an Emergency Services IP Network (ESInet) to deliver "calls" to the PSAP. These calls can be in the form of voice, video, text or other multi-media services. The method used for delivering these calls will be the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). A great deal of work is also being done around IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), which incorporates SIP as the protocol by which NG 9-1-1 networks may be designed. There are functional and interface standards developed by NENA which describe general SIP and IMS-based architectures. Additional work is being done by ATIS to allow agencies flexibility in their development of an infrastructure and to ensure interoperability among systems and agencies.

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 (ANI), subscriber name and Automatic Location Identification (ALI), when available.

The vision of a Next Generation 9-1-1 system is to enable the public to make voice, text, or video calls from any communications device via Internet Protocol based networks. The 9-1-1 Center of the future will also be able to receive data from devices such as Advanced Automatic Collision Notification systems, medical alert systems, and a variety of other “sensors.” The infrastructure envisioned by NG9-1-1 will support transfer of emergency calls to other PSAPs—including any accompanying data.

The Standards

The Stakeholders

  • Telecommunications equipment and service providers.
  • Information technology equipment and service providers.
  • Telematics, including Advanced Automatic Collision Notification
  • Hazmat (Hazardous materials) security alerts to or from commercial motor carriers or rail carriers
  • Integration of Intelligent transportation systems with public safety communications systems
  • Security alarm notification system providers
  • State and local 9-1-1 agencies
  • Public safety and emergency management agencies
  • Emergency services industry
  • Federal departments, including Transportation, Commerce, Homeland Security, Justice and the Federal Communications Commission
  • National organizations with active interests in 9-1-1
  • IT research community
  • Standards community

Regulatory and Funding

Statutory Authorization

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 E-911 Implementation Coordination Office to develop a national plan for migrating to a national IP-enabled emergency network.


For a national overview of NG 9-1-1, visit www.its.dot.gov/factsheets/ng911.htm

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