What Is Next Generation 9-1-1?

Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) is a secure, nationwide, interoperable, standards-based, all-IP emergency communications infrastructure enabling end-to-end transmission of all types of data, including voice and multimedia communications from the public to an emergency communications center.

Law enforcement, fire, EMS, and 9-1-1 professionals handle over 240 million emergency 9-1-1 calls per year. Our 9-1-1 system is the most critical of critical infrastructure – relied upon nationwide every day to obtain assistance in a variety of life-or-death situations. Unfortunately, 9-1-1 networks across the United States have not kept up with advances in communications technology and, in large part, are based upon technology dating back to the 1960s and limited to voice calls and some texting.

APCO Releases Definitive Guide to Next Generation 9-1-1

Today, the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International announced the publication of a comprehensive document entitled “APCO International’s Definitive Guide to Next Generation 9-1-1.” The guide takes a forward-looking approach to Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) to address what emergency communications centers (ECCs) and professional staff from telecommunicators to directors need to make informed decisions now and in the future.

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 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 ECCs—including any accompanying data.

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 route calls, and resources, based on real time GIS data — will soon be more than a luxury, it will become a necessity.

NG9-1-1 relies on an Emergency Services IP Network (ESInet) to deliver “calls” to the ECC. 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.

APCO Resources

Reports & Presentations

  • Guidance for Achieving an Innovative and Interoperable Transition to Next Generation 9-1-1

    Achieving an end-state, Next Generation 9-1-1 system throughout the country requires that public
    safety professionals actively engage in defining the needs and requirements of any solution. These
    requirements should include ensuring solution providers are aware of public safety’s needs

  • Project 43: Broadband Implications for the PSAP

    The goal of Project 43 is to help public safety telecommunicators, PSAPs, PSAP directors, 9-1-1 authorities, elected and appointed officials, and others in the public safety community better leverage existing technology capabilities and prepare for the evolving broadband communications technologies that will impact PSAP operations and, at the same time, improve support to field responders.

  • Achieving Next Generation 9‐1‐1 Nationwide

    Using a scenario, the presenters describe how 9-1-1 professionals will use broadband tools to enhance emergency response, and what new ways of thinking will be needed to get us there.

TabletopX Blog Posts

  • APCO’s 2023 Advocacy Priorities (with one-pagers of talking points)

    During the prior session of Congress, APCO made substantial progress on its legislative goals, including coming closer than ever to securing significant federal funding for Next Generation 9‑1‑1. With the start of a new Congress, legislation APCO had been championing will need to be reintroduced, and we’ll seek to build upon the momentum to get these bills passed into law. This blog describes APCO’s legislative priorities, APCO’s efforts, and next steps.

  • Talking Points for APCO’s Legislative Priorities

    APCO members often contact us to ask for talking points to prepare for meetings with their U.S. Senators and Representatives. Having accurate talking points to speak from – or leave with the congressional staffers you meet with – can ensure that you use your meeting time efficiently and are prepared to answer key questions about the issues. Following up on the blog describing APCO’s advocacy priorities for 2022, here are talking points for our top legislative issues: 1) securing federal funding for Next Generation 9-1-1; 2) correcting the federal classification of public safety telecommunicators; and 3) funding health and wellness programs for 9-1-1 professionals.  

  • APCO International’s Public Safety Communications Priorities for the New Year

    The following is a list of our advocacy priorities for the coming year. Despite much progress and several wins that APCO members should be proud of since we announced our 2021 legislative and regulatory priorities, there is still significant work to be done for public safety communications.

  • Forming the Public Safety Next Generation 9-1-1 Coalition

    Looking back at 2020, one of the bright spots for APCO was joining with other leading public safety associations to advocate for legislation that would establish a significant one-time federal grant program to achieve Next Generation 9‑1‑1 (NG9‑1‑1) nationwide. Following months of collaboration between various public safety associations and congressional staff, the Next Generation 9-1-1 […]

  • Federal Report Estimates Extent of Interoperability Challenges for 9-1-1

    This won’t come as news to anyone working in public safety communications, but 9-1-1 faces significant interoperability challenges.  While ECCs are generally able to transfer basic voice 9-1-1 calls to neighboring ECCs, they often cannot share other types of communications and data important for emergency response.

  • 2020 Legislative Priorities

    By Jeff Cohen We just started a new year, but there are only a few months left to achieve a number of public safety legislative objectives before Congress enters into election mode. Click on the topics listed below to read background info and talking points for raising these matters, especially if you have plans to […]

  • What Does Interoperable Mean in the Real World?

    This article focuses primarily on communication tools such as land mobile radio (LMR) and computer aided dispatch (CAD) in addition to illustrating the overall need for an interoperability-based approach to any communications technologies intended for use by public safety.

  • Achieving the True Promise of Next Generation 9-1-1

    9-1-1 is part of America’s critical infrastructure, but it profoundly lags behind in technology. Public safety communications professionals across the country deserve to have the best tools available to protect and save lives.  Next Generation 9-1-1 promises to deliver many benefits, including putting 9-1-1 on par with technology used in the commercial sector, which for […]


1.115.1-2018 Core Competencies, Operational Factors, and Training for Next Generation Technologies in Public Safety Communications

This standard provides PSAP managers, personnel, and technologists with a guide to begin preparation to accept and utilize this data. It outlines additional training that will be needed by telecommunicators who have traditionally made decisions based primarily on voice conversations, as well as the corresponding policies agencies must develop. With the opportunity to utilize streaming video, telecommunicators will potentially be able to visually determine the number and type of responders to dispatch to a scene, provide additional information regarding a fire scene and provide details often overlooked by voice communications, such as a gun on a shelf during a domestic violence incident.

Sample RFP for NG9-1-1 Capabilities

The RFP Template offers recommendations, guidance, and specific operational requirements that will be of interest to any state or local official involved in the procurement process, especially state-level 9-1-1 officials and directors and managers of emergency communications centers (ECCs).