APCO prepared the “Sample RFP Template for NG9-1-1 Capabilities” to assist 9-1-1 directors and authorities with their procurement activities, whether for a statewide or local effort. This document is a first of its kind from APCO and is intended to address several concerns APCO has identified with the state of progress toward Next Generation 9‑1‑1.

The RFP Template is comprehensive in nature to cover all aspects of a complete NG9-1-1 deployment, regardless of the stage any state or locality is in concerning the transition to NG9-1-1. 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).

What Problems Exist

APCO prepared the “Sample RFP Template for NG9-1-1 Capabilities” to assist 9-1-1 directors and authorities with their procurement activities, whether for a statewide or local effort. This document is a first of its kind from APCO and is intended to address several concerns APCO has identified with the state of progress toward Next Generation 9‑1‑1.

The RFP Template is comprehensive in nature to cover all aspects of a complete NG9-1-1 deployment, regardless of the stage any state or locality is in concerning the transition to NG9-1-1. 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).

How APCO’s RFP Template Solves These Problems

Many RFPs are prepared from outdated, boilerplate language. This has hindered opportunities for increased competition and innovation. Specifically:

  • ECCs are not getting the “next gen” capabilities they expect because:
    • There is confusion about what “NG9-1-1” even means.
      • “NG9-1-1” is not defined consistently and often not in a comprehensive way.
    • ECCs are generally relying on cookie-cutter RFP templates developed by industry rather than telling solution providers what’s needed.
    • Interoperability is either left to be worked out after the fact or not addressed at all. ESInets from different vendors might not be able to transfer calls, and call handling CPE might not be able to receive calls from a different vendor’s ESInet.
  • Cybersecurity, which is especially important for IP-based networks, is not being given enough attention in current RFP templates.
  • States or localities act in silos to procure products and services from a limited pool of vendors.
    • The 9-1-1 community represents a small customer base with relatively low bargaining power. Accordingly, vendors do not have the same incentives to innovate, compete, or provide interoperable, non-proprietary solutions to the degree enjoyed by consumers in the greater commercial marketplace.
    • New companies with fresh thinking who incorporate modern communications technologies are gaining some ground but still must compete with the traditional way of doing business that often does not serve the best interests of ECCs.
  • Most RFPs are limited to “ESInets” or “next gen core services,” while others include only data offerings (i.e., CAD, RMS, mobile data, etc.). A comprehensive approach is more likely to result in interoperability and cost-efficiencies. Yet even if NG9-1-1 is pursued in stages, RFPs need to make clear the expected end-state solution to avoid overly complicated and costly future integrations.

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APCO’s RFP Template is available for anyone to download.

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