FCC Announces Next Generation 9-1-1

August 11, 2011

4:10 pm

Yesterday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced plans to transition to Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911) services. Working with the public safety community, carriers, manufacturers, and other service providers, the goal is to integrate voice, text, data, photos, and video into an end-to-end IP-based network, making it a lot easier for first responders to answer 9-1-1 calls.

With so many people ditching their landlines and relying on mobile and smart phones, this news is a really big sigh of relief.  Just yesterday, a friend told me about getting transferred from one dispatcher to another  (3 transfers in all) when he called 9-1-1 from his smart phone while at home.  That is pretty scary.

NG911 will be super beneficial to everyone for a few reasons:

  • Increased public access for people with disabilities, not to mention more calling options
  • Enhanced information for first responders via text, data, photos, and videos that will allow them to assess emergencies more quickly and respond more effectively.
  • Increased reliability, because IP-based architecture is more flexible and resilient than the circuit-switched 911 system that is currently in place

The first part of the plan will focus on developing location accuracy mechanisms for NG-911, which is currently underway.

If you want to learn more, check out their fact sheet, but – and I can’t believe I am saying this about the website of a Federal government agency – visit their website, because it is really well-designed.  It’s not only gorgeous, but also easy to navigate and very user-friendly.  You will be shocked, just as I was.

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Monika Jansen is a writer and editor who is happiest pounding out blog posts, newsletters, website content, and other materials. Follow her at: @monikacjansen

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