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CenturyLink Looks to Build Bridges Between Legacy 911, Cloud

The Louisiana telecommunications giant says its new subscription service works as a bridge between old technologies and cloud functionality for governments that can’t yet afford a full-scale overhaul.

by / July 19, 2019

Widespread migration of digital services to the cloud is underway, but for some governments it’s still cost-prohibitive. For those, CenturyLink, a major telecommunications company in Monroe, La., has announced a new subscription service to move on-premises 911 call management to the cloud without replacing their existing call-handling platforms.

As described in the company’s news release, Managed Emergency Call Handling supports major call-handling platforms, allowing public safety agencies to update their systems with new features and upgrades without buying new equipment or replacing their core technologies. Managed Emergency Call Handling works as a standalone upgrade or being incorporated into a larger deployment of next-generation 911 technology.

“Our Managed Emergency Call Handling solution can help public safety agencies improve IT agility by migrating call management services to the cloud,” said CenturyLink’s Thuy Ha, vice president of voice and real-time communications, in a statement. “As more communities move to next-generation 911, they may need to maintain legacy environments while implementing new technologies. CenturyLink brings years of expertise to assist public safety organizations through the migration process.”

In CenturyLink’s Bright Ideas blog, Craig Librett explained that 911 and other public communications systems are in a state of flux, as citizens increasingly rely on smartphones and wireless technology. But while it’s conceivable there will eventually be a standardized call-handling platform with IP-based public safety answer points (PSAPs) nationwide, many jurisdictions still lack the bandwidth, reliability or flexibility for that kind of technology.

“States seeking to adopt (next-generation 911) must quickly navigate a range of new technology standards, and are further limited by adequate funding to upgrade technologies and protocols,” Librett wrote. “Most governments cannot afford to risk poor emergency services during upgrades to current systems. The key is maintaining legacy environments while pursuing incremental changes in the move towards next-generation 911. More often than not, most at the state and local level choose to adopt a hybrid approach as the ecosystem evolves.”

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