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Next-Gen 911 Dispatch Tech Provider Comtech Raises $100M

The fresh capital will help Comtech Telecommunications continue building its networks and upgrading emergency dispatch services. The investment coincides with the rising popularity of cloud-based dispatch tools.

Ambulance van on highway.
Comtech Telecommunications has secured a $100 million investment, capital that will help the New York-based company build out better emergency dispatch services as part of the nationwide Next-Generation 911 push.

The money comes from current shareholder White Hat Capital Partners, along with alternative investment manager Magnetar Capital, according to a news release.

“We provide 911 call handling in almost every state,” said Michael Porcelain, Comtech’s president and chief operating officer, in an email to Government Technology.

The news release says that during fiscal year 2021, the company won several large, multi-year Next-Gen 911 contracts with a lifetime value of more than $200 million in such states as Arizona, Iowa and Pennsylvania. The company said it anticipates more such work as a result of federal funding targeted at upgrading emergency dispatch systems. The company also serves clients in Australia and Canada.

According to Porcelain, Comtech will spend at least $30 million over the next 12 months on cloud-based computer networks designed to support Next-Gen 911 contracts, along with new equipment in two technology centers. Comtech is also developing and marketing a new cloud-based tool that sends real-time photos and data to first responders and security agencies, he said.

“This solution can offer live feeds from cameras at or near incident locations, access caller information like past residences, criminal history and next of kin at the tap of a button,” Porcelain said. The idea is to offer “a bird’s-eye view of integrated data.”

The recent investment reflects not only the ongoing, long-term upgrade of the country’s emergency dispatch centers but the growing business opportunity for government technology vendors involved in cloud-based tools — one of the larger trends in the industry, driving both investment and merger and acquisition activity.

“Many agencies are turning to us for a full outsourced, cloud-based solution,” Porcelain said. “Ultimately, what would really be helpful to modernize the system is more federal and state funding. As we have seen during COVID, the 911 system is vital and must be upgraded.”
Thad Rueter writes about the business of government technology. He covered local and state governments for newspapers in the Chicago area and Florida, as well as e-commerce, digital payments and related topics for various publications. He lives in Wisconsin.