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FCC Chairman Unveils 5 Step Plan for Next-Gen 911

Next-generation 911 would allow people to submit voice, text, data, photos and video over an IP-based network to emergency call centers.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski unveiled a five-point plan to move the nation onto next-generation 911 (NG911) during the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International Conference in Philadelphia on Wednesday, Aug. 10.

Next-gen 911 would allow people to submit voice, text, data, photos and video over an IP-based network to public safety answering points, the communications centers that dispatch emergency calls.

“It's hard to imagine that airlines can send text messages if your flight is delayed, but you can't send a text message to 911 in an emergency,” Genachowski said.

The five-point plan, as follows, was posted Wednesday to the FCC website:

1. Develop location accuracy mechanisms for NG911: The FCC's Location Accuracy proceeding (July 2011 agenda item) has launched development of a framework for providing automatic location information in the next-gen 911 environment.

2. Enable consumers to send text, photos and videos to public safety answering points: Next month, the FCC will consider a notice of proposed rulemaking to accelerate NG911 adoption. The notice will help answer practical, technical questions about how to enable text, photo and video transmission to 911, including how to ensure adequate broadband infrastructure to deliver the bandwidth public safety answering points will need to provide next-gen 911. As part of the notice, the FCC will examine interim solutions for ensuring that carriers/service providers support transmission of text-to-911.

3. Facilitate the completion and implementation of NG911 technical standards: For next-gen 911 to be effective, we need technical standards for the hardware and software that carriers and public safety answering points use to communicate NG911 information. The FCC will work with stakeholders to resolve standards issues and facilitate consistent and coordinated implementation of a standards-based architecture.

4. Develop a NG911 governance framework: Because no single governing entity has jurisdiction over next-gen 911, the FCC will work with state 911 authorities, federal agencies and governing entities to provide technical expertise and develop a coordinated approach to next-gen 911 governance.

5. Develop a NG911 funding model: To assist 911 authorities and Congress in considering
next-gen 911 funding options, the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau will prepare a cost model focused on the cost-effectiveness of the next-gen 911 network infrastructure linking public safety answering points and carriers.