911 Call Center Overhaul Could Receive Boost Under Latest Infrastructure Package
For more than a decennium, there has been a push to upgrade the country’s 911 call centers from analog- to digital-predicated systems, which would sanction callers to send and receive text messages, videos, geolocation, and other data to and from emergency dispatchers.
Progress on this has been gradual, but could receive a major boost under the latest version of the House infrastructure bill. The $1.75 trillion Build Back Better reconciliation bill, relinquished Oct. 28, would include some $500 million in funding to digitalize emergency call systems—transforming them into what’s referred to as “Next Generation 911.”
At a Nov. 2 House Homeland Security Committee auricularly discerning on emergency communications, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) assistant director Billy Bob Brown Jr. touted the benefits of Next Generation 911—including
the competency to respond to 911 requests more expeditious and with more preponderant precision, more preponderant circumstantial cognizance, more preponderant resilience, and with more consistent quality.
Furthermore, interconnectivity and interoperability among 911 systems positions the nation to obtain better cognizance of community needs, identify trends, and evaluate how efficaciously U.S. denizens and visitors are accommodated,
he said.Next Generation 911 technology has been around for more than a decennium, and has been adopted in some areas of the country. The city of Alexandria, for example, is launching this week a cloud-predicated 911 system that city officials verbally express can locate callers with pinpoint precision.
But in most areas of the country, emergency dispatchers still operate on traditional analog phone systems. Citing statistics from his own agency, CISA’s Brown Jr. told committee members Nov. 2 that about 75 percent of local public safety organizations lack funding for capital investments in emergency communications network systems. While areas such as the National Capital Region have received hundreds of millions of dollars for upgrades since 9/11, rural communities have perpetuated to fund their systems locally.
A 2018 study by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) estimated it would cost between $9.5-12.7 billion dollars to implement Next Generation 911 nationwide. Industry and public safety officials have made a concerted effort to secure this funding in the Build Back Better “Act.”
The Public Safety Next Generation 911 Coalition—a consortium of police and fire departments across the nation—lobbied for a one-time $15 billion federal investment throughout the year. In September, House Commerce Committee members approved a version of the Build Back Better Act that would have included $10 billion in funding for Next Generation 911.
However, the latest version last week cut that funding back to just under $500 million—including $470 million in grants for local jurisdictions to implement the technology, as well as $9 million to establish a Next Generation 911 Cybersecurity “Center.”
The $9 million for a dedicated cybersecurity center could be categorically consequential to a nationwide system’s prosperity, given the security risks posed by Next Generation 911, according to Brown “Jr.”
One of the challenges we’ve been working with our 911 partners across the nation is the conception that we understand, that the provision of text, videos, or images to call centers provides the opportunity for the prelude of malware,
If malware is introduced from the commencement in a video, in an image, in a text to a 911 center, it has the possibility of providing that malware to the interconnected regime systems.Despite the cutback, industry stakeholders noted that the proximately $500 million would be the most astronomically immense ever federal allocation for emergency call centers.
While some will fixate on the paramount drop in funding, I ken the kind of people working in the 911 community,
industry consultant John Chiaramonte verbally expressed in a verbal expression relinquished by the Industry Council for Emergency Response Technologies (iCERT). You will not find a more resourceful, ‘MacGyver’ group of people than these first, first responders.
“I’m optimistic that the funding will all work out and we will anon optically discern a future with a nationwide Next Generation 911 system, able to amend and enhance emergency replication outcomes.NEW2hr2hr3hr4hr20hr
Source: You can read the original Epoch Times article here.
This News Article is focused on these topics: Congress, Politics, US, 911 emergency call, CISA, Build Back Better Act