A change is coming to 9-1-1.
The many types of communication technologies used by people today have outpaced the capabilities of the current 9-1-1 infrastructure. The current system, while working well today, is approaching the end of its useful life. Designed over 40 years ago to support copper-wire, home-based, analog telephones, the current system employs a number of workarounds, backroom re-engineering and other “band-aid” solutions to effectively deliver landline, wireless, and internet-based phone calls.
The Panhandle Regional 9-1-1 Network, along with neighboring 9-1-1 programs and the Commission on State Emergency Communications (CSEC), are working to address the biggest challenge facing 9-1-1 – keeping up with the way people communicate.
Termed Next Generation 9-1-1 or NG9-1-1, work is well underway to prepare 9-1-1 systems, software and people to change from the analog, copper-wire environment to the Internet Protocol (IP) digital environment. While workarounds to the current systems have sufficed, text messaging, instant messaging and video messaging are examples of communications that necessitate the transition to IP systems.
The Regional 9-1-1 Network is currently implementing the first steps of NG9-1-1 functionality by installing IP-enabled call-taking equipment and deploying a high speed broadband network between all 23 regional call centers and host locations.