U.S. House Introduces Reconciliation Bill That Includes NG 9-1-1 Funding
Tuesday, September 14, 2021 | Comments
The U.S. House introduced a budget reconciliation bill that includes next-generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) funding.

The bill, which was introduced into the house last week, would appropriate $10 billion for the 2022 fiscal year for grants to eligible entities for implementing NG 9-1-1 and operating and maintaining NG 9-1-1, as well as related costs such as training. The funds would remain available until September 30, 2026, if the bill becomes law.

Entities interested in receiving the grants must meet several eligibility requirements. First among these is that the entity cannot divert any 9-1-1 fees to uses other than 9-1-1. 9-1-1 fee diversion is another issue that Congress and the FCC have been working to address, alongside NG 9-1-1 funding.

Second, any funds received under the program must support NG 9-1-1 deployment “in a manner that ensures reliability, interoperability and requires the use of commonly accepted standards.” Additionally, no more than three years after receiving the grant funds, the entity must create a sustainable funding mechanism for NG 9-1-1 and cybersecurity resources.

Other requirements include that the state or tribal organization designate a single point of contact to coordinate NG 9-1-1 implementation for that organization and those organizations submit a plan for the coordination and implementation of NG 9-1-1. Those plans must meet a variety of requirements including that the implementation ensures interoperability, reliability and the use of commonly accepted standards; enables emergency communications centers to process, analyze and store multimedia, data and other information; incorporates cybersecurity tools; includes strategies for coordinating cybersecurity information with federal, state tribal and other local government organizations, among other requirements.

The bill also seeks to address the cybersecurity aspect of NG 9-1-1 by creating a NG 9-1-1 Cybersecurity Center. The bill would appropriate $80 million in the 2022 fiscal year to create the center.

The center would coordinate with different levels of government organizations on sharing information about cybersecurity threats to NG 9-1-1 and strategies for detecting and preventing such attacks.

The bill would also appropriate an additional $20 million to create a 16-member NG 9-1-1 advisory board, which would provide recommendations to the assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information on NG 9-1-1, including on the grant program created by the bill.

The funding for both the cybersecurity center and the board would be available until September 30, 2026.

The bill underwent a markup by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on September 13. Earlier this year, the U.S. senate approved a $1 trillion infrastructure package that did not include funding for NG 9-1-1, leading to disappointment in the public-safety community. According to media reports, the house is expected to vote on the reconciliation bill around the same time it considers the infrastructure bill.

“America’s 9-1-1 system is long overdue for an upgrade,” said National Emergency Number Association (NENA) President Jennifer White. “This legislation would accelerate progress toward providing every American family and community with the best possible 9-1-1 service. The 9-1-1 industry has spent nearly a decade setting standards, developing technologies and honing operations in preparation of the transition to NG 9-1-1. This federal commitment brings us significantly closer to the finish line and ultimate vision for NG 9-1-1: a seamless, nationwide broadband-native experience for all 9-1-1 callers. It’s time to upgrade America’s 9-1-1 system. We call on every member of Congress to express their support for these NG9-1-1 provisions and get them enacted. Together, we can deliver high-performing 9-1-1 service to everyone in America, no matter where they live, work, or travel.”

Find the full text of the NG 9-1-1 sections of the reconciliation bill here.

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Comments
On 9/16/21, Pamela L Kemper said:
Addressing only NG911 and ignoring the dispatch side of the equation is a half solution. Anyone who understands public safety communications and 911 knows that taking a 911 call is useless if you do not have the radio system interoperability to dispatch help to the caller. You can have dispatch without 911 but you cannot have 911 without dispatch. This bill should have addressed that fact and allow the funds to be used to purchase new P25 Standardized dispatch systems. See the big picture and address it as a whole.


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