FCC’s O’Rielly Addresses NG 9-1-1 Funding, PSAP Consolidation
Thursday, April 13, 2017 | Comments

In opening remarks at an NG911 Institute event, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly addressed next-generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) funding, along with 9-1-1 fee division.

O’Rielly reiterated his three suggestions to deter 9-1-1 fee division but said the larger and more difficult matter is the transition and adoption of NG 9-1-1 systems.

“The biggest problem, and the one most pressing, is locating and securing the funding to migrate thousands of public-safety answering points (PSAPs) in a seamless and cost-efficient manner,” he said.

A 2011 FCC white paper put the total nationwide PSAP costs for NG 9-1-1 between $1.44 billion and $2.68 billion. The state of Oregon at the same time calculated that state’s 10-year costs at about $82 million, which would put the 50 states’ plus the U.S. territories’ expenses at more than $4 billion.

O’Rielly said a reduction in the number of PSAP facilities without increasing the risk to public safety is the best answer.

“In a perfect world, we should be able to reduce the number of PSAPs by a third or perhaps by half, and the savings in terms of labor, space, equipment and services would help pay for the upgrades to those facilities that remain,” he said. “And this can likely be done without increasing call wait times, dispatch inaccuracies or location misidentifications. Such talk, however, has been considered heresy in the PSAP community for reasons I can’t explain beyond simple, raw politics.”

O’Rielly said the real impact of not conducting PSAP consolidation is that the NG 9-1-1 transition will take infinitely longer and have a cost factor of many multiples.

The full address is here.

Last month industry officials discussed the transition to NG 9-1-1 during a House hearing. Walt Magnussen, director, Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center (ITEC), Texas A&M University, highlighted the economies of scale that NG 9-1-1 technology will bring and the benefits of hosting NG 9-1-1 through a private cloud where officials can manage the security, reliability and resource sharing.

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