Associations Urge Congressional Leadership to Fund NG 9-1-1 in Current Budget
Wednesday, March 21, 2018 | Comments

Four public-safety associations urged the leaders of the House and Senate to include a line item in the current omnibus funding package for a significant federal grant program to modernize the nation’s 9-1-1 systems.

The letter said 9-1-1 — where the safety and security of the nation begins — is in urgent need of modernization to next-generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1).

“Without significant federal funding, we are concerned that 9-1-1 networks across the country, including in rural and urban areas, will not be upgraded quickly and efficiently,” the letter said.

The letter came from the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International, Industry Council for Emergency Response Technologies (iCERT), National Association of State 911 Administrators (NASNA) and National Emergency Number Association (NENA). The letter was sent to Majority Leader Sen. Mitchell McConnell Jr. and Minority Leader Sen. Charles E. Schumer, along with Speaker of the House Rep. Paul D. Ryan Jr. and Minority Leader Rep. Nancy P. D. Pelosi.

The letter used congressional funding for the implementation of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) as an example of what is needed to update the emergency communications sector of our nation’s critical infrastructure to NG 9-1-1. “Until 9-1-1 networks are upgraded nationwide, the public will not be able to send photos and videos to 9-1-1 centers, and FirstNet will not achieve its full promise,” the association said. “It is time for Congress to act again, to ensure America’s public-safety professionals have the tools they need.”

The groups said federal support will drive innovation and economies of scale via a competitive marketplace and ensure that all 9-1-1 centers in rural and urban areas upgrade quickly and uniformly throughout the country. A federal grant program would also complement other key goals and initiatives, such as broadband access to rural areas, smart communities, connected vehicles and intelligent transportation systems, the letter said.

“In sum, federal resources are critical to the ongoing and future success of 9-1-1 as the nation’s resource for emergency assistance to enable systems across the country to make the necessary transition to NG 9-1-1,” the associations said.

Find the full letter here.

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