Coalition Calls on Congress to Increase Funding for NG 9-1-1 in Reconciliation Bill
Monday, November 22, 2021 | Comments

A coalition aimed at helping advance the transition to next-generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) sent a letter to several Congressional leaders asking them to increase the funding targeted at NG 9-1-1 in a reconciliation bill.

The original version of the Build Back Better Act included around $15 billion to help the NG 9-1-1 migration. However, a new version, which was recently passed by the House of Representatives, reduced that funding to $500 million.

“While the version of the Build Back Better Act that passed the House of Representatives today includes helpful language regarding NG 9-1-1, the funding level is woefully inadequate to achieve meaningful nationwide implementation,” the letter from the Public Safety Next Generation 9-1-1 Coalition said. “Congress has otherwise provided significant broadband funding for nearly everything but emergency communications – the most critical of critical infrastructure. This will only widen the gap between the technology that is available to the public at their homes, businesses, schools, and libraries, and today’s antiquated 9-1-1 system.”

In its letter, the coalition noted that its request for $15 billion has bipartisan support as that number comes from a federal study Congress mandated.

“Absent adequate federal funding, public safety agencies will be left with overly costly, incomplete and non-interoperable solutions vulnerable to cyberattacks,” the letter said. “This is an unacceptable outcome that will jeopardize the safety of the public and homeland security and result in have and have-not communities particularly in rural and economically disadvantaged areas.”

The coalition said that it appreciated efforts from Rep. Frank Pallone and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which he chairs, in including the NG 9-1-1 funding in the House bill. The language passed in the house can help put the nation on the path to “a more secure, resilient, interoperable and reliable way” of handling 9-1-1 calls as well as create a public-safety advisory board.

“But, the funding level included in the House-passed bill impedes a nationwide approach and we are gravely concerned that the promise of the legislative language will go unfulfilled,” the letter said. “We remain deeply appreciative of those who have worked with us thus far and look to your leadership to achieve adequate funding for this most important public safety service.”

The Build Back Better Act has now moved on to the Senate for its approval.

The coalition is made up of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International, International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA), Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO) and the National Sheriffs’ Association.

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