When public safety broadband networks, such as the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network being implemented under the auspices of the First Responder Network Authority, and Next Generation 911 (NG911) systems are implemented, responding to emergency events will be dramatically different than it is today for the public safety community. Today, the amount of information that telecommunicators and first responders have is severely limited. In the future, the data inputs that data inputs that stream into a public safety answering point (PSAP) are increasing significantly, driven by the fact that public safety broadband and next generation 911 systems are Internet Protocol (IP)-based.
Next Generation 911 (NG911) represents a significant leap forward for the emergency response sector primarily because it will deliver dramatically improved situational awareness to telecommunicators and field personnel. But the transition from legacy technology to NG911 is a difficult undertaking, especially when states try to go it alone. NG911 will require that state 911 authorities establish an effective leadership structure and then develop a comprehensive strategic plan to execute the migration.
Today, access to 911 for most is limited to a voice call; in contrast, Next Gen 911 will enable the ability to transmit photos, videos and other existing and future forms of broadband-enabled data, in addition to voice, to 911 professionals. A coordinated approach must be adopted in the transition to Next Gen 911 to avoid a patchwork deployment and limited interoperability with neighboring agencies.