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The act authorized a series of spectrum auctions, and the proceeds funded several initiatives from the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to a program for next-generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1).
The bill permanently establishes the joint 9-1-1 Implementation Coordination Office run by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It also authorizes a $115 million matching grant program to update 9-1-1.
“It is time to get this program up and running,” Rosenworcel said during a speech at an Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International event. “It is the best near-term resource we have to get going on NG 9-1-1. Plus, we are overdue.”
The law charges the coordination office with putting in place criteria for grants 120 days after enactment. “By my count, that criteria is now more than 1,400 days behind schedule,” she said. “So let’s get moving. While these funds are small, I think they can make a big impact if we use them wisely.”
Rosenworcel said the industry should use the funds as NG 9-1-1 models to demonstrate proof of concept in both urban and rural areas. She said the industry should build a blueprint for NG 9-1-1 nationwide through a common definition of NG 9-1-1, optimization and demonstration of how public-safety answering points (PSAPs) can embrace economies of scale and local control through statewide and regional emergency services IP networks (ESInets), and sustainability.
“This grant program funds should demonstrate jurisdictions have mechanisms in place to cover future costs, including training,” she said.
The FCC commissioner also said the legislation for NG 9-1-1 could be the best option for long-term nationwide deployment. “I believe the legislative long game deserves attention,” she said. “It can clearly help us overcome some of the obstacles …”
Rosenworcel’s full speech is here.
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