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Congress Approves Next Generation 9-1-1 Funding

Date: 2012-02-16
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Today (fittingly, on the 44th anniversary of 9-1-1), Congress made a down-payment on the future of our nation’s 9‑1‑1 system when it provided $115,000,000 in grant funding to state and local 9-1-1 authorities. The move comes as part of a major legislative push to extend payroll tax cuts that were set to expire at the end of February.

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Alongside the grant provisions, Congress also directed the FCC to begin a proceeding aimed at curtailing automatically-dialed calls to 9‑1‑1 centers, and another aimed at determining the feasibility of including E9‑1‑1 location capabilities in multi-line telephone systems. The latter provision would help to ensure that factory workers, college students, and corporate employees can be easily found when they call 9‑1‑1 from campus landlines. Under the agreement, the FCC must also report to Congress on the need for legislative and regulatory changes to enable Next Generation 9‑1‑1 deployment nationwide. The legislation also reauthorizes the 9‑1‑1 Implementation Coordination Office, a joint program office administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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These provisions of the bipartisan bill will provide a much-needed boost to NG9‑1‑1 deployment. “State and local 9‑1‑1 agencies are facing tremendous pressures, both from ever-tightening budgets and from outdated legal frameworks,” said NENA Director of Government Affairs Trey Forgety. NG9‑1‑1 will allow Public Safety Answering Points to receive text messages, pictures, video, and data, in addition to the voice calls they handle today. “Congress clearly understands the nexus between the public safety wireless broadband and NG9‑1‑1 provisions in this Bill, and that is very encouraging,” Forgety said.

- People, Places & Things/9-1-1magazine.com (via NENA, 2/16/12)

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