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FCC Chairman Announces Next-Gen 911 Action Plan at APCO

August 15, 2011  | 

At the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International conference in Philadelphia, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced what he said were three top priorities toward implementing next-generation 911 (NG 911).

Addressing the nation's leading public safety communications officials, the chairman said the commission's top three priorities include location accuracy, establishment of a governance framework, and funding.

"We need to develop a governance framework for NG 911," Genachowski said. "We want to make sure 911 fees states collect are not being diverted elsewhere."

Telecommunications providers collect a 911 emergency service fee from local customers to provide "enhanced 911" services. These proceeds are then given to local and state governments to finance the building and operating of enhanced 911 services.

The build-out of public safety broadband networks has added another complication, and FCC officials want to ensure an effective emergency response in this environment.

"Technological change is transforming society and your profession, creating major opportunities and serious challenges," Genachowski told APCO attendees. "The world of information and communications technology is completely different from when I was an EMT, and from 9/11. It's completely different even from just a few years ago."

The NG 911 initiative would update service infrastructure to allow the public to transmit text, images, video and data to a 911 center from a mobile device.

This year's APCO conference also brought FCC officials into presentations and conferences covering topics such as narrowbanding, broadband public land mobile number identifiers (PLMN ID), the environmental impact of radio towers, and regulatory issues.

By Paul Clinton

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