If your city's 9-1-1 network overwhelmed, help is on the way

Wed, 2016-03-02 06:00 -- Doug Peeples

Working with communications technology company West Corporation, Council Lead Partner AT&T will roll out a nationwide service to speed up adoption of Next Generation 9-1-1 call routing. The service will help 911 agencies move to IP technology which will provide a number of capabilities today's 911 systems don't have.

The National Emergency Number Association (NENA) realized there was a need for Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) years ago as people began to depend more and more on wireless mobile technologies.

As AT&T sees it, when ESEnet™ service is rolled out during the second half of 2016 it will be extremely helpful to agencies moving toward NG9-1-1. "The complexity of NextGen 9-1-1 call routing has been a large barrier to adoption. AT&T's ESInet™ is a nationwide service that will simplify the transition to 9-1-1 IP call routing services," said Jim Bugel, VP for AT&T Public Safety Solutions.

What ESInet™ will do
The service will provide features cities and their 9-1-1 agencies will want to know about. Among them are:

  • More easily manage 9-1-1 calls
  • Automatically take care of call overflow between 9-1-1 centers and disaster recovery locations
  • Accept text messages, which voice-only networks can't accommodate

In the future, the service will be able to handle photos and video, which will be a big advantage for emergency responders such as police, fire and emergency medical services personnel who will be better prepared for the emergencies they encounter.

"The deployment of AT&T ESInet™ will be a critical step towards Next Generation 9-1-1 implementation," said NENA CEO Brian Fontes. "NENA congratulates AT&T on this service that will help move 9-1-1 into the 21st century and provide 9-1-1 centers with enhanced life-saving tools and capabilities."

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Doug Peeples is a Portland, Oregon-based writer specializing in technology and energy. Follow @smartccouncil on Twitter.