The Virginia 9-1-1 Services Board has adopted a plan to deploy next generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1) in the commonwealth to upgrade the current 40-year-old 9-1-1 system.
“This plan is a significant step in moving the commonwealth to a system where emergency calls are routed to the appropriate 9-1-1 center faster and, if needed, the call and data routed anywhere necessary,” said Board Chairman Jeff Stern, who also serves as state coordinator of emergency management at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. “NG 9-1-1 will enhance communications in emergencies and help protect the safety and well-being of those who require assistance.”
“Because 9-1-1 is a local service,” Stern added, “it is up to each individual locality to determine how to implement and deploy NG 9-1-1. This plan is designed to aid localities and the commonwealth as a whole. We conducted meetings across the commonwealth recently to provide information to localities on the deployment plan.”
The plan was drafted by staff at the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA), which supports the board and collects a 75 cent surcharge on cell phones to help fund 9-1-1 services across the commonwealth. After public input and board review, it was adopted by the Virginia 9-1-1 Services Board.
“Our goal is to provide assistance and assure a seamless, unified network across Virginia,” said Nelson Moe, chief information officer of the commonwealth and agency head at VITA. “NG 9-1-1 is based on shared, modern internet protocol (IP) networks ensuring calls and information received in a locality can be quickly and efficiently transferred to any surrounding locality, even if it is in a different state. Current, circuit-switched networks are outdated technologies based on an analog network that is quickly going out of service and has been in use for more than 40 years. An update is necessary to meet the current and future emergency communications needs of the state.”
VITA’s Steve Marzolf, who directs the agency’s program that assists localities with emergency communications, said a contract has been awarded to AT&T to provide NG 9-1-1 services in Fairfax County. That contract can be used by all localities. Localities notify the 9-1-1 Services Board of their interest in the contract, reach a participation agreement with AT&T and move forward with deployment. Using the contract, which meets state procurement regulations, eliminates the need for localities to spend money and staff time on required procurement activities. Localities can also implement the upgrade through their own procurements or contract vehicles, and only need to notify the 9-1-1 Services Board of their decisions to do so.
The deployment plan has been posted online at https://www.vita.virginia.gov/media/vitavirginiagov/integrated-services/pdf/2018-psc-/NG911DepApp01112018.pdf.
About the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA)
VITA is the commonwealth's consolidated technology services and solutions provider responsible for the operation of the state's technology infrastructure, governance, security and oversight of major IT projects, and procurement of technology-related goods and services on behalf of state and local governments. www.vita.virginia.gov
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