PORTLAND, Maine (July 31, 2014) – FairPoint Communications has completed the installation of a Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) system in Maine. Maine now has a statewide NG9-1-1 system with a modern Internet Protocol (IP)-based network capable of meeting current and future public safety needs.
The completion of the installation makes Maine one of the first states in the nation to deploy a NG9-1-1 system based on the National Emergency Number Association standards published in June 2011 known as i3. The emergency services IP network (ESInet) will serve more than 1.3 million people in the state.
FairPoint is providing the system and support to serve all of Maine’s 26 Public Safety Answering Points – known as PSAPs – which have responsibility to answer all 9-1-1 calls in their local coverage area. Every Maine community is matched with a local PSAP. The Public Utility Commission’s Emergency Services Communication Bureau manages the operation of the statewide NG9-1-1 service.
FairPoint’s next-generation, state-of-the-art system is designed to handle emergency communications in Maine. NG9-1-1 networks differ from existing systems in that they are designed to keep pace with the way people communicate today. This includes the foundation for delivering voice, text, video and enhanced data to the PSAP. The network will improve call setup time and increase the speed at which voice and data arrive at the PSAP, thereby improving service. It can also improve emergency response by giving public safety personnel better information about situations prior to arriving on the scene.
“The new Maine 9-1-1 system is using leading edge technology to provide the platform for next-generation communication technologies such as voice, video, pictures and text messaging,” said Karen Romano, FairPoint’s vice president – government, education and research. “FairPoint provides a robust, redundant and secure statewide emergency system that solidifies the state’s leadership role in providing NG9-1-1.”
Since April 2008, FairPoint has invested more than $700 million in its communications infrastructure and technology to reach new customers, upgrade its network and expand broadband in northern New England, including building thousands of miles of new, high capacity fiber optic cable across the region. This network is designed and built as a data network and is the largest of its kind in the three-state region.
“This project to upgrade the state’s emergency system was a huge undertaking,” said Mike Reed, FairPoint Maine state president. “FairPoint’s investment has paved the way to serve the growing needs of the Maine 9-1-1 system. FairPoint brings a state-of-the-art technical solution, a robust and resilient network, and the skill, commitment and capabilities of our people who maintain our network.”
More than 400 PSAP personnel received extensive training on the new software and equipment. The training was provided at the Vassalboro training center – housed within the Maine Criminal Justice Academy – where a fully functional PSAP was created to simulate the functionality of a live PSAP. Additionally, more than 50 FairPoint employees underwent approximately 1,500 hours of classroom and on-site training on the new equipment.
Each PSAP throughout the state, including the training center, received new intelligent workstations (IWS) that equip telecommunicators with state-of-the-art IP desktops for responding to 9-1-1 calls. Workstations include mapping to display the location of emergency calls on a monitor.
The NG9-1-1 system also provides Emergency Call Routing Function (ECRF) and Location Validation Function (LVF). ECRF receives information about the location of a 9-1-1 caller and routes the call to the right PSAP. The LVF validates the actual location of the caller through a Geographic Information System (GIS). The systems are designed to more accurately determine the location in order to dispatch the fastest response.