North Dakota has begun the transition of its 911 system to Next-Generation 911 (NG911). The switch from analog to Next Generation 911 (NG911) will enable text, images and video in addition to audio.

The new system relies on Internet protocol (IP) communications, notes SRT Communications, a North Dakota telecom cooperative that was one of the partners in the project. A key element of this will be equipment and software to support IP communications. SRT says that the new system will be faster and less vulnerable to disruptions.

The North Dakota Association of Counties (NDACo) chose Lumen to provide IP service to the state’s public safety answering points (PSAPs), which is the formal name for the 911 call centers. Another partner, the Dakota Carrier Network (DCN) links 13 independent telecommunications companies to Lumen.

Individual calls are routed through the 911 system and delivered to the appropriate PSAP. SRT Communications helped develop the local network design and served as the telecom provider in the pilot. The three stakeholders — NDACo, DCN, and SRT – delivered end-to-end IP 911 calls from SRT subscribers to seven PSAPs.

“SRT is proud to be part of the first deployment alongside DCN and NDACo,” SRT Chief Technology Officer Shawn Grosz said in a press release. “We are committed to public safety and have been integral to delivering critical emergency services to the most remote corners of our service area. The NG911 system leverages the latest technology to ensure 911 is available and reliable.

The FCC wants to work through issues related to the analog-to-digital transition of the 911 system. Earlier this month, it adopted a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on rules for such a transition and requested input on what the costs for compliance would be. Moving to IP would be required in a call center that has upgraded to NG911 capabilities.

The rules, the FCC said, would apply to “wireline, interconnected voice over internet protocol (VoIP) and internet-based telecommunications relay service (TRS) providers.”  The FCC has proposed similar rules for wireless service providers.

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