The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on Feb. 1 declared Colorado eligible for up to $2.4 million in funding that will enable the state to upgrade its 911 network.
With an additional $1 million in matching funds already approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC), Colorado’s local Public Safety 911 call centers will be able to fund an 18-month statewide transition to an IP-based core infrastructure, which is the first step toward implementing Next Generation 911 (NG911).
A fully deployed NG911 network will allow Colorado’s 911 call centers to accept not only voice calls but also data from 911 callers. The deployment is further expected to make the statewide 911 network more reliable.
PUC staff has been designated the statewide point of contact for administration of the grant. After consultation with local 911 agencies across the state, PUC staff intends to submit a plan to use the funding for the migration of local 911 call centers across the state to an Emergency Services IP-network (ESInet) as the first step of a full NG911 system implementation, and to alleviate some of the recurring costs of the transition, freeing up local funds to be used for replacing and upgrading equipment in the 911 call centers.
“This grant, along with the contribution from the Colorado PUC, will be a game changer for Next Generation 911 in Colorado,” said Carl Stephens, Executive Director of the Garfield County Emergency Communications Authority and chair of the PUC’s 911 Advisory Task Force. “It will provide a way for local 911 authorities to get onto a statewide ESInet that some could not afford to do otherwise. While there will still be much to do and finance, this is one mountainous obstacle out of our way.”