Eight of California’s 450 Emergency Call Centers (PSAPs) have migrated at least some emergency calls from legacy 911 technology to the Next Generation 911 (NG911) platform, and the number of 911 centers making a similar transition is expected to increase in 2023.
Paul Troxel, division chief of 911 program management for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), told members of the state’s 911 advisory board that there were some issues associated with older call processing equipment (CPE). limited the planned deployment of IP-based NG911 systems.
“So this year — 2022 — we have eight successful deployments and installations,” Troxel said during the Nov. 16 advisory committee meeting. “It was a work in progress.
Troxel said the NG911 deployment team — supported in large part by the testing and certification work being done by the state’s NG911 lab — developed a “commercial” solution to the legacy CPE problem. Troxel expressed confidence that the pace of NG911 rollout in California will accelerate next year as more PSAP centers have expressed interest in switching to the IP-based NG911 platform that supports voice, text, data and video communications.
“We have several agencies that are pushing to move to cloud CPE,” Troxel said. “We have several active deployments and then we have a lot of emergency call centers contacting the team and asking for their updated allocation letters and [asking] what is the process.
“In 2023, we expect deployment to be faster and take less time.”
At the heart of the legacy CPE solution is a box that emulates the Automatic Location Identification (ALI) feature used in the legacy 911 system, but the new approach provides NG911 location information – typically more accurate than location. data from the legacy system – to the legacy CPE.
“One of the problems we found is that the CPE can’t take the NG911 location and push it through the CPE into the CAD,” Troxel said.
“This ALI emulation box will bring next generation positioning and deliver it through the serial port all the way to the CAD system. This will allow the legacy CPE to view the location [and] display number information to give dispatchers the information they need. They can send it to CAD and continue the conversation.’
Troxel noted that a technician would need to visit the PSAP to install the ALI emulation box.
Budge Currier, chairman of the 911 Advisory Committee, said the ALI emulation solution has been tested and is in use.
“Imperial County and El Dorado County have them today and are working on the network as we speak today,” Currier said during the board meeting.
This ALI-emulated box is also in use in Tuolomne County, where the first PSAPs were migrated to NG911 technology, according to Troxel.
“In Tuolomne County, … they have T-Mobile, Verizon, Frontier landline and AT&T Mobility on the NG911 network,” he said. “I believe that’s about 90% of their workload that’s on NG911 and working today.
“The ALI emulation box has been installed there for some time and is working.”
Troxel highlighted the NG911 State Laboratory’s contributions to testing and validating the performance of equipment such as the CPE that is used with the NG911 system.
“When we bought our CPE, we bought with a requirement that met the NENA i3 standard,” Troxel said. “When this contract was signed in 2017, there was no NG911 laboratory to confirm this. Now we have the NG911 lab and it allows us to do some tests.
We are seeing limitations with older call processing equipment where it is not i3-compatible [requirement]. This created a big challenge for our team and our NG911 service providers, [forcing them] to look at how we handle 911 calls to legacy solutions.”