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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Public Safety Telecom: California Awarded $4.3 Million Federal Grant for E 9-1-1 Systems

StimulatingBroadband.com 10/08/09 San Francisco - Ms. Teri Taki, California's State Chief Information Officer, yesterday announced the award of a $4.3 million grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to enhance the state’s existing 9-1-1 network.

“I a
m pleased to announce that California is receiving this critical federal funding to help upgrade our 9-1-1 network infrastructure,” said CIO Takai. “With our vast terrain, considerable population and more than our fair share of natural disasters, California government must do everything possible to improve our emergency communications infrastructure to better serve the people. This grant will allow us to greatly advance our efforts to prepare for emergencies.”

All states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. territories were eligible to apply for a portion of the available $40 million in grants authorized by the ENHANCE 911 Act. The Act, passed by Congress in 2004, was lobbied for years by the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and the Congressional Enhanced 9-1-1 Caucus. Final rules implementing the Act were most recently updated jointly by NHTSA and NTIA in July of this year. Under the Act, the two agencies jointly administer programs to assist the states in upgrading Enhanced 9-1-1 public safety telecommunications.

Encompassing only Northern California initially, the project is expected to take about three years and will cost an estimated $8.6 million, with half the costs being paid for by the grant. The funds will go toward upgrading and enhancing network location and routing technology used to pinpoint 9-1-1 callers more quickly through the use of satellite-based global positioning system (GPS) coordinates. In the parlance of public safety telecommunications, this type of conversion to a system that gives the most accurate location of a 9-1-1 call from a mobile device is called Phase II wireless Enhanced 9-1-1 implementation.

Enhancements will be implemented throughout the rest of the state as results are proven in Northern California.

The Office of the CIO's Public Safety Communications Division is charged with establishing policy, setting standards, and administering funding to over 470 state and local government 9-1-1 public safety answering points (PSAPs) throughout California
.

According to NENA, as of September 1, 2009 there were a total of 6,183 operating PSAPs in the United States, with almost 94% of those emergency call centers served by at least some deployment of Level II E 9-1-1 services. StimulatingBroadband.com
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