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Current State of 911 System Interoperablity - Report

FCC CSRIC VII Working Group 4 Analysis Published

March 17, 2020 Washington, D.C.

1.1 Executive Summary

The Commission specifically directed the Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) VII to report on the security risks and best practices for mitigation in 9-1-1 systems (legacy, transitional, and next generation), measuring the risk magnitude and remediation costs within those networks. In order to accomplish those objectives, assessing the current state of 9-1-1 systems interoperability was also included in the objectives to serve as a baseline for further tasks. This initial report researched, reviewed, and analyzed existing data to determine the current state of 9-1-1 systems interoperability based upon authoritative, readily available public sources.

This report provides the observations discerned through review of independent research based upon publications from various industry groups, including:

· A National Plan for Migrating to IP-Enabled 9-1-1 Systems released in 2009 by the National E9-1-1 Implementation Coordination Office (now known as the National 911 Program)

· The Phase II Supplemental Report: NG9-1-1 Readiness Scorecard, released December 2, 2016 by FCC Task Force on Optimal Public Safety Answering Point Architecture (TFOPA)

· The National 911 Progress Report, released November 2019 by the National 911 Program

· The 2020 NASNA Interoperability Matrix, released January 2020 by the National Association of State 9-1-1 Administrators (NASNA)

· Additional data from several large Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs)[1]provided by the Association of Public Safety Communication Officials (APCO).

The review of the current state of interoperability entailed the analysis of legacy, transitional, and Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) systems. CSRIC VII, Working Group 4 looked to the six (6) TFOPA defined “maturity states” when providing observations and findings throughout this report. The progress towards NG9-1-1 documented in the report especially includes raw and analyzed data from the National 911 Progress Report, which is populated with 53 data elements essential to obtaining full interoperability. Reported at the state level, these data points help to categorize a state’s 9-1-1 operations, protocols, and progress toward a full NG9-1-1 implementation. The data and accompanying analysis can be found in Section 5.1.5 of this report.

Although the foundation for NG9-1-1 systems has been talked about within the industry for over a decade, very few of the nation’s public safety agencies have been able to move the concept forward. This hasn’t been for lack of initiative. Throughout our research, it was observed that several key missing elements are limiting full “National End State” NG9-1-1 deployment.

Full NG9-1-1 “National End State” can be achieved through the use of a Forest Guide which allows functional elements to discover call routing information outside of those defined within a jurisdiction’s Emergency Call Routing Function (ECRF) geographical dataset. No national level Forest Guide or other mechanism currently exists to facilitate or ensure nationwide End State NG9-1-1 though efforts are being explored to address the issue. As an example NENA has plans to facilitate the deployment of a Forest Guide in 2020. Based on the recently published National 911 Progress Report (and supplemented by the 2020 NASNA Interoperability Matrix and individual PSAP data provided by APCO based on that same matrix), there are 11 states that have 100% of their population served by NG9-1-1 capable services and 11 with some transitional services available. Many states are in the Foundational Stage where NG9-1-1 feasibility studies are being performed, and Geographic Information System (GIS) data preparations are under way. Overall, the percentage of interoperability-relevant quantitative metrics taken from our analysis of the data in the National 911 Progress report reveals that, on average, 33% of 9-1-1 authorities, covered population, and geographies across the country are in some way, preparing for (or covered by), or fully prepared to serve the public (or cover the public) with, NG9-1-1 capable or compliant systems. When National 911 Program State self-reported Maturity Levels relevant to interoperability are taken into consideration, however, those percentages drop to between 5 to 10%. Overall, using this data as a baseline for analysis reveals that at the present time, NG9-1-1 interoperability is still largely in the early stages.

The report documents our observation that each stage in the maturity matrix has some limitation with regard to the ability to gain full interoperability within a defined category, whether it is related to the reliability of connectivity within their Service Provider, Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) systems interoperability, or GIS mapping limitations.

  1. [1]See the NENA Master Glossary of 9-1-1 Terminology for details on acronyms & terms used in this Report.

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