September 23, 2016–The Task Force on Optimal Public Safety Answering Point Architecture (TFOPA) today received reports from its three working groups on the progress of their activities as the panel nears the end of its two-year charter. The task force plans to consider the final work products of the working groups at its last meeting under its current charter Nov. 18. Opening this afternoon’s meeting, David Simpson, chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, said recent events, including flooding in Louisiana, bombings in New York City and New Jersey, and police shootings in Tulsa, Okla., and Charlotte, highlight the importance of advanced emergency communications. He also reiterated the risks that PSAPs face from potential cyber threats in the transition to next-generation 911 (NG-911).
Working group 1 is preparing recommendations for the FCC and a new TFOPA on “real world” implementation of the Emergency Communications Cybersecurity Center framework, which was proposed in a report approved by the task force in January (TRDaily, Jan. 29), noted Jay English, chair of the working group and outgoing director-comm center and 911 services for the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International. The working group is looking at issues such as operational costs, credentialing and access management, and workforce training, he said. It has invited several vendors to prepare presentations. Two have been received and three others are planned.
Working group 2 is focused on implementation of a NG-911 architecture. As part of that work, it is further refining and defining the parts of the ecosystem that will be necessary in an NG-911 world and implementation of a checklist, or scorecard, to help PSAPs move to NG-911, noted David Holl, chair of the working group and director-public safety for the Lower Allen, Pa., Township.
NG-911 education of key stakeholders will be crucial, task force members and Mr. Simpson agreed today. He suggested that parties prepare brief informational materials and a video to explain NG-911 to decision-makers. A key is for PSAPs to be able to learn lessons from other PSAPs that have already completed the transition, according to task force members.
Working group 3 is focused on identifying the allocation of resources, which can be a thorny issue.
“A plan without funding is really a hallucination,” said Mr. Simpson, drawing laughter.
The presentation of Jim Goerke, chair of the working group and chief executive officer of the Texas 9-1-1 Alliance, stressed the importance of developing “a funding sustainment model that can be used by state and 9-1-1 authorities to calculate their financial needs to support a transitional NG9-1-1 implementation.” – Paul Kirby, email@example.com