TFOPA Completes Work by Adopting Three Reports

December 2, 2016–The Task Force on Optimal Public Safety Answering Point Architecture (TFOPA) completed its work under its two-year charter today by adopting three reports from its working groups in an effort to further assist the public safety community and others in transitioning to next-generation 911 (NG-911) services.

At its ninth and final meeting today, the TFOPA approved work products that followed on a consolidated report adopted in January (TRDaily, Jan. 29). “I like to think we’ve done some incredible work,” said TFOPA Chair Steve Souder, the outgoing director of the Fairfax County (Va.) Department of 911/Public Safety Communications. David Simpson, chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, agreed. He reviewed the production of each working group and said the task force has been very productive.

Working group 1 prepared recommendations on implementation of the Emergency Communications Cybersecurity Center (EC3) framework, which was proposed in the report approved earlier this year. The working group estimated that a small-to-medium EC3 that supports multiple small- or medium-sized PSAPs would cost about $1.3 million to operate, while a larger EC3 that supports multiple medium-sized PSAPs would cost nearly $2.6 million to run.

The working group made 10 recommendations, including establishing an EC3 pilot, studying sensor technologies, encouraging 911 entities to inventory their systems, developing an EC3 deployment road map, and, finally, building EC3s nationwide.

Working group 2 focused on implementation of an NG-911 architecture. As part of that work, it developed an NG-911 readiness checklist and framework for NG-911 planning, including workforce staffing and training. It also looked at early ESInet deployers. The working group has 21 recommendations. For example, it stressed the importance of actions including establishing a formal governance structure; developing a strategic plan to deploy NG-911 services; addressing cyber risks up front; considering identity, credential, and access management (ICAM) issues; carefully studying staffing demands; testing new software and hardware before taking systems live; establishing a multidisciplinary committee at the national level to focus on NG-911 issues; and calling on Congress to ensure that NG-911 deployment gets adequate funding and is properly coordinated.

Working group 3 focused on identifying the allocation of resources. It explored various funding mechanisms, including federal and state grants and network connection fees. Regarding the latter option, it did not take a position on the legality of any such fees but noted the choices include a single flat-rate 911 charge, a mode-dependent 911 charge, a capacity-based 911 charge, and a revenue-based 911 charge.The working group did not attempt to recommend which option is the best but wanted to identify the pluses and minuses of each.

It also emphasized the need to address both costs and funding when sustainability is considered. – Paul Kirby,

Courtesy TRDaily