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GCN : December 2013
Alabama has begun routing wireless 911 calls over a statewide IP network in the first phase of its Next Generation Emergency Network (ANGEN). When completed, ANGEN will be one of the first statewide IP 911 routing systems in the nation, cutting costs and im- proving reliability for tradition- al emergency voice calls, and laying the groundwork for the use of advanced text, video and data services. The first public safety answering point (PSAP) was put on the network Sept. 30, and by early November sev- en PSAPs were up and running, receiving wireless calls from T-Mobile, the first carrier con- nected to the network. Other national and regional wireless carriers are expected to join the network in the near term, but full operational ca- pability for ANGEN with both mobile and traditional wireline calls at all 115 answering points in the state is probably three years off, said Jason Jackson, executive director of the state's 911 board. That will be several years beyond the initial---and ambi- tious---18-month timeline for the project. But Alabama still will be in select company with one of the first, if not the only, statewide system in the coun- try, said Kevin Breault, vice president of emergency services products for Bandwidth, the project's 911 services provider. "It's a long process to over- haul and rebuild an existing 911 infrastructure," Breault said. "The technology is the easy part." Funding and coordinat- ing the shift to new protocols among hundreds of PSAPs and the national, regional and local wired and wireless service pro- viders is the real challenge. When it is completed, the legacy system of seven selective 911 voice routers from Century- Link and AT&T will be collapsed into a single consolidated net- work, the Alabama Research and Education Network oper- ated by the Alabama Super- computer Authority. It will be served by redundant routers at supercomputer centers in Huntsville and Montgomery to provide resiliency. When a 911 call is made from a participating carrier it will be The state's Next Generation system, one of the first in the nation, opens the door for advanced text, video and data Alabama puts IP network in play for 911 calls BY WILLIAM JACKSON CASE STUDY EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS THE 411 ON ALABAMA'S 911 115 public safety answering points 7 PSAPS on ANGEN as of early November $1.9 million total cost of the NextGen project 1968 the year the nation's first 911 call was placed, in Haleyville, Ala. 26 GCN DECEMBER 2013 • GCN.COM