911 Service To Include Video, Photo, SMS Support
The upgrade in services, the announcement detailed, is required to ensure services are kept up with the "broadband environment" and promises increased public access, enchanced information for responders and increased reliability with networks.
“It’s hard to imagine that airlines can send text messages if your flight is delayed, but you can’t send a text message to 911 in an emergency,” he [FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski] said in his announcement. “The unfortunate truth is that the capability of our emergency response communications has not kept pace with commercial innovation — has not kept pace with what ordinary people now do every day with communications devices.”
The NG911 will work using Internet Protocol-based communication as oppose to the "legacy circuit-switched 911 system," meaning more information will be able to be transferred in faster rates allowing for multiple methods of communications (e.g. video, photos, etc.).
Of course all of this new technology will require the building and testing of infrastructure and the FCC plans to phase this out in increments. The commission plans to create a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in September by which it will address practical considerations like how to ensure there will be adequate broadband to support the service.
From the FCC:
FCC Five-Step Action Plan to Deploy Next Generation 9-1-1
1. Develop location accuracy mechanisms for NG-911: The FCC’s Location Accuracy proceeding (July 2011 agenda item) has launched development of a framework for providing automatic location information in the NG911 environment.
2. Enable consumers to send text, photos, and videos to PSAPs (NPRM): Next month, the FCC will consider an NPRM to accelerate NG911 adoption. The NPRM will help answer practical, technical questions about how to enable text, photo, and video transmission to 911, including how to ensure adequate broadband infrastructure to deliver the bandwidth PSAPs will need to provide NG911. As part of the NPRM, the FCC will examine interim solutions for ensuring that carriers/service providers support transmission of text-to-911.
3. Facilitate the completion and implementation of NG911 technical standards: For NG911 to be effective, we need technical standards for the hardware and software that carriers and public safety answering points (PSAPs) use to communicate NG911 information. The FCC will work with NG911 stakeholders to resolve NG911 standards issues and facilitate consistent and coordinated implementation of a standards-based architecture.
4. Develop a NG911 governance framework: Because no single governing entity has jurisdiction over NG911, the FCC will work with state 911 authorities, other Federal agencies, and other governing entities to provide technical expertise and develop a coordinated approach to NG911 governance.
5. Develop an NG911 Funding Model: To assist 911 authorities and Congress in considering NG911 funding options, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau will prepare a cost model focused on the cost-effectiveness of the NG911 network infrastructure linking PSAPs and carriers.
Considering the sizable funding required for such a project, however, the NG911 project probably will not be ready for nation-wide usage for five to ten years CBS News reports.