Skip Navigation

Federal Communications Commission

English Display Options

Commission Document

FCC Adopts NG911 NPRM and Staff Presents NG911 Cost Study

Download Options

Released: September 22, 2011

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.


Washington, D. C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).




September 22, 2011

Lauren Kravetz (202) 418-7944



Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Also Presents Study on NG911 Connectivity Costs
Washington, DC The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sought comment today on ways to
modernize the current voice-based 911 system to a Next Generation 911 (NG911) system that will enable the
public to send texts, photos, videos, and other data to 911 call centers. As a result of the East Coast
earthquake on August 23, 2011, the Commission also sought comment on whether and how to prioritize calls
to 911 over other calls during emergencies, which are usually the moments when wireless networks
experience the most congestion and calls fail to go through.
The Commission recognized the need to ensure the availability of reliable voice-based 911 service, while
moving forward with a NG911 system that adds text and other information capabilities that will significantly
improve emergency response, saving lives and reducing property damage. Enabling text, photos, video and
data to 911 call centers allows consumers to communicate with 911 in the same way they communicate with
others on a daily basis. It also enhances public safety by giving consumers the ability to text 911 when a
voice call is difficult or dangerous. NG911 is also particularly beneficial to people with disabilities.
The text, photo, video, and data capabilities of NG911 will also provide 911 call centers and first responders
with enhanced information and improved technological tools that can be synthesized with existing databases.
This allows 911 call centers to dispatch the appropriate emergency response more quickly, a difference that
can save lives during emergencies.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking examines short-term and long-term options for enabling consumers to
send texts to 911, including the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches. The Commission is
also seeking comment on long-term development of multimedia NG911 technology that would support
delivery of photos, videos, and data to 911, in addition to texting. The Commission will consider the
appropriate role for the agency in facilitating and, if necessary, accelerating the rollout of these
capabilities, and encouraging the parallel development of NG911 capabilities in 911 call centers. The
Commission also noted that the transition to NG911 is not likely to occur uniformly across the country and
asked for comment on how best to educate the public about the availability, capabilities, and limitations of
NG911 as it is deployed.
At today's meeting, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau also presented a cost study on NG911
network connectivity costs, entitled, "A Basis for Public Funding Essential to Bringing a Nationwide Next
Generation 911 Network to America's Communications Users and First Responders."

Bureau staff analysis determined that NG911, because of its ability to leverage commercial off-the-shelf
technology, has the potential to be more cost-effective to operate and upgrade than the legacy 911 system.
The study offers two models for NG911 deployment: a baseline model and a cost-effective model that
assumes cost savings from a reduction in the total number of 911 call centers nationwide and a greater
percentage of call centers sharing NG911 infrastructure as opposed to operating their own dedicated systems.
Based on these assumptions, the baseline model concludes that the network connectivity and call routing
costs to transition to NG911 will be approximately $2.68 billion over 10 years. In the cost-effective model,
the transition costs are approximately $1.44 billion.
Action on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by the Commission, September 22, 2011, by Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking
(FCC 11-134). Chairman Genachowski and Commissioners Copps, McDowell, and
Clyburn. Separate Statements issued by Chairman Genachowski and Commissioners Copps, McDowell, and
PS Docket Nos. 10-255, 11-153.
For further information on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, contact David Furth at (202) 418-0632 or or Patrick Donovan at (202) 418-2413 or
For further information on the Cost Study, contact Jennifer Manner at (202) 418-3619 or
For more news and information about the FCC
please visit

Note: We are currently transitioning our documents into web compatible formats for easier reading. We have done our best to supply this content to you in a presentable form, but there may be some formatting issues while we improve the technology. The original version of the document is available as a PDF, Word Document, or as plain text.


You are leaving the FCC website

You are about to leave the FCC website and visit a third-party, non-governmental website that the FCC does not maintain or control. The FCC does not endorse any product or service, and is not responsible for, nor can it guarantee the validity or timeliness of the content on the page you are about to visit. Additionally, the privacy policies of this third-party page may differ from those of the FCC.