RD260 - Commonwealth of Virginia E-911 Services Board FY 2014 Annual Report
The Code of Virginia (§ 56-484.14) requires the E-911 Services Board (the Board) to report annually to the Governor, the Senate Committee on Finance, the House Committee on Appropriations, and the Virginia State Crime Commission on the following:
(i) the state of enhanced 9-1-1 services in the Commonwealth,
(ii) the impact of, or need for, legislation affecting enhanced 9-1-1 services in the Commonwealth,
(iii) the need for changes in the E-911 funding mechanism provided to the Board, as appropriate, and
(iv) monitor developments in enhanced 9-1-1 service and multi-line telephone systems and the impact of such technologies upon the implementation of Article 8 (§ 56-484.19 et seq.) of Chapter 15 of Title 56.
• (i) The state of enhanced 9-1-1 services in the Commonwealth
All localities within the Commonwealth currently provide wireline E-911 service.
The deployment of wireless enhanced 9-1-1 (E-911) Phase I service, where the caller’s telephone number and the address of the cell site are provided to the public safety answering point (PSAP), is complete. The deployment of wireless E-911 Phase II, which provides the PSAP with the caller’s actual location by longitude and latitude, is also complete.
The focus has shifted to the future of E-911, which is Internet-Protocol (IP) - based communications, known as Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) (*1). In 2009, the E-911 Services Board provided funding for four NG9-1-1 demonstration projects in the Tidewater, Southside, Southwest and the New River Valley regions of the Commonwealth. Recently, the board undertook a comprehensive feasibility study that will provide recommendations for the design of a single statewide IP-based 9-1-1 network in the Commonwealth.
The board has also established a Text to 9-1-1 Subcommittee to evaluate texting to 9-1-1 as a statewide initiative and to provide recommendations on how to support this initiative in a white paper. Support for the NG9-1-1 feasibility study and the Text to 9-1-1 white paper is being provided by the PSC Division.
• (ii) The impact of, or need for, legislation affecting enhanced wireless emergency telecommunications services in the Commonwealth
The E-911 Services Board is anticipating legislative changes for the 2015 General Assembly session. These legislative changes will be finalized by the board’s policy subcommittee and will be based on recommendations included in the NG9-1-1 feasibility study and the Text to 9-1-1 white paper.
An important component within the NG9-1-1 feasibility study is the identification of key policy, governance, and political considerations related to the implementation of a statewide IP network. As a result, the study will provide policy and governance recommendations, as well as a review of the existing enabling legislation to identify opportunities for positive change to the legislation. The end result will be a multi-year legislative agenda, with the initial focus on governance for the 2015 session.
The board’s Text to 9-1-1 subcommittee will provide recommendations on texting to 9-1-1 as a statewide initiative. It is anticipated that the subcommittee’s recommendations will not require legislative changes, but until the subcommittee completes its report, the need for legislative change will not be known.
• (iii) The need for changes in the E-911 funding mechanism provided to the Board, as appropriate
At the end of FY 2014, the Wireless E-911 Fund remains fiscally sound. However, moving forward, an existing appropriation and transfer from the wireless fund to other agencies and programs will challenge the board’s ability to meet financial obligations to both the wireless carriers and the PSAPs and maintain the viability of the fund. The current biennial budget includes a $3.7 million appropriation to the Virginia State Police (VSP) for wireless 9-1-1 call taking. However, all localities in the Commonwealth are currently accepting wireless calls and no longer rely on the VSP to transfer wireless 9-1-1 calls to them. Thus, the justification for the VSP to receive Wireless E-911 funding no longer exists.
Also included in the current biennium budget is an $8 million transfer from the wireless fund to the Compensation Board’s budget to support sheriff’s dispatchers. This action may impact the Commonwealth’s ability to receive federal E-911 grant funding in the future. However, the impact of the $8 million transfer has already been felt by the PSAP community in the amount of funding available to them for the replacement of outdated equipment and to expand services to the citizens of the Commonwealth. The $8 million transfer to the Compensation Board means that there is $8 million less funding available for future PSAP Grant Program grants to fund critical PSAP projects, as well as to plan for NG9-1-1.
• (iv) Monitor developments in enhanced 9-1-1 service and multi-line telephone systems
This is a duty of the board that was enacted on July 1, 2007. Most of the provisions of Article 8 (§ 56-484.19 et seq.) of Chapter 15 of Title 56 took effect on July 1, 2009 and information requested on these provisions is provided to interested parties.
PSC staff has begun working on the next edition of the Statewide Comprehensive Plan for 9-1-1. This plan will focus on NG9-1-1 and texting to 9-1-1, but it will also present an opportunity to evaluate additional developments currently impacting 9-1-1 call taking, including multi-line telephone systems.
(*1) NG9-1-1 is an IP-based system comprised of managed IP-based networks (ESInets), functional elements (applications), and databases that replicate traditional E9-1-1 features and functions and provide additional capabilities. NG9-1-1 is designed to provide access to emergency services from all connected communications sources, and provide multimedia data capabilities for PSAPs and other emergency service organizations.