A GAO report has found that while half of states are transitioning towards the Next Generation 911 program, more could be done to help remaining states address the challenges involved in implementing the program.
The nation’s legacy 911 program relies on aging infrastructure and does not accommodate modern communication technologies. The Next Generation 911 program, which all states should be working toward adopting, will offer improved capabilities such as the ability to process images, audio files, and video. Federal agencies including NHTSA, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Federal Communications Commission, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are all involved in supporting the implementation of Next Generation 911 through coordinating activities and administering grants.
Some of the challenges that states identified in limiting their adoption of the program include funding, evolving technology and operations, and governance.
The study found that while federal agencies are taking steps toward supporting states in adopting NG911, the program lacks specific performance goals and measures to assess its progress.
The national 911 program also plans to establish an interagency initiative tasked with creating a national NG911 road map. GAO found that the plan for this road map does not set out roles and responsibilities for federal entities, and does not clarify how the road maps’ objectives will be achieved.
GAO recommends that the specific goals and performance measures, roles and responsibilities of federal agencies and a full implementation plan should all be established.