25 Apr 911 Centers Will Be Linked by a Fiber Optic Network
In Pennsylvania, there are seven counties that have 911 centers that will all be linked together via a fiber optic network. It was unveiled on Monday by officials that represent Southern Alleghenies 911 cooperative. “This is truly a great day in public safety communications,” said Joel Landis, director of the Somerset County Department of Emergency Services. “The fiber project being unveiled today will not only strengthen our emergency service information systems but (also) launch us into the future. This project, without a doubt, will enhance our current capabilities, provide cost savings and solidify the way the counties can collaborate to best provide emergency services.”
The project started because since the decline of landline telephones have occurred the use of cellphones have grown, and calls have been getting misdirected to the wrong 911 centers. Infrastructure for a 31-mile-long fiber optic cable will need to be built as part of the project. This cable will be the main centerpiece with other segments of fiber optic cable reaching up to 10 miles long.
“Wireless calls don’t follow the traditional county boundaries, so on a daily basis (911 dispatchers) get misdirected calls,” McConahy said. The planned fiber optic network will allow dispatchers to transfer those calls to the appropriate 911 centers almost seamlessly. The project leaders are hoping to get 29 counties to be connected in the future and to allow the setup of a digital 911 system. This new system will be called Next Generation 911. Next Generation 911 “will enhance emergency number services to create a faster, more resilient system that allows voice, photos, videos, and text messages to flow seamlessly from the public to the 911 network,” according to 911.gov.
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