Bipartisan Legislation Reintroduced to Fund Next Generation 911 Systems

The number 911 with a smart phone in the background.Next Generation 9-1-1 Act of 2023 legislation, introduced at the end of March by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), seeks to modernize aging 911 systems across the nation to Next-Generation 911 technology .

If enacted, this bill would authorize and establish a $15 billion Next Generation 911 Implementation grant program through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to transition the nation’s 911 call centers away from analog-based technology and provide for the installation and maintenance of upgraded, digital-first Next Generation 911 systems.

The proposed NTIA grant program would offer funding directly to state and tribal governments as eligible entities, and these entities would need to certify that the following conditions are met:

  • Eligible entities must coordinate their applications with the emergency communications centers located within the jurisdiction of the entity
  • Eligible entities must designate a single officer or governmental body to serve as state point of contact to coordinate Next Generation 911 implementation for the state
  • Eligible entities must develop and submit a plan for Next Generation 911 that ensures several local coordination requirements, including:
    • The incorporation of strategies for coordinating cybersecurity information sharing between federal, state and local governments
    • Details on how input was received and accounted for from relevant rural and urban emergency communications centers as well as regional, local and Tribal authorities
    • The establishment of a governance body for the development of Next Generation 911 that provides full notice and opportunity for relevant stakeholder participation

To accept these funds, states must also attest that, as of 180 days prior to its application submission, no portion of any 911 fee or charge has or will be obligated or expended for purposes other than the support and implementation of 911 services.

Generally, most 911 systems continue to operate on analog technologies dating back to the 1980s, which cannot communicate through text messages or retrieve pictures, videos or other information sent by smartphones or tablets. By providing funds for the modernization of this technology to a digital or Internet Protocol (IP) based 911 system, local emergency communications centers will be able to work with state counterparts to enhance its services and meet the needs of the 21st century.

The bill was introduced most recently in the 117th Congress as part of the LIFT America Act, and Congress has introduced similar versions of this legislation in every Congress since 2019.

To access additional NACo information on Next Generation 911, click here