In 2001, the State of Indiana, like other states across the country, operated with an enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) network that was functional, but expensive to operate, and unable to support future applications being developed. Wireless carriers typically connected callers to E9-1-1 through the local exchange carrier (LEC) wireline service and selective routers, which meant that the calls must use analog CAMA trunks. The system employed a series of mobile switches. Each wireless carrier had a mobile switch in the communities it served that linked its calls to PSAPs through an array of selective routers.
By 2005, Indiana’s E9-1-1 service was operating with 162 PSAPs, three local exchange carriers providing 9-1-1 service, 10 wireless carriers, 17 selective routers and a multitude of PSAP network and hardware configurations. This many-to-many system presented a number of issues, including:
- Multiple potential points of failure
- Difficulty in isolating issues and assigning responsibility for their correction
- The expense involved in the need for wireless carriers to connect to all 17 selective routers
- The use of slow, analog CAMA technology for transmitting the calls
An Increase in Wireless 9-1-1 Calls
At the same time, more residents were adding or switching to wireless phones, increasing the demand for managing wireless emergency calls. Members of the Indiana Wireless Enhanced 911 Board sought a way to simplify and significantly upgrade its E9-1-1 network and, through an RFP process, selected FE/Kimball to develop a network specification RFP solely for handling wireless calls into PSAPs across the state. The new system, using an IP backbone, would provide direct connections between the wireless carriers and PSAPs without the extra step of going through LEC wirelines. It also would provide the capability, for the first time, of completing calls in digital form. Such a system would improve call-delivery time dramatically and reduce the time required for dispatchers to rebid calls to pinpoint locations.