The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has directed CenturyLink to take steps to ensure the state’s 911 service is dependable. The unanimous vote followed a Department of Commerce and a Department of Public Safety investigation into the August 2018 911 outage across the state that led to 693 failed calls. The PUC’s order directed CenturyLink to:
Next Generation 911. To the average person, that phrase may not mean much. But for Minnesota’s first responders—like fire, police and EMS—that information superhighway is drastically improving the way they go about their lifesaving work. Minnesota started implementing portions of its Next Generation 911 (NG911) system in 2011. In the years since, we’ve added a digital network for all 911 dispatch centers as well as Text-to-911. And we’re not done! The next tool will allow for enhanced location accuracy for 911 calls coming from wireless lines. This capability will improve response times and help save more lives. This case study (page 11) explains how Minnesota’s NG911 system operates on its own and in tandem with a new dedicated wireless broadband network for public safety called FirstNet.
The Statewide Emergency Communications Board provides leadership to set the vision, priorities and technical roadmap for interoperable communications and alert and warnings across the state.
At a mere 15 months old, Text-to-911 has already been used copiously by deaf and hearing people alike.And in early March, at the Minnesota state capitol rotunda, it was recognized by the deaf, deafblind and hard-of hearing community as helping to contribute to communication equity – that is, the concept that everyone, regardless of ability, should be able to gain access to the information and services they need.It’s called the Access Award, and you can learn more about it – and how Text-to-911 earned it – in our latest DPS blog.