PA 16-150—HB 5407

Public Safety and Security Committee

Energy and Technology Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE DIVISION OF STATE-WIDE EMERGENCY TELECOMMUNICATIONS

SUMMARY: This act requires the Division of State-Wide Emergency Telecommunications (DSET) within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) to implement a “next generation 9-1-1 telecommunication system” (“Next Gen. 9-1-1”) as part of the statewide enhanced emergency 9-1-1 program. DSET must also coordinate and assist in statewide planning for the new system, which must have enhanced 9-1-1 (“E 9-1-1,” see BACKGROUND) service capabilities and allow users to reach public safety answering points (PSAP) by transmitting text messages, images, or videos. (PSAPs are 24-hour facilities that receive 9-1-1 calls and dispatch emergency response services (e. g. , fire and police) or transfer the calls to other public safety agencies. ) 

The act requires (1) municipalities to submit proposals for new PSAPs, and PSAPs to submit proposals for changes to an existing PSAP, to DSET for approval prior to implementation and (2) each PSAP to begin annually certifying to DSET, by January 1, 2017, that the information in the 9-1-1 service utilization plan is accurate. It requires the DESPP commissioner to adopt regulations concerning the content of the plan.

Under the act, telephone companies and certain voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) service providers must provide specified features to implement the Next Gen. 9-1-1 system.

The act allows DSET to amend the technical and operational standards for private safety answering points that use the E 9-1-1 network. By law, DSET adopts these standards after consulting with private companies, corporations, or institutions. The standards are subject to the E 9-1-1 Commission's review and approval.

The act extends to people who are not physically disabled, the option to connect a DSET-approved automatic alarm or other automatic alerting device to a telephone company's network. Under prior law, only people who were physically disabled were allowed to do so. The alarm or alerting device automatically dials 9-1-1 and provides a prerecorded message to directly access emergency services.

The act extends immunity for releasing certain subscriber information or equipment failure to more people in the service providers' companies.

Lastly, the act (1) replaces obsolete references to the Office of State-Wide Emergency Telecommunications with the Division of State-Wide Emergency Telecommunications and (2) makes other technical and conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016

NEXT GEN. 9-1-1 TELECOMMUNICATION SYSTEM

Under the act, a “next generation 9-1-1 telecommunication system” means a system comprised of managed Internet protocol networks that uses E 9-1-1 network features and enables users to reach a PSAP by making a 9-1-1 call.

The act also specifies that a “9-1-1 call” means a voice, text message, video, or image communication routed to a PSAP or private safety answering point when someone dials or otherwise accesses 9-1-1.

PSAP SERVICE UTILIZATION PLAN APPROVAL

The act requires any (1) municipality proposing to create a PSAP and (2) PSAP proposing a change in its operation, location, jurisdiction, or utilized public safety agencies to submit a proposed 9-1-1 utilization plan to DSET for review and approval prior to implementation. By law, DSET reviews proposed plans to determine if they meet statutory requirements and technical and operational standards.

The act also eliminates a requirement that a copy of the proposed plan be filed with each telephone company that provides service in the affected municipality.

TELEPHONE COMPANY AND VOIP PROVIDER REQUIREMENTS

Under prior law, as part of the E 9-1-1 service, telephone companies provided selective routing (i. e. , directed the call to the appropriate PSAP based on the call's location), automatic number identification, and automatic location identification as a tariffed service. The act requires them to provide these features for free.

Additionally, in order to implement the new system, the act requires every telephone company providing service in Connecticut to provide these E 9-1-1 system features and allows the company to provide the latitude and longitude of any telephone or device used to place a 9-1-1 call, in compliance with a DSET-approved time schedule.

The act allows a telephone company or VOIP provider to forward to any PSAP or other answering point equipped for E 9-1-1 service the latitude and longitude of any telephone or device used to place a 9-1-1 call. By law, they must already forward the telephone number and street address.

IMMUNITY

By law, telephone companies and VOIP service providers must forward certain information about the location from which a 9-1-1 call is made to a safety answering point.  

Prior law immunized only the telephone companies and telecommunications, wireless telecommunications, prepaid wireless telecommunications, and VOIP service providers and their agents from liability for (1) releasing E 9-1-1 subscriber information in accordance with the law or (2) the failure of any equipment or procedure in connection with E 9-1-1 or an emergency notification system.   The act specifically extends this immunity to the officers, directors, employees, or vendors of any such company or provider.

BACKGROUND

E 9-1-1

DSET administers the state's E 9-1-1 program (CGS 28-29a). By law, E 9-1-1 is a service consisting of telephone network features and PSAPs provided for users of the public telephone system, enabling such users to reach a PSAP by dialing the digits "9-1-1. " Such service directs 9-1-1 calls to appropriate PSAPs by selective routing based on the geographical location from which the call originated and provides the capability for automatic number identification and automatic location identification features. The E 9-1-1 system is funded by fees assessed against subscribers of local telephone and commercial mobile radio services.

OLR Tracking: DC; MK; VR: tjo