On September 19th, 2023, the Charlottesville-UVA-Albemarle Emergency Communications Center successfully completed a major upgrade to their telephone infrastructure, with the implementation of the ESInet Next Generation 9-1-1 system. Project grants received from the Virginia E-911 Wireless Fund were instrumental in this launch, which marks a fundamental shift and advancement from the previous analog network, which had been in operation for decades across Virginia’s 9-1-1 systems.
ESInet, a dedicated and state-of-the-art emergency services internet protocol (IP) network, significantly boosts our the capabilities and reliability of our 9-1-1 services. The system more accurately directs calls to the most appropriate 9-1-1 center based on the caller’s location, enabling faster transfer and processing of 9-1-1 calls and associated data. It also allows for seamless interconnection with other public safety systems.
The benefits of the ESInet system include:
- Enhanced location-based services: Utilizing geospatial routing, the system can quickly identify a caller’s location and route it to the appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), thereby improving response times.
- Capacity to handle unexpected call volumes: The system adheres to the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) i3 standards, enabling interoperability amongst agencies. This feature equips us to effectively manage call overflow and disaster recovery scenarios.
- High level of security: Security-centric engineering helps to safeguard voice and data privacy and helps to protect against cyber-attacks.
- Augmented backup capabilities: Through policy-based routing, the ESInet system allows PSAPs to establish rules for routing 9-1-1 calls and texts to alternate agencies, set up special event routing, and prepare for disaster scenarios.
- Data sharing enablement: Calls that are transferred between PSAPs can now include location information and other critical data. This feature empowers our telecommunicators to act faster, with vital information already at hand when the call comes in.
This successful implementation underscores our unwavering commitment to continuous improvement as we work 24/7/365 in service to our community. This upgrade also aligns with the Commonwealth of Virginia’s wider initiative to modernize 9-1-1 PSAPs across the state, in adherence to the Code of Virginia. Sonny Saxton, Executive Director for the ECC, commemorated the milestone and stated, “We just took a leap forward in 9-1-1 technology and our ability to serve our communities now and in the future.”