Airbus DS Communications hopes to have 60% of its public-safety answering point (PSAP) customers offering text-to-911 services during the next three years as part of a larger company initiative that is designed to help call centers migrate to next-generation 911 (NG911) technology, according to CEO Bob Freinberg.

Helping PSAPs, regions and states make the transition to NG911 is a priority within Airbus DS Communications, which is taking multiple steps to address some of the challenges associated with the next-gen migration, Freinberg said. Although there is general agreement about what a completed NG911 system will look like, the approach to reach this goal can vary significantly, based on the individual situation for a particular PSAP, he said.

“We … have been working with many of our clients across the regions where we have a large presence to work with them on developing their success plans,” Freinberg said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “How are they going to move through the next five years? They have a certain pot of money—the funding is both capital and recurring operating expense. How do you move from today’s world to tomorrow’s world—outlined in the TFOPA architecture and phasing transition states—from where they are today to a pure i3? That’s an evolution.

“We help develop their plans jointly. We work with them to have dialogue about what is the most focused, streamlined and effective manner by which they can move.”

One new action for the company is applying to be a competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC), particularly in geographic areas where Airbus DS Communication already has a customer base and incumbent carriers—Verizon being the most notable—have plans to exit the 911 call-routing business, Freinberg said. So far, Airbus DS Communication has been granted CLEC status in nine of 11 states, and has not been denied in any state, he said.

“That means that we can now, using VESTA routers, route calls from the originating service providers to the public-safety answering points,” Freinberg said. “That transition, in and of itself, is not so straightforward and simple; it requires the customers—our existing or potential clients—to really examine what they’re paying for and to whom.

“Some of these expenses have not changed—in terms of methodology, price structure or price level—for decades, because they are based on technologies that were put in place 10, 20 or 30 years ago and were based on rate-making policies. Today, when anyone in the industry brings in replacement technologies, it requires them to look at this brand new. What would be a setup fee to go in? How do I get this up and operating and in what phase? How much will that cost, and will it be assessed per record or per population?”

Airbus DS Communications likely will expand its CLEC status beyond these initial 11 states, but it will not seek to become a nationwide provider of these services, according to Freinberg.