The National Emergency Number Association (NENA)—a 911 trade organization—said its officials “are working closely with government and industry partners to understand the scope and causes” of the AT&T 911 outage.

“This significant and unfortunate outage highlights the immediate need to transition America’s 911 centers to robust and resilient ‘next-generation 911’ technology,” according to a NENA statement. “NG911 can intelligently route around outages, redirect calls to other regions or use backup facilities in ways that legacy E-911 systems cannot.”

Yesterday’s 911 outage occurred as AT&T has taken significant steps to increase its presence in the public-safety-communications arena. The carrier giant last year announced that it will deploy a nationwide Emergency Services IP networks (ESInet)—the foundational network platform that PSAPs need to migrate to next-generation 911 (NG911) technology—and plans to deploy such systems this year.

AT&T also is leading the only bidding team to be included in the “competitive range” for the high-profile FirstNet contract to build, maintain and upgrade a nationwide public-safety broadband network that is expected to provide greater levels of security and reliability—as well as first-responder prioritization—than traditional commercial systems.

The FirstNet contract is the subject of a court case that could be decided during the next week. Depending on the ruling, AT&T could be awarded the 25-year contact as early as this month, or the FirstNet procurement process could be delayed for as long as several months, according to multiple industry sources.