Migration to IP-based next-generation 911 (NG911) technology is happening in a growing number of states and territories, but about half of the country has not tangibly begun the transition from legacy 911 systems, according to the latest report from the National 911 Program office.

Released last month, the National 911 Program received input from 42 of a possible 57 U.S. states and territories, which is a significant improvement to the organization’s first report in 2011, when less than half of the potential jurisdictions responded to the voluntary survey. Of the jurisdictions responding, 19 have state plans to transition to NG911, and 18 of them have issued a request for proposal (RFP) seeking to deploy NG911, according to the report.

“There’s steady progress,” National 911 Program Coordinator Laurie Flaherty said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “It’s probably not as fast as anyone would like it to be, but I think these data will be helpful to a number of entities—including the new [NG911 NOW] coalition—who are really interested in trying to make things move a little bit faster.”

Although 34% of the responding states and territories have deployed the core network infrastructure that will enable them to make the transition to NG911, 50% have not, Flaherty said.

Other notable findings in the report include the fact that PSAPs in the 42 responding states received more than 170 million emergency calls during 2014—data that was collected in 2015. Of that total, 76% of all 911 calls come from cellular devices, while only 21% are made from landline phones.

“It certainly validates what other people have said,” Flaherty said. “It wasn’t a big surprise … but that’s an impressive number.”

One new wrinkle in the report is the inclusion of text-to-911 communications to 911 centers. This report notes that PSAPs received only 1,121 text-to-911 communications in 2014, but Flaherty said she expects that figure to increase significantly in future reports.

“It will be interesting to see the trends over time, because anecdotally, I know of a dozen more states that are planning to add that service in the next 12 months,” she said.

Of the 15 states and territories that did not respond to the voluntary survey, some cited the fact that they lack the authority to collect the data from local entities, others said they lacked the resources to collect the information, and some experienced untimely turnovers in personnel that prevented them from participating, Flaherty said.

Many of the states that did not respond do not have a strong state authority, if one exists at all, Flaherty said. This could be crucial in the future, because having strong state authorities could be a key to the success of NG911 deployment nationwide, she said.

“There are number of government and private reports that point to the states as a natural point of at least coordination,” Flaherty said. “Nobody wants the feds to come in and say, ‘Hi, we’re here to help.’ But, if we’re trying to accomplish this nationwide, end-to-end, seamless system, relying on the locals to pull that off doesn’t make a lot of sense, either. So, the state keeps coming up as the logical point for at least coordination.”