Verizon Emergency Communications Solutions today announced a strategic business agreement with emergency-call vendor Intrado to deploy advanced capabilities that will be available to public-safety answering points (PSAPs) throughout the nation, with the first deployment being an upgrade of the Denco Area 911 District in North Texas.

Under the contract with the Denco Area 911 District, Verizon and Intrado will leverage Verizon’s global IP connectivity and professional services with Intrado’s advanced 911 technologies to deliver calls and data services to PSAPs. The Denco contract — linking 12 PSAPs —is valued at $9 million over six years.

“I think this announcement is a pretty seminal moment in the advancement of next-generation 911—I know it is for Intrado, and I think it is for the country,” said Joe Hernandez, Intrado’s senior vice president. “It’s already starting to proliferate across the country, and I think this announcement with Verizon is really going to move next-generation [911] forward nationwide.”

Alla Reznik, Verizon’s director of product management for contact center and emergency communications services, said the all-IP 911 network architecture that is being leveraged for Denco will be available throughout the country, probably during the third quarter of this year.

“The largest step forward, from Verizon’s perspective, is that we’re stepping well outside our Verizon ILEC footprint, where we traditionally provided 911 services,” Reznik said. “This is truly a nationwide service, anywhere where our IP backbone stretches.”

Reznik said the Verizon/Intrado solution provides the IP networking capabilities that 911 centers need to eventually integrate voice, data, text and video on their emergency-calling networks. The Denco district PSAPs will be able to transfer call-related data between each other and will experiment with the reception of non-emergency texting capability, but Reznik said that operational and technical specifications regarding non-voice media need to be finalized before they are integrated fully into 911 centers.

“The sky’s the limit,” she said. “On the other hand, there’s lot of work that needs to be done before we get there.”

Hernandez said Verizon is the first major carrier to announce NG-911 capability, but Intrado is working with others.

“There are certainly more to come,” Hernandez said.

For 911 call centers, a migration to a next-generation architecture should result in an unprecedented number of emergency-call service providers vying for their business, Reznik said.

“The competition will bring with it more choices and better service to public-safety answering points and to us, as citizens,” she said. “I think it’s a drastic departure from how 911 services have been provided before to public-safety answering points.”

For more information on next-generation networks, attend these sessions at IWCE in Las Vegas, March 7-11, 2011.