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The state of Wisconsin has been awarded $2.9 million to help local public safety answering points (PSAPs) such as 911 call centers purchase needed equipment to upgrade to Next Generation 911 (NextGen 9-1-1).

The Office of Emergency Communications (OEC), part of the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs, applied for the grant earlier this year. As part of moving to NextGen 9-1-1, Wisconsin is developing a Request for Proposal to build a statewide Emergency Services IP network (ESInet). The ESInet system is a statewide network which will interconnect PSAPs to implement NextGen 9-1-1.

“This funding will help many 911 call centers make the change to a digital and IP network capability,” said Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general. “Once the entire process is complete and the system is in place, NextGen 9-1-1 will help save lives by allowing people and first responders to text, send pictures and videos, in addition to the audio they can currently receive. It will also help call centers that become overwhelmed during major emergencies and disasters by giving them the ability to transfer 911 calls, messages and data.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Department of Transportation announced the grants. Wisconsin is one of 34 states and two tribal nations to receive funding. OEC will issue grant guidance this fall.