911 Coordination Board and CenturyLink amend Next Generation 911 contract

911 Coordination Board and CenturyLink amend Next Generation 911 contract

During its Aug. 22 meeting, the South Dakota 911 Coordination Board unanimously voted to amend a contract for the South Dakota Next Generation 911 Project.

This amendment is in regards to the Rapid City call center with its multiple workstations, dual electrical circuits, cabling and the need to replace or buy more uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units.


A 911 call center for police, firefighting and ambulance services is referred to as a public safety answering point (PSAP). These call centers run 24 hours a day, dispatching emergency services or passing 911 calls on to public or private safety agencies.

The 911 emergency system must be continually updated to keep up with modern technology. Because most 911 systems were originally built using analog rather than digital technologies, call centers across the country need to be upgraded to a digital or Internet-Protocol-based 911 system, which is commonly referred to as Next Generation 911 (NG911).

An Uninterruptible Power Source (UPS) — essentially a battery backup — is an electrical unit that produces emergency power when the building power fails. A UPS is different from auxiliary power or an emergency generator because it offers almost instantaneous protection from power interruptions. The battery run-time of most UPS units is relatively short — often only a few minutes — but gives enough time to start a standby power source or properly shut down a system’s protected programs and equipment.

The 911’s Internet connecting system, a physical point of presence (POP), is operated by the Internet provider themselves. An Internet connecting system that is not operated by the provider is a virtual point of presence (VPOP).

Contract amendment proposal

CenturyLink proposed using the software-defined networks’ existing virtual point of presence instead of building the new call center and its multiple workstations in Rapid City.

Software-defined networking is a system that helps service providers to respond quickly to changing business requirements.

This option would provide back-up repetition and also carrier diversity at no cost to South Dakota. But, the building of the Rapid City call center by CenturyLink would provide only back-up redundancy.

The estimated costs would include dual electrical circuits, upgrading cabling to all call centers and replacing/buying more UPS units for 26 PSAPs (26 back-room UPS and 99 workstation UPS), which would double the number of current UPS units. It was noted that four call centers have emergency battery power in their buildings and therefore do not need individual UPS.

CenturyLink will only charge the state for the quantity noted above. CenturyLink will supply the other half of the units at its own expense.

Two cost proposals were given to help with the grant funding, depending on what costs are approved: A one-time charge of $555,748.44 has been provided for cabling and electrical wiring or a monthly recurring charge of $12,967.45 for the term of the five-year contract. For grant purposes, it has been requested that the electrical contract work be separated from cabling costs. The cost for UPS would be a one-time charge of $51,716.02 or a monthly recurring charge of $1,120.51 for the contract term.