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Recent News // New 911 System Will Enhance Service Across the U.P.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Courtesy:  Peninsula Fiber Network

MARQUETTE — The Upper Peninsula 911 Authority (UPA 911) and Peninsula Fiber Network, LLC announced Wednesday that they have successfully begun routing 911 traffic on an entirely new, “Next Generation 911 Call Management” system that will provide enhanced 911 service and will also support wireless device technologies and video in addition to traditional land-line calling for all 15 counties in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The system deployment is expected to be completed within 60 days.

“We formed the UPA 911 6 years ago because we recognized the immediate and rapidly growing need for 911 response services that would address all of the new forms of communications services that will be interfacing with 911 in the very near future” said Tim McKee, Chippewa County Emergency Management Director and one of the founding members of the UP 911 Authority. “We believe that the necessity for enhanced and expanded 911 services is immediate and is crucial to effective 911 response. We simply felt that we could not wait for a larger governmental initiative to provide these services to our residents. So, the 15 UP county’s Emergency Services Directors, with the help of The Upper Peninsula Commission for Area Progress (UPCAP) and several county commissioners in the UP, banded together and formed the UP 911 Authority to define the requirements, fund the project, procure the technology and implement the program”.

“The 911 system technology that PFN is providing is replacing 25-30 year old technology. There was no texting, photo or video service when that system was developed” said Dave McCartney, General Manager of Peninsula Fiber Network, LLC (PFN). “We have worked closely with the UP 911 Authority to implement a system that will support those technologies. Now that this system is in place, in the very near future, customers will be able to text to 911, send video of actual emergency situations and vehicles will be able to report emergencies that their automated on-board detect directly to a 911 operator”. “In addition, this new 911 network is designed to be fully redundant, resilient and survivable as defined by the newest FCC guidelines.”

Jonathan Mead, UPCAP CEO, who helped establish the Authority and presently serves as their Administrative Agent stated that “The system PFN has deployed is one of the most technologically advanced Next Generation 911 systems deployed anywhere in the country today”. “It exceeds all of our specified requirements and we are really just now beginning to understand its long range capabilities” he added.

The Upper Peninsula 911 Authority is an official “Governmental Authority” established by the Emergency Management Directors and County Commissioners from all 15 Upper Peninsula
counties for the purpose of providing “best in class” 911 Emergency Response Services to the residents of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Peninsula Fiber Network, LLC is a joint venture between Baraga Telephone Company in Baraga Michigan and Hiawatha Communications Incorporated in Munising MI.  In addition to the newly announced US – Canadian cross-border service, the company provides wholesale and retail transport services, voice and high speed broadband internet transit throughout the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan and in Northern Wisconsin.