Cherokee E-911 Upgrades to Enhanced Network

Cherokee E-911 is undergoing a significant upgrade to transition to a more dependable network, as the current infrastructure approaches the end of its lifespan.

At the request of E-911, the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a $1.7 million, five-year agreement with Emergency Services IP Network (ESInet) on March 5.

Shane Bonebrake, Director of E-911, emphasized the critical importance of emergency services infrastructure in serving the community. He highlighted that the existing 9-1-1 phone system relies on outdated copper lines installed over two decades ago, while office phones were upgraded to voice over IP (VOIP) in 2016.

Furthermore, the supporting equipment for the current system is reaching obsolescence, with replacement parts no longer available. Next Generation 9-1-1, also known as ESInet, offers a digital internet protocol-based solution to replace the aging analog infrastructure. Already implemented in Alpharetta, Fulton County, Forsyth County, and various E 9-1-1 systems in Tennessee, ESInet ensures increased resiliency and survivability in disaster scenarios, with capacity to support significantly higher call volumes.

Moreover, ESInet utilizes geospatial location technology to enhance caller location accuracy, particularly beneficial as the majority of 911 calls originate from mobile devices. The transition to Next Generation 9-1-1 also opens up new possibilities, allowing callers to send multimedia content such as photos, videos, livestreams, and texts to emergency services.

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During the planning retreat in January, commissioners were presented with options for transitioning to ESInet, with AT&T selected as the provider due to competitive pricing and network reliability. The system change is anticipated to be completed by the end of the year, marking a significant advancement in Cherokee County’s emergency response capabilities.

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