Nebraska's Next Generation 911 system

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LINCOLN, Neb. – The 911 system in Nebraska is about 50 years old. The state says it needs an upgrade soon.

There’s a new plan in place. It’s called the Next Generation 911 Service Plan. It will allow you to send texts, pictures and videos with your exact location.

About 80 percent of all calls to a 911 center come from a wireless device.

David Sankey is Nebraska’s 911 Director. He said this system will allow citizens to use their wireless cellphones to communicate with a 911 center.

“You can still make a voice call,” he said, “but this will allow you take a picture and send it if you need to.”

The most important part, according to Lincoln’s Public Safety Director Tom Casady, is the new system will allow 911 centers to locate callers more accurately.

“The 911 center will know where your wireless call is coming from much more precisely than it does today,” said Casady.

The system will use Geographic Information System mapping to locate all calls or texts to a 911 center so that first responders can locate callers more accurately.

Sankey says the new technology won’t cost you anymore than what you are already paying.

“Currently we all pay 45 cents on our monthly telephone bill on our cellular phones,” said Sankey. “That money goes to a wireless fund maintained here at the Public Service Commission. The fund will be used to pay for the Next Generation 911 System.”

If the plan is approved, the state will reach out to possible companies like ALLO or Verizon to help provide the service.

“The system will benefit everyone that’s in need of the 911 service, from the citizen to the travelers in our state, for whatever reason they need to call 911 for help,” Sankey said.

The plan will have to be approved by lawmakers. It will be introduced in the legislature next month. If it's approved, the state could start implementing the new technology as early as next month.