The county’s Board of Commissioners recently authorized Central Dispatch to contract Comcast to be the primary service provider for 911’s non-emergency lines. The contract allows Central Dispatch to replace the non-emergency lines with new technology called Session Initiation Protocol, or SIP for short.

SIP trunking lines are a system of receiving calls that are internet-based, rather than using outdated copper line technology. 911 Deputy Director Chad Chewning says the quality and reliability of SIP lines far exceed copper line capabilities, adding that the services to keep the lines running are much more timely and robust than what is currently offered with the copper lines, and that SIP is secured by two layers of authentication. Additionally, Central Dispatch will see a cost savings of approximately $370 per month by switching to SIP.

In a memo to commissioners, Chewning says the copper phone lines installed in the 1960’s are being phased out and it came to light during preparation for Central Dispatch’s move to its new facility that the cost of the copper lines they currently have for the non-emergency lines is going to increase significantly without Central Dispatch changing anything about the current service. He added that they also have had several problems in the past with the lines and know they are reaching the end of their lifespan.

Comcast is also the current provider of the backup system for Central Dispatch’s fiber 911 lines.