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Board approves lease on new 911 call center, possibly raising phone fees for residents

1 year 3 months 4 weeks ago Wednesday, March 15 2023 Mar 15, 2023 March 15, 2023 7:34 PM March 15, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- The EBR Parish Communication District is looking to make some big upgrades to the current 911 call system, which may raise residents phone fees. 

Wednesday afternoon, the Board of Commissioners voted to approve a lease for a new building that will serve as a parish-wide backup location. Director Jim Verlander says it's the first of its kind in the parish.

"The Backup Unified Communications Center (BUCC) is going to be over at Bon Carre and it will actually provide a backup location for all the emergency service organizations across the entire parish," Verlander said.

Verlander says the backup locations in the parish aren't as functional as they would like them to be.

“The backup locations generally can’t function in the ways that we need it to function to be able to accept the 911 calls or be able to connect to the CAD system, which is our Computer-Aided Dispatch system.”

Along with the new facility, the Communication District is in the process of switching the current 911 call system over to a new cloud-based system. As it stands, calls are funneled through AT&T, which has led to problems in the past. 

We do have some new technology that we’re in the process of implementing. A new 911 system, which is NGA 911 which is a cloud-based 911 system," Verlander said. "When you dial 911 it goes to the cloud and then it from the cloud, provides the call to the call centers.”

The Board of Commissioners is also looking into the possibility of raising the 911 fee customers see on their phone bills in order to cover the current expenditures for 911 services.

So those fees are what enable us to provide 911 services to the entire parish," Verlander said.

On a monthly basis, cell phone customers currently pay about 85 cents, while residential customers pay 63 cents. For business lines, the fee is around $1.50.

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