NG9-1-1 Interoperability Oversight Commission Approves RFP Award for PKI Operations & PCA
Friday, April 17, 2020
Posted by: Chris Nussman
The NG9-1-1 Interoperability Oversight Commission (NIOC) is proud to announce an RFP award to tech companies Eonti and DigiCert to operate the PSAP Credentialing Agency (PCA). This is a key element in building greater trust and interoperability in Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) systems. The award is a significant milestone in establishing a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) for NG9-1-1, as required by the prevailing standards for NG9-1-1 and recommended by other leading groups including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Task Force on Optimal PSAP Architecture (TFOPA).
“On behalf of the NIOC Commissioners, we all recognize — and are excited for — another monumental step in the evolution of Next Generation 9-1-1.” says NIOC Chair Rick Blackwell, ENP, E9-1-1 Director for Greenville County, South Carolina. “Having a PSAP Credentialing Authority in place is the culmination of years of hard work by so many at NENA, including the Board of Directors, staff, Development Steering Council, and all the volunteers who contributed to the organization’s working groups.”
The NIOC is now entering contract deliberations with Eonti and DigiCert, with a goal of entering production of the NG9-1-1 PKI in 2020.
NENA staff, in response to broad industry recommendations to establish a PKI for NG9-1-1, initiated a competitive, sealed-bid Request for Proposals (RFP) to operate the PCA, which is the root of trust for the NG9-1-1 PKI. To review the responses, NENA assembled a committee of volunteers including public- and private-sector representatives. This committee then reviewed the proposals according to best practices and selected the vendors.
Every PKI requires an independent governance structure. For the NG9-1-1 PKI, that is NIOC. NIOC was convened in March 2020 and began doing official business in April 2020. One its first orders of business was to review and approve the RFP process executed by NENA and the review committee. NIOC reviewed several hundred pages of documentation, including scoring of vendor proposals, the original RFP itself, Q&A between NENA and vendors and a summary report prepared by NENA staff. NIOC reaffirmed the vendor selection on April 15, 2020, concluding that NENA and the review committee conducted the procurement appropriately and selected the best available vendor, and NIOC voted to approve an award to Eonti and DigiCert. Additionally, NIOC voted to make this award public information.
A PKI is a system of policies, procedures and technologies to establish a chain of trust among users based on security certificates. This is a common approach used in many critical infrastructure industries. In building a model for a PKI for NG9-1-1, the NIOC and NENA looked to other telecommunications and public safety approaches including those taken by SHAKEN/STIR, state and Federal Government and local Councils of Government (COGs). Learn more about how a PKI works in this informational video from NENA.
The NG9-1-1 Interoperability Oversight Commission (NIOC) is the independent oversight body for standards-driven interoperability programs for NG9-1-1. NIOC consists of stakeholders from the public and private sectors that are affected by these programs. More information is available here.