911 Center upgrading to fiber optics

Knox County 911 Center will utilize a fiber optic phone system in spring 2015.
Knox County 911 Center will utilize a fiber optic phone system in spring 2015.

Knox County 911 Board has been awarded a 2014 CMRS Board Grant in the amount of $105,000 for a host/remote phone system.

Winston Tye, Knox County 911 director, says that currently, the Knox County 911 center pays $8,500 a month to the phone company for seven 911 trunk lines

The county could save as much as $2,000 a month on the new system.

Aside from saving the county money, there are three other vital advantages to the new system.

  • Callers will be able to text 911 and 911 will be able to text back. No words will need to be spoken out loud.
  • Agencies within the surrounding counties will be able to transfer emergency calls to the caller’s nearest 911 center with the touch of a button.
  • Phone calls will get answered, even during a major disaster, as calls will roll over to the nearest 911 call center.

“You’re going to get answered by somebody whether our lines are busy or not,” said Winston Tye, Knox County 911 director. “Your call will be re-routed to the next available open line on the system, which can then be transferred back to us as soon a line is open.”

Whitley County, Corbin, Laurel, and Clay counties will also be a part of the new system. Knox County’s system is expected to be fully operational in late spring or early summer 2015.

Tye said the community will not notice anything different in the switch over to the new system. Everything concerning the new system will be handled internally.