Government Technology

Federal Legislation Would Require E-911 for IP Voice Systems

October 9, 2007 By

IP telephony, which -- as David Pogue pointed out in part 2 of his keynote presentation at GTC West -- allows the user to take one telephone number to any location in the world, would now be required to be "located" for the purpose of emergency calls. The ''911 Modernization and Public Safety Act of 2007'' (H.R. 3403), would "Promote and enhance public safety by facilitating the rapid deployment of IP-enabled 911 and E-911 services, encouraging the nation's transition to a national IP-enabled emergency network and improve 911 and E-911 access to those with disabilities."

"It shall be the duty of every IP-enabled voice service provider engaged in interstate communication," says the bill, "to provide 911 service and E-911 service to its subscribers in accordance with the regulations of Federal Communications Commission ... as such orders may be modified by the Commission from time to time."

The Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International and the National Emergency Number Association announced their support of the bill, and NENA President Jason Barbour said, "Our nation's 9-1-1 system is a vital public safety and homeland security asset. Every day 9-1-1 callers seek critical emergency assistance and are the eyes and ears helping others during emergencies in local communities and assisting with our nation's homeland security. Modern communication capabilities offer an opportunity to improve the system as we know it, but they also offer challenges. The 9-1-1 community must embrace and react to change quickly, to better serve the American public, industry and the mobile consumer in all emergencies. We need help from Congress to do so."

NENA and APCO, said APCO in a release, support the goals of the 9-1-1 Modernization and Public Safety Act of 2007 because it:

  • Strengthens the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) E9-1-1 Order by codifying the obligation of all Internet Protocol (IP)-enabled voice service providers to provide E9-1-1 in accordance with FCC regulations.
  • Provides needed tools to assist in the completion of E9-1-1 deployment for VoIP service in all parts of the United States.
  • Addresses the issue of next generation (NG) 9-1-1 service.

"Each of these items will assist with current VoIP E9-1-1 implementation," said Barbour, "and support the migration from today's 9-1-1 system to a modern IP-based Next Generation 9-1-1 system to enable the public to access 9-1-1 from "anywhere, anytime and from any device."

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