House passes 911 bill

Published 10 October 2007

Bill facilitates migration from today’s 911 system to a IP-based 911 system to enable the public to access 911 from anywhere, anytime, and from any device

IP telephony allows the user to take one telephone number to any location in the world. Is it good or is it bad for the user? On the one hand, he or she can go anywhere in the world, carrying the same handset, and call and receive calls on the same number. On the other hand, were the user to get into trouble and call 911, the emergency service would have no clue where the call came from. If the user was too weak or too injured to provide the information, he or she would receive no help. What to do? The House passed the ”911 Modernization and Public Safety Act of 2007” (H.R. 3403), a bill aiming to “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 International (APCO) and the National Emergency Number Association announced their support of the bill. 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, and provides needed tools to assist in the completion of E9-1-1 deployment for VoIP service in all parts of the United States. “Each of these items will assist with current VoIP E9-1-1 implementation,” said NENA president Jason 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.”